The new Apple TV 4K 2021 is finally official, and it's arriving soon. And thankfully it's not just delivering a new chip, but also a cool color balancing feature and a redesigned Siri remote that looks like a major improvement on the previous accessory. It was just one of many of the Apple Event highlights from April 20's Spring Loaded event.
This updated Apple TV 4K was announced by Cindy Lin, Director of Program Management, who previewed the next generation of the streaming device. The hardware, the box itself, looks the same. But inside, the Apple TV 4K 2021 will run on the A12 Bionic chip. The refreshed device will also now stream in high-frame rate HDR with Dolby Vision, which was touted as especially great for watching sports. Lin also introduced a new color balance feature that works with the iPhone.
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But we're especially excited for the new remote, since the old remote is (sorry not sorry) absolute garbage. Get more details on the remote below.
The Apple TV portion of the event kicked off with an exciting sneak peek at Ted Lasso season 2, which will premiere in July.
Here's everything we know so far about the new Apple TV 4K 2021.
Apple TV 4K 2021 release date
The Apple TV 4K 2021 will be available for preorder starting April 30 and will ship in the second half of May, said CEO Tim Cook.
Apple TV 4K 2021 price
The Apple TV 4K 2021 with 32GB storage will cost $179, while the 64GB device will cost $199.
The new Apple TV Siri Remote will also be sold separately for $59 and will work with the previous-generation Apple TV 4K and Apple TV HD.
Apple TV 4K 2021 specs
The rumors were right: the new Apple TV 4K 2021 runs on the A12 Bionic chip, which first debuted in the iPhone X series.
To put that in perspective, the most recent Apple TV uses A10 Fusion chip technology, which has been circulating since its 2016 debut in the iPhone 7. It's a "massive upgrade," as Lin called it, and should provide a significant boost in graphics performance, video decoding, and audio processing.
The performance improvement comes with the ability to stream in high frame-rate HDR with Dolby Vision. Now, the Apple TV 4K can stream at 60 frames per second (fps) to play more smoothly and appear more lifelike than ever before. And videos shot on the iPhone 12 Pro can be displayed in full 60-fps Dolby Vision via AirPlay.
Speaking of the iPhone, its advanced light sensors can now be used to improve a television’s picture quality. Place the iPhone against your TV screen and the Apple TV 4K 2021 will calibrate it for improved color-balance. With that done, it will automatically tailor its video output to deliver much more accurate colors and improved contrast. What's more, this new color balance feature will also work with older Apple TV devices, once they get an update to tvOS 14.5 "early next week".
However, the rumors that the new 4K box would double storage size didn't pan out; the device is retaining the 32GB and 64GB tiers of the previous generation.
Apple TV 4K 2021 remote control
Celebrate! The Apple TV 4K 2021 comes with a brand-new Siri Remote that's been completely redesigned. The new remote still has a similar slim rectangular shape, but is now made of 100% recycled aluminum.
It also has a new click pad (praise) that is also touch-enabled. Its outer ring enables a new circular gesture for jog control, so you can use it to easily find a specific scene in a movie or show. The Siri button meanwhile, is now on the side, like an iPhone.
The Apple TV 4K 2021 remote also features new power and mute buttons that can control your TV.
The new Siri remote can be bought separately from the new Apple TV 4K 2021, and the good news is that it will also work with older Apple TV devices.
Apple TV 4K 2021 tvOS 14 features
Last fall's tvOS 14 update added or expanded several features on the platform that powers the Apple TV. Here's what the update brought:
New Control Center for HomeKit accessories: This looks similar to what's available on iOS and iPad OS.
Multi-user support for AppleArcade: Switch between users to resume game progress and see different users' game progress, achievements and friends.
Support for more game controllers: Including Xbox Elite 2 and the Xbox adaptive controller.
Picture-in-picture mode. Watch the news while using fitness apps; see who's ringing a HomeKit-enabled doorbell; plus you can now check out a video in 4K via AirPlay from your iPhone or iPad.