Apple TV Review
– Apps store that lets users download any app they want
– Hardware improvements and large amount of RAM
– Built-in Siri
– Optical output has been removed
– Doesn’t support 4k resolution
The first version of Apple TV was released on January 9, 2007. The device sold very well despite what many analytics predicted. Sales reached more than 6 million by the end of 2009 and it was very clear that customers enjoy this departure from a traditional, advertisement driven TV model.
Now, Apple is starting to ship the 4th generation of Apple TV and it includes many design changes, feature updates and a big promise to finally push this product from hobbyists to a more general audience. The biggest change in terms of software is the brand new operating system called tvOS. This system is not backwards compatible with previous generations of Apple TV. tvOS introduces an app store that finally allows developers to release their own apps and thus greatly extending usability and features of this product. Users who live outside the Unites States were up to now without any regional content, which will definitely change once developers are allowed to publish their own applications.
The popular voice assistant, Siri, is now also present on Apple TV. You can use it for all the standard things you are probably already used to doing, such as getting the latest weather information, asking about stock prices, controlling video and music playback, and others. The really interesting addition to Siri’s functionality is the ability to contextually rewind videos when you don’t understand what has been said. All you need to do is ask Siri something like “Siri, what did that woman say?” and Siri will automatically know who you are referring to.
Changes don’t end with just the software. The previous generation of Apple TV came with an A5 CPU and 512 MB of RAM, which are really not the greatest specifications, especially considering just how powerful even low-end smartphones have become. The 4th generation wants to fix this with a brand new A8 processor (the same CPU that can be found in iPhone 6) and surprisingly large 2 GB of RAM. The relatively large amount of RAM has been a real shock to many reviews and tech news journalists since Apple usually stays on the lower side when it comes to RAM. However, not all hardware changes are great. Apple has decided to remove the optical output that is regularly used to connect high-end Hi-Fi equipment. It has been replaced with a USB Type-C port that will probably be used for various accessories, like cameras and game controllers. It is also important to note that Apple TV supports only 720p and 1080p resolutions with native 4k support nowhere to be found. This is rather surprising given how widespread it is slowly becoming.
The exterior of the new Apple TV has seen only very small changes that won’t be noticed by most users. The device is slightly thicker and weighs 425g, which is 153g more than the third generation TV. What users will notice is the new remote. It now packs a touch screen, a gyroscope, and even an accelerometer. The connection is realized via Bluetooth and it will be used not only to control the TV itself but also for gaming.
The new Apple TV is without any doubt a move in the right direction. Allowing developers to take full advantage of its capable hardware will give users much more possibilities. The exclusion of optical output and 4k support is unfortunate, but it probably won’t affect most users.