As Apple’s September 9th event approaches, folks are continuing to make (sometimes educated) guesses about the company’s plans.
Now 9to5Mac has a detailed look at what we might be able to expect from the next Apple TV box. And if half of the details listed in the report are true, this update could be a doozy.
First up, the Apple TV could get a new design with a wider case, a faster processor, and a new remote control. The remote may have audio capabilities (including a speaker and/or microphone that could be used for Siri voice commands) and support for touch input, which could come in handy for playing games or navigating apps that may have originally been designed for touchscreen devices like iPhones and iPads.
Of course, the current Apple TV doesn’t support third-party apps or games. It’s designed to connect to your TV and let you stream content from iTunes or other supported channels including Netflix, Hulu, HBO, YouTube, and ESPN.
But 9to5Mac reports that the next-gen Apple TV could support a whole lot more… because it’ll basically be running a TV-specific version of the iOS 9 operating system developed for phones and tablets.
Apple is also expected to offer a software developer kit to provide developers with the tools needed to make TV-friendly apps which will then be distributed through the App Store. Users will be able to purchase and download apps and games.
Apple has reportedly been working on a subscription-based TV service that would allow cord-cutters to watch live programming… but the latest rumors suggest that it isn’t yet ready for launch and may not be available when the new Apple TV is introduced. But it’s possible that the new Apple TV hardware and software has been designed with live TV in mind… which means that the box could launch this year with the pay TV service rolling out sometime later.
When the original Apple TV launched in 2007, it was a niche product at a time when cord cutting wasn’t exactly common. The better part of a decade later, the Apple TV faces competition from Roku, Chromecast, Fire TV, and other boxes… not to mention video game consoles and Smart TVs which can also stream online content.
The Apple TV is still one of the best solutions for folks that have already invested heavily in building out a library of music and movies tied to the iTunes store. But if you’re interested in third-party apps and games, boxes like the Amazon Fire TV and NVIDIA Shield might look more attractive.
An updated Apple TV with an App Store, Siri, iOS 9, and other improvements (including an updated user interface and improved search functionality) could go a long way toward leveling the playing field.
What remains to be seen is whether the Apple TV will remain a low-cost device. You can currently pick up the latest model for just $69. But it wasn’t always so affordable: the original Apple TV sold for $299 at launch.