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You are here: MacNN Forums > News > Mac News > Apple TV boasts upgraded hardware, new remote, apps and games

Apple TV boasts upgraded hardware, new remote, apps and games
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NewsPoster
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Sep 9, 2015, 02:23 PM
 
The fourth generation of the Apple TV has been unveiled at Apple's Special Event, with the set-top box including a large number of updates compared to previous generations. The new Apple TV is the most powerful version of the device created by Apple, and includes not only more powerful hardware, but also massive upgrades to its software, including the ability to navigate using voice, and to load apps directly on the television screen.

The main appearance of the device has not changed much, having a similar appearance to earlier models, if slightly thicker. Running on a 64-bit A8 chip, it includes Bluetooth 4.0, 802.11ac Wi-Fi with MIMO, an IR receiver, and on the back, HDMI, power, and Ethernet.

The new Apple TV comes with a new remote control, which includes a glass touchpad near the top that allows users to swipe and navigate the new interface easier. The remote includes five buttons, including a menu, play and pause, display, and a volume rocker, along with a Siri button to trigger the virtual assistant for voice-based search. An accelerometer and gyroscope allows it to be used as a motion controller in games, and its battery can last for up to three months on a single charge.



Siri is capable of searching across multiple apps, allowing for users to watch a show wherever it is available in the apps that are installed. The touchpad can be used to scroll through the show, though Siri can also be triggered to skip forwards, rewind, and turn on captions while a program is being shown. Siri can also search based on specific items, such as the episode of Modern Family featuring Edward Norton. Requests for weather reports or sports results can show the results on the display, with users able to get more detail by swiping up. Apple Music can also be triggered from Siri.



The Apple TV is running on a custom operating system called tvOS, with developers gaining access to APIs and software development kit specifically for the device. While it is being used for video apps, it is also able to power games, including Disney Infinity and Guitar Hero, as well as other apps previously available on iOS. The tvOS developer beta will be available later today.



The new Apple TV will be shipping in 80 countries in late October, and in 100 countries by the end of this year. Two models will be offered, with one version including 32GB of storage for $149, and a 64GB model for $199. The existing Apple TV will continue to be sold as it is.
( Last edited by NewsPoster; Sep 9, 2015 at 07:10 PM. )
     
DiabloConQueso
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Sep 9, 2015, 04:27 PM
 
Good news! Even the lastest-model AppleTV that preceded this one was woefully underpowered, causing lag and stuttering issues with the interface.

While videos streamed and played smoothly, the interface because of the lack of processing power was sometimes a pain to use.

This new one looks great, and finally has the power, let's hope, to deliver a silky-smooth and responsive UI experience.
     
Makosuke
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Sep 9, 2015, 04:54 PM
 
I'm definitely buying one of these.

Two thoughts: One, Nintendo will be out of the console market within a year or two. There's almost no way first-party franchises can pull them through the one-two punch of mobile gaming plus a good-enough casual/light gaming console that costs $150, will probably have a large library of cheap games, and in many cases will run the same game as you play on your phone without re-buying. Doing something incredibly drastic with the NX is the only possible out, and even that's unlikely to help.

And two, while I understand why Apple would go with the A8 instead of the new A9, it would really have been nice if they'd gone all-out on this model and put their top-of-the-line GPU in it for best gaming bang out of the gate. As-is, it's probably about halfway between a Wii and Wii U, while an A9 (based on the "90% faster" claim) would have put it at least at Wii U performance.
     
bdmarsh
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Sep 9, 2015, 05:06 PM
 
Can finally get Plex on AppleTV
     
pottymouth
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Sep 9, 2015, 05:12 PM
 
Sorry, was there official mention of Plex? Or are you just talking processing power?

I'm currently running Plex through Chromecast and it's buggy as hell.
     
Grendelmon
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Sep 9, 2015, 05:33 PM
 
Plex on Roku has been running great for the past several years. Sorry to hear that about Chromecast, pottymouth.
     
coffeetime
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Sep 9, 2015, 05:36 PM
 
Very nice improvement. Way to go, Apple. Finally, a game console (and more) from Apple. Let see how far this thing will take us to down the road.
     
pairof9s
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Sep 9, 2015, 05:39 PM
 
That universal search, especially by voice, is a godsend! The UI would only be partially improved without that feature. The remote looks incredible too, but let's see how it does in the wild.

My only disappointment is the lack of new/additional content sources (as expected). I was hoping that CBS, ABC, or even TBS/TNT might have joined in. Guess the rumors are right...wait till 2016.
     
Mike Wuerthele
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Sep 9, 2015, 05:56 PM
 
I'm really bothered by the 200MB limit on storage that Apple is applying. That's going to make third-party video players... problematic.

Developers under tight storage restrictions for Apple TV coding | MacNN
     
prl99
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Sep 9, 2015, 09:52 PM
 
Has anyone heard if the "Computer" channel/app/function will still be available? I didn't see it during the keynote. If it isn't, it will make a lot of people with large movie and music lists upset. It appears the only options will be anything purchased or installed on iCloud.
     
MitchIves
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Sep 9, 2015, 11:52 PM
 
Thanks for the link Mike...
     
DiabloConQueso
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Sep 10, 2015, 12:16 AM
 
I don't think the 200MB limit will be that much of an issue.

We all consume all our content on the AppleTV in a streaming fashion today -- movies, TV shows, content on our networked computers, etc. Games could (and should, in some respects) be no different.

Nobody bats an eye streaming a 720p or 1080p movie (which can approach 4GB from start to finish) on Netflix or Apple's iTunes Store on their AppleTVs -- why should games be any different? A game can approach 10GB or more on the newest consoles, and from personal experience, buying them online and having to download the entire thing is an exercise in patience. Why not download, instead, a small-ish app, and have the content streamed as you need it? Why take up 1/4 to 1/3 of the total storage space of the AppleTV for content you don't need until you encounter it in-game, some days or weeks in the future?
     
Charles Martin
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Sep 10, 2015, 05:02 AM
 
prl99: I think the "Computers" menu has disappeared, but its functionality has not been replaced (caution: this is a guess on my part, not fact or insider knowledge). If a machine has Home Sharing turned on, its assets will just "be available," and configuration menus and such are likely invoked through a gesture or Siri command rather than an on-screen menu.
Charles Martin
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Mike Wuerthele
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Sep 10, 2015, 07:51 AM
 
I'm not as optimistic as Charles is. If you didn't get it through iTunes, or one of its content partners, then why should you get to play it?

Local libraries weren't mentioned in the list of comprehensive search targets. Why not?

Regarding the 200MB limit, we'll see how it goes. I think the hard limit is tone-deaf to developers and users, but may not be a bother to everybody.
     
   
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