After several delays, the fourth-generation Apple TV is finally here. Apple CEO Tim Cook began his introduction of the new device today at the “Hey Siri” event in San Francisco by joking that they have been “working really hard – and really long” on the revamped set top box.
Although a bit thicker, the general design of the Apple TV box remains pretty much the same. The internals, however, see quite the upgrade. The device features an A8 processor – the same processor that is included in the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. The processor is much faster than the A5 processor found in its predecessor, and is capable of powering graphically-intensive games, as well as 4K video (although support for it is not native in the box yet).
The device runs a brand-new iOS 9-based operating system called tvOS. The OS takes several new features from iOS 9 and the new OS X El Capitan software for a beautiful and functional user experience. An important addition to the OS, as well, is the new App Store for the Apple TV, complete with third-party apps. Tim Cook claimed in his introduction that “the future of TV is apps”, and the event was complete with demonstrations of just how smoothly the apps work on the device.
Media apps such as Netflix, Hulu, HBO Now, Showtime, and of course iTunes work very well on the device – and a host of popular games such as Crossy Road and Guitar Hero will be available for the platform as well. The app store will also feature apps such as Zillow and AirBNB, bringing browsing comfort to your living room.
A brand new remote comes included with the device, and although many of the features were already leaked before the press event, it’s impressive to see in action. The remote contains four buttons and a volume rocker in the middle, a glass touch surface on the top, and a microphone input for accepting Siri commands on the bottom.
The touch surface allows for easy navigation through menus and control within games, and Siri works incredibly well. Siri can search across apps, and the depth of searches is simply amazing. During a demo on stage, the user showed Siri performing simple searches such as “show me funny movies”, as well as more intense searches such as “show me the modern family episode with Edward Norton”. Siri’s capability in the device is quite impressive, and really needs to be seen to be believed.
Finally, Apple revealed the pricing of the new device, which is set to ship in October. A 32GB option will be available for $149, and a 64GB model will be available for $199. All in all, it was an impressive demo, even without the introduction of Apple’s much-rumored TV subscription service. Perhaps we will hear about that later in the year.