Apple released a lot of products in 2020, but the one thing that never saw the light of day was a new version of the Apple TV 4K. But from the sounds of things, it might still be in the works for a 2021 release.
That’s according to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, who claims a new Apple TV will also come with a big update to help Apple compete against the best streaming devices from the likes of Roku, Amazon and Google. Notably, those updates are tipped to include a much improved remote and a gaming focus.
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According to Gurman, who is known to be reliable with his leaks and predictions, the new Apple TV will come with a new chip, replacing the A10X Fusion inside the current Apple TV 4K. The new one will likely run on a variant of the new A14 Bionic.
Gurman also says a brand new remote is coming for the next Apple TV 4K, which is definitely needed. While the current Apple TV 4K’s Siri remote was an improvement over its predecessor, the weird touchpad design is still clunky and doesn’t work particularly well. That’s just about the only thing the Apple TV 4K does badly.
The last time Apple refreshed the Apple TV lineup was back in September 2017, when it launched the Apple TV 4K. As well-received as that device was, it's due an upgrade. This is especially true since the cheapest version, with 32GB of storage, still costs a hefty $179.
Gurman pointed out that the lack of a new model may also be harming Apple’s streaming ambitions, since the Apple TV is the obvious portal for encouraging people to subscribe to Apple TV Plus. Even if the service is available on several other platforms.
Meanwhile, the competition is more aggressive with hardware updates. Amazon releases a new Fire TV device every year, and uses them to push people towards Prime Video. Roku and Google also regularly refresh their hardware. It also helps that all three companies' most expensive models ($69-$130, depending on the company) are still noticeably cheaper than Apple’s cheapest $149 Apple TV HD.
Considering Apple TV has been around for 14 years now, we really should be well beyond the 5th generation at this stage. And it’s about time Apple launched a cheaper version for people to pick up, especially considering the warm reception to the $99 HomePod Mini.