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New Apple TV box: What we know about the Apple TV 6

We were under the impression that a new Apple TV box was coming this year, but recent news indicates that we might not see a new version until 2021. 

With the tvOS update set to launch this autumn, we’d guessed that might be a good moment for Apple to drop the latest Apple TV box, but for reasons not discloses, it looks the next streaming player will slip into next year.

The most recent Apple TV box launched in 2017, and brought with it 4K and HDR support. Apple’s focus on steaming with its Apple TV= service led many to believe a refresh was on the way with a faster chipset and new remote.

When will the new Apple TV box be released?

The Apple TV box tends to be updated in the autumn every two years or so. The Apple TV 4K was launched in September 2017, and the  Apple TV HD was launched October 2015.

YouTuber Jon Prosser tweeted that a new Apple TV 4K with the codename Neptune T1125 is ready to ship.

That clearly wasn’t true as Bloomberg has reported that “people familiar with the development” have said that the device is not expected to ship until next year. If true, the new Apple TV box will go on sale in 2021.

How much will the new Apple TV 2021 cost?

The Apple TV 4K currently sells for £179 for the 32GB version, and £199 for the 64GB version. The fourth generation Apple TV HD is still available for £149. With a 64GB and 128GB version thought to be in the works, it’s likely the new box would replace the existing 32GB/64GB versions.

Our guess is that the price will remain the same, less Apple want to lose even further touch with Amazon, Google and Roku. Apple’s share of the streaming market is not particularly huge, and a more expensive unit will only widen the gap in front of it.

Related: HomePod Mini – What to expect from the rumoured HomePod 2

What does the new Apple TV 2021 look like?

One thing has been consistent about the new Apple TV box and it’s that the physical design will remain the same.

That’s not to say it couldn’t use an update. The current box has a single HDMI 2.0 output and a move to HDMI 2.1 would enable eARC for Atmos passthrough. The Apple TV 4K supports Bluetooth 5, but only for set-up and connection to other iOS devices.

According to 9to5mac, a new remote is in the works. The current Siri voice remote is not much loved and not ideal for gaming, especially as this latest streaming player is being positioned as one to game on.

What features will the new Apple TV box have?

The current box packs a powerful A10X chipset, but info uncovered in iOS 13.4 suggests the new streamer will bump that up to A12 or A13 for better gaming performance.

An A12X would turn the Apple TV into a more compelling gaming platform. If it’s going to house those games, it’s going to need more storage too. 9to5mac reported that Apple is producing 64GB and 128GB versions to ensure there’s enough space.

Whenever the next Apple TV box does launch, it’ll feature support tvOS 14. New features include access to HomeKit-enabled video cameras and accessories through Siri or Control Centre. If an owner has a smart home set-up, they can receive doorbell notifications on the big screen, which will show live feeds of who is at the door.

Multi-user capabilities have expanded to include Apple Arcade and other games, with instant resumption so players can pick up their games from where they left off. Gamers can switch between users through Control Centre, and that’s where info about game progress, Game Center achievements, leaderboards and friends is stored.

The Apple TV platform now packs support for Xbox controllers in the Xbox Elite 2 and Adaptive controller. There’ll also be support for YouTube 4K. Picture-in-Picture (PIP) support will be available across the Apple TV system, and is supported by AirPlay, which can stream in 4K.

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