Apple has just announced the next generation of Apple TV 4K – the most powerful yet, according to the company. And with a starting price of $129 / £149 / AU$205, it’s also significantly cheaper than the previous one Apple TV 4K released in 2021.
The biggest change from previous versions of the Apple TV 4K is the company’s use of the A15 Bionic chip, the same one used in the latest models of iPhones and iPad Mini (6th generation). Another key update is HDR10+, which is now supported alongside Dolby Vision and HDR10 high dynamic range formats.
Apple’s new streaming device will be sold in two configurations. One is only Wi-Fi with 64 GB of memory. The more powerful model has 128GB of storage and also features Gigabit Ethernet with mesh networking for better support for smart home devices.
The company’s press release touted the speed benefits of the A15 Bionic chip, which will boost the processor performance of the already fast Apple TV 4K by 50 percent. It is worth noting that the GPU performance has increased by up to 30 percent compared to the previous version, which will improve the response time and graphics performance when playing games.
Apple’s 4K streamer will also feature a new Siri remote with USB-C charging – a big change from earlier generations that used a Lightning connection. According to the company, the new features coming to tvOS this fall will improve Siri’s search and voice control features, with the ability to recognize and respond to different users’ voices, so they can easily pick up navigation from where they left off.
The new Wi-Fi-only Apple TV 4K can be ordered today for $129 / £149 / AU$205 and the Wi-Fi plus Gigabit Ethernet version for $149 / £169.00 / AU$240. Both models will be available from Friday, November 4.
Analysis: one more small step for Apple TV 4K
Apple’s unveiling of the next generation Apple TV 4K amid scheduled iPad and iPad Pro announcements took me by surprise. The new version of the company’s streaming device was expected by the end of the year, but not that far ahead of the Black Friday sales season.
Looking through the list of specs and features of the new Apple TV 4K, I don’t feel an urgent need to upgrade from the last version the company released in 2021.
Support for HDR10+ is an advantage, although 4K movies and TV shows with this HDR format are much more limited than those with Dolby Vision and regular HDR10. And the new Siri remote with USB-C port is another advancement, although it’s not entirely unexpected international pressure on Apple switch to USB-C from the proprietary Lightning port for charging. (USB-C ports can also be found on new iPad models that Apple just released).
And that ends my list of Apple TV 4K welcome updates. The speed boost that the A15 Bionic chip provides almost feels like overkill for a device that was already fast and responsive enough – more so than other streamers.
Let’s also talk about what the new generation of Apple TV 4K is missing. There is no support for 8K video output. And while it could be argued that the availability of 8K content is very limited, this kind of feature is something you’d expect from a premium product like Apple’s streamer. Also, while the included Siri Remote now has a more versatile USB-C charging port, there’s no MagSafe or Qi wireless charging option.
Remotes also often get lost between sofa cushions, right? So it was surprising to discover that the new Apple TV 4K Siri remote does not have the company’s U1 ultra-wideband chip. The U1 is the same chip used in AirTags and for iPhone use AirPods Pro 2Case – another small item that is easy to lose.
The Apple TV 4K’s best new feature might just be its lower price compared to previous models, although it’s still high enough that most will opt for the cheaper one instead Year Ultra or Fire TV Stick 4K Max for streaming, or simply rely on apps in the Smart TV interface.
Apple’s new streaming device is certainly an upgrade – just an insufficient upgrade that I imagine anyone will be motivated to run out and buy.