Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster refuses to give up on his Apple TV dream, but it does seem to have changed ever so slightly. Rather than promising us a new television set this year, Munster now expects a revamped set-top box that could be the centerpiece of Apple’s fall 2015 product lineup.
Apple’s iPhone refresh will undoubtedly be incremental this year, and we’re not expecting big changes to the iPad lineup, either. But even so, the new Apple TV would have to be pretty special to be Apple’s most exciting new device this fall.
According to Munster, it will have updated hardware and software, and will finally allow us to run apps and games. The device is also expected to integrate with Apple’s new HomeKit platform, serving as a central hub for connected homes.
Munster noted that the new Sling TV service, which lets users pay $20 a month to watch shows from Dish on the web, is a sign that content owners are beginning to “think differently” about how they deliver channel subscriptions without a traditional cable plan.
It’s thought similar services could be available on Apple TV, allowing owners to pick and choose the content they want and pay for it individually, rather than having one more expensive plan that would likely include a lot of content they’re not interested in.
Munster also predicts that the “Hey Siri” feature in iOS 8, which lets users activate their devices by voice when it’s connected to a power source, could be extended to the new Apple TV, thus allowing it to control connected thermostats, lights, and other devices using only voice commands.
Munster still expects Apple to deliver a full television set — obviously — but his revised timeline says we won’t see it until late 2016 “at the earliest.”