I have been using Apple TV since the company released the first version many years ago. The main decision to throw down with Apple was because I already owned an iPad and iPhone, and all of the television, movies and music I purchased on these mobile devices was easily accessible. The Airplay feature is another compelling reason, because I could watch Twitch videos or mirror games from my tablet to my television. The new version of Apple TV, due out in late October has me salivating with anticipation.
The 4th generation Apple TV is running “tvOS,” with a revamped iOS 9-style interface. Design wise, it looks similar to the existing set-top box, but it’s thicker and ships with a much more advanced touch-based remote that Apple’s calling the “Siri Remote.” The top of the remote includes a glass touch surface for swiping through content as you would on an iPhone, and there’s a built-in button for calling up Siri.
The vocal interactions was heavily borrowed from the Amazon Fire TV media box, which allows you to navigate around with simple voice commands. Apple though, has really stepped up their game with a litany of interactive features. Siri can answer questions about who’s starring in a movie, bring up extraneous information like the weather outside, and ask Siri to replay parts of a movie that were missed or fast forward through content. For example, asking Siri “What did she say?” will rewind a movie 15 seconds and temporarily bring up subtitles.
The most compelling aspect about the new Apple TV for me, is the app store. No longer will I have to rely on mirroring my tablet or iPhone, instead I can simply download apps from the marketplace. Likely, there won’t be a ton of content at launch, but as long as I can get Twitch, Crunchyroll, WWE Network or Funimation I will be super happy.
Some people will be playing games on their Apple TV, but I will likely avoid it. I have a really great gaming PC and a Playstation 4, playing casual games on my TV isn’t something that I will engage in. I think the whole purpose of Apple games, is that they are casual. You play them on your phone while waiting for the BUS or waiting for a food order to come. I think what excites me the most is how companies like Amazon, Barnes and Noble or Kobo will offer new ways to read content on your television. I could possibly get behind reading interactive magazines or listening to audiobooks.
In the end, the 4th generation Apple TV has really beefy specs, compared to previous iterations. It features a 64-bit A8 chip and comes with 32GB or 64GB of storage, which will be used for downloading apps, and it includes Bluetooth 4.0, 801.11ac Wi-Fi with MIMO and an IR receiver. The remote works over Bluetooth 4.0, so line of sight is not required, and its battery will last for up to three months on a single charge. Recharging the remote is done through a built-in Lightning connector.