The Apple TV box has been around over 10 years now. The most recent version – the Apple TV 4K – came out in 2017 and rumours indicate a new box is in the works.
The Apple TV box brought the product series into the 4K realm, offering bundles of 4K content including what’s available on Apple TV Plus. Could these rumours be pointing to Apple releasing a refresh to further advance is position in the video streaming field?
Here’s everything that we’ve gleaned so far about the new Apple TV box.
- Related: Apple TV Plus review
New Apple TV 2019 release date
The most recent revisions were unveiled in the autumn. The Apple TV 4K appeared September 2017, while the Apple TV HD had an October 30 release date back in 2015.
Considering a new box didn’t launch alongside Apple TV Plus, the tea leaves would point to a 2020 autumn release. However, the Covid-19 pandemic may yet change the timetable for its release. We’d expect it to arrive sometime before the end of the year.
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New Apple TV 2019 design
The Apple TV boxes have remained pretty consistent in terms of design and there’s no reason to think that this potential new one will stir the pot.
From all the current news and rumours about the box, it’s been stated that the physical design will remain unchanged. That doesn’t mean what’s beneath the hood couldn’t use an update, with the current box featuring a single HDMI 2.0 output. Perhaps a move to HDMI 2.1 is on the cards? The Apple TV 4K already supports Bluetooth 5.0, so the only movement on that would be a push to Bluetooth 5.1.
A new remote is said to be in the works, something which we’d welcome in light of how fiddly the current Siri voice remote is. It’d also make sense considering it’s not ideal for gaming, and Apple Arcade has become popular since its launch.
New Apple TV 2019 features
An issue with the Apple TV 4K is that it is trapped within the Apple ecosystem. While it doesn’t require users to own an iPhone to use it, having one makes setup and navigation faster. We’d love to see an equally seamless option for Android users.
We’d also like to see an option to turn off the Apple TV 4K box’s upscaling and leave it to the TV. While the box doing the upscaling can make content better, providing sharper images and digging up more detail in low light scenes, it isn’t a foolproof method.
We also noticed that the additional contrast and sharpening can make lower quality content look even worse, or just output a film in a way that it was not designed to look.
A report in March 2020 has indicated that Apple is pursuing 64GB and 128GB versions of the box to ensure there’s enough space for Apple Arcade games.
Another update is in the works for tvOS, and it’s believed to be adding a Kids Mode to the software. This would allow owners to set up an account for their kids and control which apps are accessed. Screen Time – which calculates the amount of time spent using the device – is also said to be coming in the next tvOS update.
The current box packs a powerful A10X chipset for some hefty graphics, but info uncovered in iOS 13.4 suggests the new box will bump that up to A12 or A13 processor to turn it into a better gaming platform.
Related: Apple TV 4K review
New Apple TV 2019 price
Currently, the Apple TV 4K costs £179 for the 32GB version, or £199 for the 64GB version at the Apple Store. The fourth generation Apple TV HD is available for a slightly lower £149. With a 64GB and 128GB version mooted, there’s the potentially to could be more expensive.
There hasn’t been any indication that the price will go up, the market has been flooded with cheaper alternatives from Amazon, Google and Roku.
While Apple isn’t know for its affordably priced hardware, it’s not going to increase its market share if it’s twice as costly, and in some cases three times the price of a streaming stick that offers access to video streaming apps including Apple’s own TV app.