An Apple TV refresh is long overdue, with its streaming counterparts marching onwards in the battle for streaming supremacy. It's a curious pace change for a company that relishes innovation and exhibits these in regular Apple reveal events.
Finally, though, tantalising news of a new Apple TV model predicted to arrive in 2021 should go some way to whet Apple fans' appetites before a confirmed launch day.
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It comes in light of comments from Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman who covers Apple news over at Bloomberg Technology. Writing in the Full Charged Newsletter, Gurman backs Apple to bring a new TV model to the masses in 2021 with an updated remote, new processor, and a much stronger gaming focus to boot.
Gurman is a veteran of Apple leaks, and suggests that the new Apple TV 4K will swap the AX10 Fusion chip inside the existing Apple TV 4K for a brand-new chip. It possibly will use a variant of the A14 Bionic that powers the fourth gen iPad Air, as well as the iPhone 12, and the flagship iPhone 12 Pro. If you're unsure on the sheer velocity levels of the A14 Bionic chip, it smoked the competition in the iPhone 12 benchmark testing that we covered back in October.
He reports that there will be a significant update to the Apple TV 4K’s Siri remote; there has been a lot of noise around the remote's issues and, although it was better than the older version, the touchpad lacked functionality.
Gurman has previously reported that the company is working on a feature for the remote control that is similar to Find My iPhone: making it easier to locate the TV accessory. Tech giants are responding to a rising interest from consumers in tech that pinpoints your personal items; elsewhere, we covered the race to dominate this sector with Samsung taking aim at Apple's AirTags to be the number one personal inventory tracker.
Bloomberg’s Gurman is lucid in the problems facing Apple at the moment, suggesting that the lack of major updates may be impeding Apple’s streaming by 'missing the moment'. Apple TV Plus faces tough competition despite it being widely adopted by other less Apple-centric platforms.
The last refresh to Apple TV was back in September 2017 with the long‑awaited launch of its first 4K set‑top box for 4K televisions. At the time, it used the same chip as the 2017 iPad Pro, which shows how long it has been since an update.
Apple TV 4K's price hasn't fluctuated since launch; it starts at $179 / £179 / AU$249 for the 32GB model, and $199 / £199 / AU$279 for the 64GB model. The new release is unlikely going to start cheap as it wasn't exactly chump change back in 2017.
And tech wars rage on: it's vying for pole position in a very saturated market, ranking fifth place in T3's best media streamers of 2020. Google and Roku rollout frequent hardware updates for the Chromecast and Roku streaming stick, and Amazon has a loyal customer base through its cheaper Fire TV that encourages users to plug into the Prime Video ecosystem. The products’ price points are also significantly cheaper than Apple TV.
With global lockdowns here to stay for the near future, there's a big appetite for streaming products as people stay in during the colder months.