Apple TV 4K gets speedy A12 chip and sweet new Siri Remote

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Apple's new Apple TV 4K with redesigned Siri Remote
Apple TV's sixth-gen version is here. As is a new remote.
Photo: Apple

Apple took the wraps off the new sixth-generation Apple TV 4K on Tuesday. The upgraded set-top box boasts Apple’s A12 Bionic chip, which should bring a welcome performance boost. But perhaps more importantly, Apple redesigned the controversial Siri Remote.

The upgraded remote packs a new clickpad control system, a touch-sensitive ring that makes it easy to jog video backward and forward, and dedicated power and mute buttons.

Making Apple TV even better

Apple TV 4K is in a category of its own, leveraging a deep integration of Apple hardware, software, and services that delivers a massive upgrade to any TV for the very best cinematic experience,” said Bob Borchers, Apple’s vice president of worldwide product marketing, in a press release. “With the A12 Bionic and the all-new Siri Remote, Apple TV 4K lets customers enjoy their favorite shows, movies, and more in the highest quality, with simple and intuitive controls. And of course, Apple TV 4K offers easy access to Apple services, along with thousands of apps on the App Store for even more entertainment options.”

Apple showed off the new Apple TV 4K during its Spring Loaded event Tuesday. The virtual event served as a showcase for a wide range of new Apple gear, including colorful new M1 iMacs, powerful new iPad Pros, a surprising purple iPhone 12 and the long-rumored AirTags tracking tags.

Apple also revealed big changes coming to its souped-up Podcasts service in iOS 14.5, including a redesigned app.

HDR and new color balance control

In addition to the above features, Apple TV 4K now boasts support for high-frame-rate HDR (High Dynamic Range) and Dolby Vision video. This means users can enjoy “fast-moving action” at 60fps for a smoother viewing experience. Beyond TV shows and movies, the 60fps viewing will allow videos shot in full 60-fps Dolby Vision on the iPhone 12 Pro to be watched on Apple TV.

Finally, the new Apple TV 4K promises a complex — and impressive-sounding — feature whereby it will work with your iPhone to ensure picture quality. According to Apple, it uses “the light sensor in iPhone to compare the color balance to the industry-standard specifications used by cinematographers worldwide. Using this data, Apple TV automatically tailors its video output to deliver much more accurate colors and improved contrast.”

The new set-top box does all this without users needing to manually adjust their television settings.

The new Apple TV goes up for preorders on April 30. It should ship in the second half of May. The 32GB model retails for $179, while the 64GB model sells for $199.

Those excited about the new Siri Remote will be pleased to learn it’s also going to be available separately. It’ll sell for $59, and is compatible with the previous-generation Apple TV 4K and Apple TV HD.

Apple TV 4K: An update 1,306 days in the making

The new Siri Remote comes with exciting new input options, like a jog wheel.
The new Siri Remote comes with exciting new input options, like a jog wheel.
Photo: Apple

The arrival of the sixth-gen Apple TV marks the second-longest gap between Apple TV updates. The biggest gap was 1,331 days between the first-gen and second-gen Apple TV units in 2007 and 2010. At the time, Apple openly referred to Apple TV as a hobby. By comparison, the gap between the fifth-gen and current model is 1,306 days.

However, while this update certainly sounds compelling, it’s not the big Apple TV rework that’s rumored. According to a recent report, Apple is currently working on a device combining Apple TV, HomePod and a mobile FaceTime camera — creating the ultimate Apple smart home product. There’s no word on when this might arrive, though. That means that, if you’re in the market for an Apple TV, this sixth-gen model could be well worth snapping up.

Are you excited about the new Apple TV? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.