Apple has been long overdue for a revamp of its pricey set-top box. Now, it’s finally here.
The new box is built with the A12 Bionic chip, which will make the next generation of the Apple TV faster and more powerful. This new box will also be a 4K streaming device, just like the last one, but the new one will have color balance calibration capabilities as well, which is fantastic for folks who want the best possible picture but aren’t super familiar with calibration techniques.
The big reveal today was Apple TV’s new Apple TV remote, an aluminum Siri remote that will have a Siri button on the side and what appears to be a slightly larger form factor. Its buttons got a bit of an overhaul as well. The remote itself can be controlled with a clickpad control but is also touch-enabled. Apple says that an “outer ring of the clickpad supports an intuitive circular gesture that turns it into a jog control—perfect for finding a scene in a movie or show.”
Apple’s original 4K box was released in 2017, so the company has been overdue for a newer streaming solution for quite some time, particularly as it focuses on expanding its services slate. Apple TV+, Arcade, and Fitness+ are examples of services that are best experienced on the largest possible screen versus a smaller, palm-sized iPhone.
But Apple is also competing with quite a few popular and comparatively cheaper boxes as well. A 64GB Apple TV 4K, which you’ll want if you plan to play any games on your box, will run you about $200. But you can get a Chromecast with Google TV, which does much of what the Apple box does, for just $50. Sure, there are some trade-offs. But for the average streamer, I’m not sure those are significant enough to warrant paying $150 extra to stay within the Apple ecosystem.
That’s going to be a problem for Apple, as it has priced this new box at $179 for 32GB and $199 for the 64GB. So while many of us hoped for a more affordable streaming set-top box, it appears Apple has opted to do the Apple thing here.
The new Apple TV 4K will go on sale Friday, April 30.