Apple TV 2016 features, release date and news: Everything we know so far.
Last year, Apple issued its biggest Apple TV update since its original "hobby project". Apple TV has a new, fatter form factor, masses more power, and a bold new operating system complete with dedicated App Store.
All of which has us wondering what Apple might have up its sleeves for Apple TV in 2016.
There are precious few solid details out there at present, and WWDC 2016 only had news of a tvOS software update rather than any fresh hardware.
Indeed, we're not even entirely sure that there will be new hardware this year. But here's what we know and suspect so far.
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Apple TV 2016: Will there even be one?
Let's deal with this straight away – there's a very good chance that Apple won't release new Apple TV hardware in 2016.
We say that because a simple glance back at the history of the device will tell you it's never been an iterative product in the same way that, say, the iPhone or iPad has been. There's been a two or three year gap between each of the four generations (we're not counting 2013's minor revision as a distinct generation).
Plus, there's been a real lack of rumour and leaked snippets of information from the Apple supply chain, as there typically is ahead of an Apple product launch.
Apple TV 2016 news
Indeed, all we can really find on the Apple TV 2016 dates back to the beginning of December 2015, when claims were made by DigiTimes, a Taiwanese website with a dubious track history in Apple predictions.
We'll repeat those claims here for the sake of thoroughness. According to the report, Apple was to begin production of a new Apple TV in early 2016.
The Apple TV 2016 was to include a new CPU that would "dramatically improve the device's hardware performance." Indeed, this new more powerful Apple TV was reportedly so powerful, it required a "heat-dissipation solution" to keep it running cool.
In addition, the new Apple TV was to come with unspecified "new functions." Presumably one of those would be 4K – arguably the biggest omission from the Apple TV 2015 – but this isn't specified.
If the source and vague nature of this rumour didn't warrant a healthy dose of scepticism, the fact that there have been no substantiating reports from other sources since definitely should. Pass the salt.
Apple TV 2016 release date
If Apple did end up releasing a new Apple TV in 2016, though, it would surely be at least a solid year on from the Apple TV 2015. This would place a release date at the end of October or beginning of November.
Apple TV 2016 tvOS 10
That's not to say that Apple won't be doing anything with Apple TV in 2016. But we're expecting any changes to come through a software upgrade rather than a hardware one.
The first version of tvOS (named tvOS 9 to reflect its iOS 9 underpinnings) launched with the Apple TV 2015 in November, and it received no fewer than three firmware updates in the ensuing six months. Apple is evidently keen to hone its new platform.
Siri improvements and Bluetooth keyboard support have made the Apple TV 2015 a much nicer device to browse in recent months, but there's still plenty of room for improvement.
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That's why it didn't come as a surprise to see WWDC 2016 bringing news of another Apple TV software update. The new version of tvOS will bring a new remote app that will mimic the abilities of the Apple TV remote on your iPhone.
Perhaps the most welcome feature of the new tvOS, though, is single sign-on. This lets you set up a number of popular third party apps (such as HBO, ESPN, and ABC) without forcing you to log onto a separate website to authenticate your device.
Related: tvOS at WWDC 2016
Live Tune-in, meanwhile, lets you use Siri to quickly hop to live content - though the list of partners seems to be a little limited at present.
Two more new tvOS features mentioned at WWDC are Dark Mode and App Syncing. The former simply darkens the homescreen palette for when you're watching in the dark. The latter automatically downloads video apps to your Apple TV is you have a version installed on your iPhone.
Apple TV content bundle
The big addition we're all praying for in 2016 is Apple's long-mooted TV content package. The tech giant has been in talks with networks and TV content providers for what seems like (and may actually be) years in a bid to offer a "skinny bundle" of contract-free channels through its living room box.
We even heard back in January that Apple was looking to take the Netflix route and commission its own content. It certainly has the cash and the brand.
This would appear to tie in with reports in February stating that Apple's talks with key TV networks like CBS had stalled. There's evidently a great deal of resistance to Apple's plans to break up those unwieldy cable packages.
It's all gone a little quiet on the Apple TV content front in recent months. Has Apple given up, or perhaps put its grand TV ambitions on the back-burner?
Whatever the case, we didn't hear anything about this bespoke TV content bundle at WWDC, and we're not expecting to hear anything this year. Unless Apple buys itself a major network pretty sharpish.