Apple’s second big hardware reveal today came in the form of the Apple TV — its first major update since 2012. Apple CEO Tim Cook introduced the Apple TV, proclaiming that we’ve entered a “Golden age of television” and that “Our vision for TV is simple and perhaps a little provocative. We believe the future of television is apps."
The new Apple TV, which looks like the previous model, only “double stuffed” vertically is powered by a 64-bit A8 processor, includes Bluetooth 4.0, 802.11ac with MIMO and an IR receiver. The media streamer also now includes its own built-in App Store which will allow third-party developers to explore a brand new Apple ecosystem.
The Apple TV comes paired with a brand new, touch sensitive Bluetooth 4.0 remote which allows you to easily swipe through the completely redesigned interface. The remote also supports motion controls via its built-in gyroscope and accelerometer, similar in concept to what we originally saw with the Wii Remote. Apple says that the remote can power on and control the volume of your TV and will last three months on a charge. Once it does come time to recharge it, there’s a Lightning port at the bottom of the device.
But as impressive as the new remote is, the biggest feature of the new Apple TV is support for Siri, which allows you to search for content using just your voice. You can of course search for movies, actors, genres, or even guest spots or cameos in TVs shows. And let’s say you’re watching a TV show or movie and miss something that one of the characters said. All you have to do is ask Siri “What did he say?” and your Apple TV will rewind back 15 seconds and turn on closed captioning so that you won’t miss it the second time around.
Overall, the new Apple TV seems to add some new features that have been missing from the older Apple TV generations — including casual gaming — but it doesn’t exactly look like a game changer that leapfrogs ahead of current streaming players like the Roku 3 and Amazon Fire TV, which already include their own app stores and voice search/navigation. Even the newly introduced Universal Search — which allows you to search for content across services like Netflix, Hulu and HBO — has been done for year with Roku devices.
The Apple TV launches in October, priced at $149 for 32GB and $199 for 64GB.