What’s next for the Apple TV, and when will Apple launch the fifth edition of the device? Is the Apple TV a ‘hobby’ product, or has the company started taking television seriously?
In this article we look at the future of the Apple TV, its set-top box combining a digital media player, a games machine and a platform for apps with the ability to stream content from iOS devices and Macs to a TV. We examine the rumours and speculate on when Apple will update the device, and discuss the new hardware and software features to expect from the fifth-generation Apple TV.
If you’re looking for information about the fourth-gen Apple TV – the first Apple TV device to allow users to install apps – unveiled by Apple in 2015, we’ve got plenty of details, including pricing and the best places to buy in our Apple TV buying guide for 2017.
Also read: How to set up the Apple TV | Apple TV vs old Apple TV | Apple TV tips UK
When will the Apple TV 5 be released?
A new Apple TV, capable of playing 4K content, may launch this year, according to a Bloomberg report. This fifth-generation Apple TV, codenamed J105, will also offer “more vivid” colours, according to Bloomberg’s sources.
There’s more weight to speculation that an Apple TV 5 is on the way thanks to developer logs spotted in March 2017 that reveal a mysterious new Apple device.
The co-founder of Firi Games spotted the new hardware, which showed up as ‘AppleTV6,2’ in the logs. Perhaps tellingly, the current fourth-gen Apple TV carries an ‘AppleTV5,3’ identifier, so this could be a logical step forward. The new device is also reportedly running tvOS 11.0, adding to speculation that this is a whole new Apple TV device.
As for when in 2017 the new Apple TV will launch, it seems most likely that a new Apple TV box would launch in September alongside new iPhones and a new iOS operating system (as it’s likely that the new Apple TV will use new features in iOS 11- you read more about iOS 11’s new features here.)
The Apple TV currently sells for £139 (with 32GB of storage) or £179 (64GB). That’s more than twice the price of its predecessor, which cost £59 until it was discontinued in 2016. But the newer model can do far more, adding the TV App Store and a wealth of apps. The old model’s price was more in line with competing set-top boxes (we look at a number of the competitors to the Apple TV here).
As the above referenced article outlines, competing gadgets such as Amazon’s Fire TV (£79.99), Google’s Chromecast Ultra (£69) and Roku’s Streaming Stick (£39) cost a lot less than Apple’s offering. We think Apple should drop the entry price of the new model.
We predict that there will be three Apple TV boxes available at three different price points, based on the idea that Apple will offer a lower-priced entry-level model to make up for the fact that it no longer sells the third-generation model:
- 32GB £99 ($99)
- 64GB £139 ($149)
- 128GB £179 ($199)
One of Apple’s customs is to continue to sell an older model as the lower priced entry level option. For that reason we anticipate that Apple may continue to sell the 2015 Apple TV as the entry-level model.
Read next: 14 best Apple TV alternatives | Best Apple TV buying guide 2017
Rumoured hardware changes
While we don’t expect that the box itself will look any different, there will be a number of changes to the components inside in order for the new box to offer 4K support. We outline these below:
Will the Apple TV 5 have 4K video support?
The Bloomberg report mentioned above claims that Apple is working towards launching a 4K Apple TV.
There has been some criticism that the current Apple TV isn’t capable of supporting 4K video, especially given that the iPhone 6s can shoot in 4K and other competing devices do support 4K (Amazon, Roku).