Don’t believe the hype. That’s what I always tell myself when a new Apple event is around the corner. But it’s hard not to get excited when Apple releases a cryptic themed event every fall.
It’s official, Apple has now caught up to Roku and Android TV. That’s really what today’s “Hey Siri” event had to say to media that were salivating for the new Apple TV. There were some rumours that came true. For example, the focus on gaming for the new $149 device. But others didn’t materialize.
Many thought that the new Apple TV was going to be the device that would finally provide a new model for delivering internet TV. But this really didn’t happen. Supposedly Apple is still working on some deals with cable providers to bring new programming models to the Apple TV. But this was surprisingly absent from today’s announcement.
That’s not to say that the new Apple TV isn’t a great upgrade to the old, admittedly tired, device. Upgrades to the internals take the Apple TV to the new snappy 64 bit A8 chip. When it launches in October, it will be available in 32GB and 64GB versions which will be used to load up apps. That’s right, 3rd party apps are now possible via the Apple’s TVs new app store. This is an area where devices like Roku 3 and Android TV boxes like the Amazon Fire TV and NVIDIA Shield TV have had the leg up on Apple.
On the interface side of things, the new Apple TV now has a fancy new remote that features a touch pad for swiping between items on the newly designed (iOS inspired) interface. It can also be used as a motion controller complete with an accelerometer for playing your favourite mobile games on the big screen. It all looks like it operates smoothly and intuitively. Siri integration which allows for voice searches brings the Apple TV in line with the Roku 3 and Android TV crew as well. Like Android TV, there is a “universal search” which can dig into content from several different apps including Netflix, Hulu and HBO Now.
A good upgrade for an old device
No, the new Apple TV doesn’t really do anything incredibly new. No, it isn’t going to dethrone Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo for the gaming market like many predicted. And no, it isn’t being launched with any game changing TV models that are going to sink cable TV once and for all. But it does seem to be a great upgrade for those of you who are invested in and familiar with the Apple ecosystem of apps. The new app store, upgraded controller, and snappier performance should be enough to justify the price of admission for the Apple TV.
It’s not the next coming of Christ in terms of video streaming boxes. But that’s okay. Let’s see what Google has up their sleeves in the future as competition will probably someday deliver a wildly different TV experience.
Happy cord cutting!