The drip, drip, drip of Apple leaks has turned into a rushing river over the last few days. Thanks to the iOS 11 GM leak, there isn’t much we don’t know about Apple’s big product launch tomorrow. Until now, most Apple leaks have focused on the iPhone X. Even Apple’s own leak from the HomePod firmware didn’t offer up much about other devices like the Apple TV and Apple Watch. Well, we can now confidently say that a new Apple TV is more than likely coming tomorrow alongside the much-anticipated iPhone X.
Developers have been digging through the iOS 11 GM leak and pulling out interesting bits of code that allude to new features and products. One of these developers is Steve Stroughton-Smith who is always active when it comes to leaks revealed via Apple’s own code. He confirms that the official name of the new Apple TV will be Apple TV 4K. So, I guess I can stop calling it the “4K-ready Apple TV.” That’s probably a good thing. Apple TV 4K rolls off the tongue a little better.
Another bit of information gleaned from the iOS 11 code shows the power of the Apple TV 4K. It’s going to be a powerful little device with a 3-core A10X Fusion CPU and 3GB of RAM onboard. That CPU is the same one found in the iPad Pro. All that power means that the Apple TV 4K will be able to handle 4K video (obviously) at up to 60fps. That last part is pretty significant. There have been rumors that the iPhone X will be able to shoot 4K video at 60fps so it would make sense that the new Apple TV can play that content the way it was shot. For now, most TV shows and movies aren’t shot at 60fps and that likely won’t change anytime soon. The only reason for the Apple TV 4K to handle that resolution at 60fps is to play videos shot on iPhones. iPhone X 4K video at 60fps is confirmed in my books. Still, before we etch that in stone, we should wait for the official reveal.
In addition to 4K, the Apple TV 4K will also support HDR 10 and Dolby Vision. That should be no surprise as those features should be pretty much standard in a new set top box in 2017.
The Apple TV 4K set top box won’t be the only redesign coming to the Apple TV line. Guilherme Rambo dug into the code from the iOS 11 GM leak and found information that may indicate the Siri-powered Apple TV remote could also be getting a makeover. Based on the code, it looks like the Siri remote could offer haptic feedback. In my opinion, this will set the Apple TV remote apart from other set top box remotes and make it feel more like you are using a smartphone – something we are all used to by now. Plus, it’s just nice to know if the device has registered your click and haptic feedback is the best way to accomplish that. A simple solution to a simple problem!
However, the Apple TV 4K launch won’t just be about the hardware. After all, what good is a set top box without quality content? Without top-notch content, the Apple TV is an expensive paperweight. There has been a lot of talk about Apple investing in their own original programming – similar to what Netflix and Amazon have been doing over the past few years. Other than a few small releases, we haven’t seen much in the way of original programming from Apple. I’m hoping that, alongside the Apple TV 4K reveal, we will also get a teaser trailer or a sneak peek at some upcoming Apple-exclusive content.
However, it’s not just about Apple-exclusive content. We’re also hoping to finally see a Prime Video app come to the Apple TV. Tim Cook made this promise awhile back and the Apple TV 4K launch event would be the perfect time to finally confirm the Amazon Prime Video app is available for Apple TV owners. This would help fill in a big gap for the Apple TV. Currently, the Apple TV is losing the content battle to nearly every other device on the market. By offering Prime Video as well as 4K all in one fell swoop, the Apple TV would take a huge leap forward and help put it on a level playing field with the competition.
With all of these other great Apple products being shown off, we may also get a chance to see how the Apple TV will integrate into the Apple product lineup. For example, will I be able to use the Siri-powered HomePod speaker to control my Apple TV without having to touch the remote? Google Home and Amazon Echo both offer this kind of functionality and people will likely want to see the same thing from Apple, especially since the Apple TV and HomePod are most likely going to cost more than the competition.
Speaking of cost; could we see a price cut for the Apple TV 4K? Compared to Roku, Chromecast, and Fire TV, the Apple TV is a pretty noticeable price jump with not much of a justification behind the difference in price. Even if Apple introduces a stable of new features like 4K playback and HDR 10 – will it still be worth more than its competitors? This would be the right time for Apple to adjust the price of the Apple TV to make it more competitive. With original content coming, Apple needs as many eyes as it can grab.
So many questions, and hopefully a lot of answers coming soon. Apple’s big launch event is coming up fast and we won’t have to wait long to see which rumors are true and which ones turned out to be a myth. What are you hoping to see in the new Apple TV? Are there any features that would make this a “must-buy” on day 1? Let us know your thoughts!