Pundits have been speculating for years and years that Apple would release its own smart TV, but it looks like they're going to have to wait for at least a little longer. There's a new report in Buzzfeed today which says that Apple's next product for your living room won't be a tv set but instead an updated Apple TV set top box.
The highly reliable John Paczkowski says that Apple is making a bid to reinvent the TV viewing experience:
Sources say Apple’s new Apple TV is a significant overhaul of the device, one intended to undergird Apple’s vision of what the TV viewing experience should be, and to raise the table stakes in a set-top box market cluttered with barely differentiated devices from Amazon, Roku, and others. If I’m understanding the company’s strategy correctly, the new Apple TV isn’t just a play for a stake of the streaming TV market, but for the mythical digital living room. Think TV, music, apps and a little bit of home automation as well.
The new model will run a new OS on Apple's latest A8. It will have additional storage, access to an app store, and it will support Siri voice control of Apple TV - presumably via an iPhone app or a new microphone-equipped remote control. It's also expected that the new OS will include integration with Homekit-enabled home automation devices, as earlier reports have suggested.
The new Apple TV is expected to be revealed at Apple WWDC, and I would bet that Apple's rumored web TV service will also launch at the same time. A date has yet to be chosen for the conference, but most sources believe it will be scheduled sometime in early June.
Curiously, the current Apple TV model is selling for $69. It got a price cut last week, suggesting that Apple might be planning to offer two models come June, with the newer one priced at $99 or higher.
There's no word on when the new model will ship, but when it does arrive it's going to find a crowded market. In addition to the Fire TV and Roku boxes, the Apple TV will face competitions from NVidia's new Steam console.
That's a tight market, but it's also one in which Apple is doing well. They announced in January that they had shipped 25 million Apple TVs. That may be a paltry figure in comparison to gaming console sales, but it's not insignificant.
image by smlp.co.uk