Next-gen Apple TV with gaming focus, updated remote coming in 2021

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Apple TV app lands on PlayStation
New Apple TV is on the way.
Photo: Apple

A new report adds weight to rumors that an Apple TV set-top box supercharged for gaming is coming next year.

“Apple is planning an upgraded box with a stronger gaming focus, an updated remote and a new processor,” according to Bloomberg.

This isn’t the first time we’ve heard something similar. In early December, Nikkei reported that Apple was working on a sixth-gen Apple TV box. Noted Apple leaker Jon Prosser also said via Twitter, “There is no new Apple TV coming until next year.”

Cupertino released the fifth-gen Apple TV in September 2017. Whatever comes next will be the first Apple TV to ship since the launch of the Apple TV+ streaming service in 2019.

The focus on games wouldn’t be new, either. Gaming was supposedly going to be a big part of the fourth-gen Apple TV. However, this never really took off. (Neither did the Siri remote, which remains one of Apple’s more lamentable designs.)

Apple TV is too expensive right now

Bloomberg’s article about the new Apple TV doesn’t reveal any more information about what we can expect from Apple’s next set-top box. But the fact that Mark Gurman is reporting it adds another bit of credibility to previous rumors that a new set-top box is on the way.

Gurman also ponders why Apple TV has not been more of a success — especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. He writes: “We’re in the middle of a holiday gifting season during a pandemic that’s caused television viewership to surge. The Apple TV should be having a moment. It’s not.”

The veteran tech reporter puts the reason for the Apple TV’s lack of market presence down to a few things. A big one is price. The latest 4K Apple TV costs $180 versus Amazon’s $50 Fire TV Stick, Google’s $50 Chromecast or the most expensive Roku for $80. As with the HomePod smart speaker, Apple TV offers too little that’s new and different at a price point that’s too high for many. (To be fair to Apple, it does offer a free one-year subscription to Apple TV+ with new Apple TV units. That’s $60 of value right there!)

Are you an Apple TV user? What would make a new model compelling to you? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.