Since 2007, Apple TV’s slow evolution has left much to be desired. Over the last few years in particular, streaming sticks and services like Roku and Chromecast have become cheaper and more popular among cordcutters and anyone who wants to stream movies, apps, and television shows via the Internet.
But Apple is finally giving its media streaming hockey puck a major makeover. Apple CEO Tim Cook said on Wednesday: “The future of television is apps.”
The company debuted the next generation of Apple TV. The remote has a touch screen sensor for scrolling through options, and a Siri button for voice search and control. You can even tell Siri to skip ahead in your show or movie, or find what movies you’re looking for by asking for “action,” or “comedy.”
Apple TV will have Apple’s 64-bit A8 system on chip, and it starts at $149 for 32GB and $199 for 64GB.
“The future of television is apps.”
Universal search is available on this new generation of Apple TV. That means you can search for a movie with Siri and it will show you all the different places you can watch it, whether it be on Netflix, iTunes, Hulu, HBO, or Showtime. Apple said more search options are rolling out soon.
The remote also got a bit bigger, with motion sensors that turn the remote into a game controller. Some games will also allow for multiple people to play via Apple TV.
Apple is also finally opening up to more consumers and developers. Apple rolled out a operating system for Apple TV called tvOS. It’s based off iOS 9, and Apple Senior Vice President Eddy Cue said that it will be easy to create apps because of tools like Xcode that already exist for developing iOS apps. You can find all the apps in an app store that’s just like finding and using apps on your iPhone or iPad.
Apple is playing catch-up to the much cheaper Roku; users of the $35 streaming stick already have access to 2,000 apps. But with over 11 million iOS developers, it won’t be long before Apple has a robust TV app ecosystem, too.
Though executives didn’t discuss much on the original content front at Wednesday’s event, Apple is reportedly making its own moves to create programming that mirrors the success of shows like Netflix’s Orange Is The New Black.
Apple is finally catching up to what other services have offered for some time, but with a huge pool of apps and now a gaming component, Apple TV might be a more compelling option for people who consume Internet-based entertainment on a regular basis.
Photo via emarschn/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)