New Apple TV to bring super-sharp 4K video this year

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apple tv and siri remote
A new Apple TV could be on its way later in 2017.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Apple’s fifth-gen Apple TV will reportedly be capable of streaming ultra-HD 4K images, according to a new report. The new box is codenamed “J105” and could launch later this year.

The article also notes a couple of previously unrevealed details about the current fourth-gen Apple TV, such as the fact that Apple engineers debated packaging it with a dedicated gaming controller as a way to compete more directly with the PlayStation and Xbox.

Another plan would have allowed users to speak to the set top box itself, similar to the Amazon Echo, as opposed to via the Sir remote control.

Early prototypes of the the fourth-gen Apple TV additionally had connectors for a coaxial port, which sends the live cable TV signal to televisions. As Apple was planning at this stage, it would be able to collect fees from viewers and share this revenue with cable and media companies, a bit like it does with iTunes or Apple Music. This idea was ditched when Apple’s negotiations with media companies fell apart.

Bloomberg‘s article is based around the premise that Apple has so far failed to capture the TV market in any meaningful capacity. It is, author Mark Gurman writes, $60 more than Amazon’s Fire TV and $20 more than the priciest Roku. That would be fine, except for the fact that Apple offers very little to justify the money — hence the falling Apple TV numbers as an overall piece of the market.

The App Store has so far proven disappointing (something Apple is attempting to rectify by increasing the size tvOS developers can make their apps), while the new TV app which was built up by Apple as changing the whole Apple TV experience has done very little to alter functionality.

The article notes that some Apple engineers regret not allowing users to customize the app more to individual users, based on the type of content they would like to watch. However, “the idea never made it onto the engineering roadmap, and adding it now would require a lot of resources.”

Recently Apple has talked more about adding original TV programming. However, it seems that the majority (if not all) of this original content is going to be for Apple Music customers, as opposed to being the start of an Apple TV subscription package. (And, hey, if it turns out to be more shows like Planet of the Apps maybe it’s best that Apple doesn’t plan its own dedicated TV service!)

What do you think of Apple TV? Would you be excited by a fifth-gen version that streams in 4K? Leave your comments below.

Source: Bloomberg