When will we see the next Apple TV? Are we finally getting 4K? What other features are coming? Here's everything we've heard!
Apple TV — in all its glossy, round-rect glory — is due for an update. I don't know if you've noticed, but any time an Apple product is due for an update, the rumors start to fly! Will the next Apple TV be offered in white? Will it feature a "Siri speaker"? Will the updates be "modest"? This article seeks to catch those flying rumors as they soar across the internet and store them for you here in a single location. We'll regularly update this article with new info as it appears, so be sure to check back regularly!
August 16, 2017: Blurrycam photos claim to show 60-inch Apple television
Four blurry camera shots have surfaced online (via Ben Geskin) that purport to show an Apple-branded television set in some sort of testing facility. Like many Apple devices, the TV seems to be thin and made of metal, with an Apple logo on the stand.
Of course, given the quality of the images, we suggest you take any reports of an Apple television with a huge grain of salt.
August 5, 2017: References discovered to 4K HDR / Dolby Vision for next generation Apple TV
Developer Guilherme Rambo, who's been digging through the HomePod firmware accidentally released online by Apple, has discovered strings that suggest 4K, HDR, and even Dolby Vision are on their way with the next-generation Apple TV.
4K HDR Apple TV? CONFIRMED! 😍 pic.twitter.com/nBKg022A4B— Guilherme Rambo (@_inside) August 5, 2017
What's this about a 4K Apple TV?
4K may have started as a somewhat of a gimmick to sell televisions, but as more and more shows and movies offer playback at that resolution, the fourth-generation Apple TV's 1080p is starting to seem somewhat dated. With better chipsets available, it's no big surprise that the folks at Cupertino would upgrade Apple's set top box to play back 4K. From Bloomberg:
Internally codenamed "J105," the new box will be capable of streaming ultra-high-definition 4K and more vivid colors, according to people familiar with the plans.
What does "more vivid colors" translate to? Likely Apple is experimenting with HDR support, which provides blacker blacks and more eye-popping colors on your television screne.
What about a Siri speaker, like the Amazon Echo?
Do you want your next Apple TV to listen a bit more intently? It's certainly possible, according to a report last May from The Information:
Apple is upping its game in the field of intelligent assistants. After years of internal debate and discussion about how to do so, the company is preparing to open up Siri to apps made by others. And it is working on an Amazon Echo-like device with a speaker and microphone that people can use to turn on music, get news headlines or set a timer.
But is this rumored device (which, according to CNET, might also use facial recognition to identify you) the same thing as the company's next Apple TV? On that, our sources are less reliable.
Certainly, an Apple TV with built-in Siri speaker could make it easier to navigate your shows, command your HomeKit appliances, and bark commands without ever having to press a button. But there are tradeoffs, too: Your Apple TV may not always be on, and it would almost certainly ratchet up its price (and footprint).
Footprint? You think the Apple TV could change size and shape?
If Apple is truly interested in creating an Apple TV with accompanying Siri speaker, it would almost certainly have to change size and shape: Beam-forming microphones don't do very well with squat, square shapes.
What about a new Siri Remote?
Here's hoping. While Apple's glass remote is gorgeous, it's also prone to breakage and disappearing in couch cushions. On top of that, if Apple truly decides to put Siri into the Apple TV hardware itself, the Remote's button arrangement would almost certainly have to change.
Any new colors expected besides black?
Black is classic, and while we don't expect to see any new Apple TV colors with the fifth-generation, I have to admit: A white Apple TV (in the vein of Google Home) would look pretty sweet.
When could we see the next Apple TV?
Technically, the box could be ready as soon as WWDC this summer — but like the Apple TV before it, we suspect Apple is working to launch its long-rumored subscription plan alongside the new set-top box. Will 2017 be the year Apple at last manages to launch both its hardware and tvOS software simultaneously? We'll just have to wait and see.
OK, what do we know for sure?
Nothing. Rumors are rumors are rumors and we won't really know the final outcome of the fifth-generation Apple TV until Apple officially announces the device.