Apple TV 4 rumor roundup: Everything we know so far

appletv_screen.pngAfter years of speculation, Apple is expected to unveil its fourth-generation Apple TV during a press event to be held next week on September 9th. The Apple TV is long overdue for an upgrade with the last revision debuting in January of 2013. Though Apple has sold more than 25 million Apple TVs since launch, the media player is steadily losing market share, trailing behind Roku, Chromecast and the Amazon Fire TV in the latest survey from Parks Associates. A new model, especially one that debuts before the holiday shopping season, could jumpstart consumer interest in the Apple TV. 

So what will the rumored new Apple TV 4 have in store? Read on for a summary of everything we know about Apple’s upcoming media player.

What are the rumored hardware specs?

The next generation AppleTV will feature Apple’s A8 system-on-a-chip and a significant increase in internal storage that’ll eclipse the current 8GB included in the third-generation set-top box. It also will feature Bluetooth 4.2 and 802.11ac wireless for improved connectivity. It will run a modified version of the iOS 9 software that’s been tweaked for media playback and gaming.

What will it look like?

Unlike the Roku devices and Amazon Fire TV, which have small footprints, the Apple TV 4 will be very similar to the current Apple TV 3. It will sport the familiar boxy appearance, but will be thicker and slightly wider due to the new internal hardware.

Will there be an App Store?

The new Apple TV may include an App Store with a native SDK for developers. This will be an Apple TV4-only feature and will not be rolled out to older Apple TV units.

It is probably ironic that the most exciting aspect of the new Apple TV will have nothing to do with watching videos, instead it will be the App Store. The ability to play your favorite iPhone and iPad games on the Apple TV is something we’ve been waiting for, ever since we got a glimpse of it thanks to the AirPlay mirroring features. You should also be able to switch back and forth between your iOS devices and the Apple TV with the handoff feature.

What about gaming?

The Apple TV4 will have a focus on gaming with support for console-style, wireless controllers with pressure-sensitive buttons, D-pads, and joysticks. They will connect to the Apple TV via Bluetooth and not IR, which is used by game consoles such as the XBOX. These wireless controllers will be similar to the ones already available for the iPhone and iPad.

Will there be a remote control?

Yes, the Apple TV4 will include a brand new, souped-up remote control. It is rumored to include motion sensors for gaming control, a touchpad on the top, physical buttons on the bottom for additional input and a microphone for voice control. Buttons may include a Home button for navigation and a secondary button for activating the microphone and triggering Siri control. The remote can be used for navigating the menu system as well as an entry-level controller for playing games. It also will use a replaceable battery so owners won’t have to worry about charging another device.

Will it include television channels or streaming services such as Netflix?

Rumors suggest Apple is still working on an internet-based streaming TV package that could debut as soon as next year. The service may include up to 25 premium channels and could cost $40 per month. Apple is expected to make the service available to the third and new fourth generation Apple TV through a software update. Until the update is released, the Apple TV 4 will offer the same services as the existing Apple TV model and will require cable TV login credentials for premium cable content.
Siri logo

Will it include Siri voice-control?

Yes, Siri will be a big part of the next generation Apple TV providing access to almost every feature of the new unit. It’s deep integration into the iOS 9 core software reportedly will appeal to gamers and non-gamers alike due to its convenience.

Any other Software features?

In addition to the App Store and Siri integration, one of the tentpole feature of the new Apple TV will be universal search, which will enable searches across multiple streaming video services as well as Apple’s iTunes Store. So you will be able to search for a show or movie once, and see the results from different sources. Sources say that Matcha, a video discovery startup that Apple acquired back in 2013, is behind the new universal search feature on the upcoming Apple TV.

Will it support 4K content?

The new Apple TV may not support 4K content.

How much will the Apple TV 4 cost?

The next generation Apple TV will be more expensive than its predecessors due to its new hardware. Pricing is not yet finalized, but sources claim Apple is considering a starting price point of either $149 or $199. This is a significant price jump from previous models, which were priced at $99. It’s also higher than competing set-top boxes and media sticks whose prices range from $35 for the Google Chromecast and climb to $99 for the Roku 3 and Amazon Fire TV.

When will it be available?

The Apple TV 4 will be announced September 9th with a retail launch predicted for sometime in October.

What will happen to the Apple TV 3?

According to sources, the Apple TV 3 will continue to be sold by Apple as the company’s entry-level model. It will cost $69 and will be upgraded to TV subscription service coming to the Apple TV4. The third generation model will not receive Siri or App Store support because its hardware is not powerful enough to support these features.

Are you interested in the new Apple TV 4?

Are you an Apple TV owner? Do you plan to upgrade to the Apple TV4? If you’ve never owned and Apple TV, will the addition of apps and Siri entice you to switch to Apple’s set-top box? Share you thoughts on the rumored Apple TV in the comments below.

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