Apple TV 4 the Latest Entry From a Market Leader
Apple was a pioneer in the set-top video streaming space, releasing the first Apple TV all the way back in 2007. I still have two of those—they have built-in hard drives and look ginormous beside later models. The company described the Apple TV as a “hobby” for years, despite the fact that it quietly built a loyal fanbase and eventually became a billion dollar business (I’d love to have a hobby that developed into that kind of a revenue generator). However, the 3rd generation Apple TV was released in 2012 and aside from a minor revision in early 2013, the little black box has been unchanged since then.
We all know how fast things change in the tech world. When a product is essentially unchanged for three years in a market that’s starting to take off, it won’t remain unchallenged for long.
With the arrival of serious competition in the form of Google’s Chromecast, Apple has been under pressure to release a 4th generation of the Apple TV. In September, it finally announced the Apple TV 4 was coming soon. The wait is officially over: Apple’s answer to the Chromecast, Roku and other leading media streamers is now available.
Apple TV 4 Much More Than a Media Streamer
Rather than launch a new Apple TV with updated specs or in a more compact form factor like the HDMI sticks and dongles adopted by some of the competition, Apple announced the Apple TV would morph from a pure media streamer into what amounts to a home entertainment console.
It still does video and audio streaming. You can still buy and rent content from the iTunes store, or use AirPlay from your iOS device or Mac computer running El Capitan. But the Apple TV has a powerful new CPU, more storage and its own App Store. The remote gains a Touch surface, an accelerometer and gyroscope, a microphone and Siri integration. The same Siri that takes all your questions on your iPhone and iPad—in fact the CPU is the same 64-bit A8 that powers the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. The new Apple TV also runs its own new operating system, tvOS.
The Apple TV 4 makes watching video a better experience than ever, thanks to a new interface and the ability to use Siri to do the work of searching. With an App Store and a remote equipped with motion sensors, video games are also on the menu. Considering how fast mobile gaming took off on the App Store for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch, this is going to get interesting.
Apple TV Now Comes in Two Flavours
The Apple TV 4 is now available at Best Buy! Apple also isn’t discontinuing the 3rd generation Apple TV any time soon. It still makes a very capable video streamer and becomes the new entry model in the suddenly much larger Apple TV ecosystem. Stay tuned for more information on the Apple TV 4 front, including a How-To and a detailed comparison between the new black box and the previous version.