As had been rumored in the media, Apple revealed the new version of Apple TV at an event in San Francisco today.
Not only does the new device feature upgraded hardware, it also boasts a new operating system, an updated user experience and new tools for developers. Other notable additions include voice control, Siri support, universal search and the Apple TV App Store.
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Multiple innovations unveiled for latest Apple TV
A newly designed remote control features both a touchpad and motion control, allowing users to control the TV by pressing the pad and swiping. The new remote is part of Apple’s focus on gaming, and offers Wii-like motion controls.
Read our coverage of Apple iPhone 6S Event: HERE
Apple CEO Tim Cook said the company was determined the bring apps and games to TV screens, and “over 60% of paid TV consuming is done through an Apple device. When you experience TV through an app, you realize how much better it can be.”
Technically speaking the new Apple TV receives a hefty upgrade to its processor, which is now an A8 module compared to the previous A5. More importantly the unit can now perform several new functions.
New capabilities make Apple TV more attractive
The customized operating system, known as tvOS, allows the unit to run Siri. Alongside Siri is a system-wide search which will allow the unit to display results from the iTunes Store, the Apple Music Library, and online services like Netflix, Hulu, HBO or Showtime.
Siri was a real focus of today’s presentation and can be used just like on the iPhone. The new tvOS means that the user interface has been updated to include animated wallpapers and screensavers.
Apple let some developers like Hulu, Ubisoft and Activision play around with the new OS already. Others on the list include Hipster Whale (Crossyroad makers), Harmonix, Gilt and MLB, showing that games will be a focus for the new Apple TV, alongside online shopping.
The Apple TV will now have its own dedicated App Store and software development kit for developers. The Apple TV App Store will look largely similar to the standard App Store, but developers will now be able to sell apps for the iPhone, iPad and Apple TV in one download.
Positive reaction from analysts
Gamers will be pleased to hear that Apple is working on a way of letting you continue your iPhone game on your TV screen when you get home. This is an interesting development for Apple and heralds efforts to bring gamers and developers to Apple products rather than Xbox, Wii and PlayStation.
Analysts believe that the inclusion of a dedicated App Store and a new focus on gaming means that the Apple TV could boost the company’s bottom line. JP Morgan predicts that Apple may sell as many as 24 million units of the new device in 2016.
The introduction of the new Apple TV is the device’s first revamp since 2010. It should make Apple more competitive in a field currently dominated by Roku, Google and Amazon.
In summary there are plenty of exciting developments with the new Apple TV, but one which did not materialize was a rumored internet TV service which would compete with cable services.
The basic 32GB model will sell for $149, while the 64GB version will sell for $199. Units are expected to ship in October, while developers will be granted access to tvOS today.