Apple has today finally announced the all-new Apple TV. After years of rumours and speculation, Apple has released an updated version of its TV Dongle with an App Store, Gaming and Siri, with Apple promising this is the device that will “let you choose what to watch and when you watch it.”
Apple says the all-new Apple TV is "built from the ground up with a new generation of high-performance hardware" and introduces an intuitive user interface using the Siri Remote. Apple TV runs the all-new tvOS operating system, based on Apple’s iOS, enabling millions of iOS developers to create new apps and games specifically for Apple TV and deliver them directly to users through the Apple TV App Store.
It will be interesting to see which Australian media companies rush to embrace the new device. The Seven Networks recently announced it would offer live streams of its three broadcast channels, Seven, 7Two and 7Mate via the Internet. A dedicated Seven streaming app that combined live TV and catch-up options on the new Apple TV could be a fascinating development if Seven is brave enough to back it.
Netflix and Stan already have dedicated Apple TV apps in Australia however the Foxtel-Seven owned Presto SVOD service has stayed away from the platform publicly stating they were waiting for new hardware. Now the new Apple TV has arrived, it will be important for Presto to quickly embrace it.
The new box, which costs $US149 for 32gb or $US199 for 64gb, will be available from late October in the US, an Australian launch date or pricing info for the new Apple TV is yet to be confirmed, with Apple currently focusing on encouraging App developers to create for the new device. It’s biggest competition in this country will likely come from Telstra, whom is working with Roku to provide Australians a low cost TV streaming box that combines Netflix, Stan and Presto, plus other services.
“There has been so much innovation in entertainment and programming through iOS apps, we want to bring that same excitement to the television,” said Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Internet Software and Services. “Apps make the TV experience even more compelling for viewers and we think apps represent the future of TV.”
The new Siri Remote dramatically simplifies how you select, scroll and navigate through your favourite content while bringing unique interactivity to the new Apple TV by using a glass touch surface that handles both small, accurate movements as well as big, sweeping ones. Adding touch to Apple TV creates a natural, connected experience, even if the TV screen is on the other side of the room. Developers can take advantage of the built-in accelerometer and gyroscope, and the touch surface on the Siri Remote to create games and other app experiences that have never been seen on TV before.
One disappointment of the new Apple TV is a lack of an Optical Audio port, meaning the only way to get audio from the device is via HDMI.
With Siri, you can use your voice to search TV shows and movies by title, genre, cast, crew, rating or popularity, making it easy to say things like “Show me New Girl,” “Find the best funny movies from the ‘80s,” “Find movies with Jason Bateman” and “Find popular TV shows for kids.” Apple TV will search iTunes and Netflix, displaying all the ways the resulting TV shows and movies can be played. Siri also offers playback control and on-screen navigation, as well as quick access to stock and weather information.
tvOS is the new operating system for Apple TV, and the tvOS SDK provides tools and APIs for developers to create amazing experiences for the lounge room the same way they created a global app environment for iPhone and iPad. The new, more powerful Apple TV features the Apple-designed A8 chip for better performance so developers can build engaging games and custom content apps for the TV. tvOS supports key iOS technologies including Metal, for detailed graphics, complex visual effects and Game Centre, to play and share games with friends.