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Apple Expected to Announce New Set Top Box in June

6792303139_e0307a89ab_n[1]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.

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jjj March 20, 2015 um 1:27 pm

Nvidia had the device that stands out but at 199$ it is 2 times too much. Fast GPU and GRID were nice selling points at a reasonable price but they chose not to compete with Apple and Google in volume and be relevant.
Chromecast is the other device that stands out and it actually sold more units than Apple TV last year (according to some sources anyway) About a week ago IHS said that in 2014 Chromecast shipped 8.7 mil units and Apple TV 8.3.
Apple can choose to stand out with the streaming service and/or making it a hub for the smart home.
Not that it really matters, TVs and the living room might have a limited future.

Nate Hoffelder March 20, 2015 um 2:01 pm

Chromecast sold a lot because it was cheap. I would bet that the Apple TV has more active users, though.

Call me crazy but I just don’t think much of the Chromecast. It’s an under-powered dongle which sits at the low end of the features-price spectrum. As this market heats up this year I expect that it’s going to get crowded out by better devices from Amazon, Roku, and so on.

jjj March 20, 2015 um 2:45 pm

You asked for it…
You are crazy – actually you just don’t understand what Chromecast is.
Apple TV is a dumb streamer just like many others and the hardware doesn’t matter at all, it just needs to stream.
Chromecast is also just a streamer but the concept is a hell of a lot smarter and more flexible and in the end it makes it a lot more. It’s by miles the best streamer and it’s also one of the very very few good things Google did in the last few years.
If you want a livingroom PC then you get an actual PC or some TV box but that has nothing to do with the current Apple TV or Chromecast.
Chromecast is not low end of the spectrum in features, it’s actually the most potent streamer (streamer not livingroom PC) and the fact that it is cheap only makes it so much better. Current Apple TV was 3-4 times more and actually did less.
Apple and Amazon are also focused on their own services and that can get annoying.
I mean really, Google did like 2 good things in the last few years, Google Now and Chromecast. Chormcast is one of the best tech consumer products this decade without a doubt. Google could work faster to expand functionality but Google is always slow so they are taking their time.

fjtorres March 20, 2015 um 2:55 pm

Chromecast is a cellphone accessory more than a standalone streamer.

When it comes to pure streaming devices the kings are Roku, for internet-based streaming and Western Digital for local streaming with a good (but small) core of online services. Apple and FireTV, like XBOX and Playstation are good streamer boxes but they are tied to specific ecosystems, which neither Roku nor WD are. Which is why they are king: they don’t exclude competitors to promote their parent co content.

jjj March 20, 2015 um 3:27 pm

You can look at Chromecast that way i guess but we all own smartphones now and keeping it simple is a plus for many that don’t need a livingroom PC or are annoyed by heavy smart TV UIs and crazy remotes.
I’ll also add some numbers to illustrate how limited Apple’s appeal is given that they limit many features to mac/iOS devices.
Last year Apple shipped 275.6 million phones,tabs and PCs while the total market (as per an IDC total published today ) was 1,838.26. That puts Apple at 15% and core features for it’s TV box are limited to their devices. while others are far more universal.

Nate Hoffelder March 20, 2015 um 4:53 pm

But that does make it more limited than other streaming devices, doesn’t it?

All the rest are free-standing devices in comparison. Even Amazon’s Fire TV is less constrained, and it’s tied to Amazon.

Tim F. March 20, 2015 um 6:43 pm

No, actually, AppleTV is far more powerful. Channels/streaming services like Flickr, Netflix, Hulu, HBO Go work without any other Apple devices. Video downloads and rentals work without any other Apple devices (just need an iTunes account). Photo, music, and video streaming works with any Mac or Windows pc with iTunes (ie, for all intents and purposes, ALL pcs.) AirPlay streaming (which can be the entire screen or an app) is the only feature which only works with Macs and iOS devices — even then, AirParrot and other cheap or free apps can extend AirPlay to other devices.

Chromecast can only stream web and Android apps with specific ChromeCast support and/or a browser window.

Claiming AppleTV is less functional because the Mac userbase is relatively small is absurd.

As said above, the only smart TV device that’s more capable is Roku, because of the platform agnosticism.

Tim F. March 20, 2015 um 6:49 pm

Also, AppleTV userbase is much larger than any other non-game console besides Roku (it’s been around a lot longer). ChromeCast is only now selling at the same or slightly greater volume but is one-third the price — which is now down to half the price with the recent price drop.

Also, completely unclear to me what these "low-end" game consoles are that Apple is "competing" with. Any elaboration?

jjj March 20, 2015 um 7:19 pm

No not really at all since everybody has a phone (like electricity or running water) , smartphones are not something that just some people have anymore.
Ofc you can use tabs and PCs too and support for Android Wear will also expand. The phone is just the remote and you just throw anything ( not just video) on your TV. Ultimately it could and should make a thin client out of any screen (to use as a virtual desktop or cloud gaming) , better communicate with near by devices and so on but Google launched it unfinished , like they always do, and they are slowly making it better and better. Just days ago they added the functionality to pause and play with the TV remote.
The thing is very simple and flexible and cheap as a bonus.
Maybe think of the smartphone thing this way – have you heard of anyone that likes to navigate smart TVs/TV boxes UIs? With complex remotes, keyboards , gesture and voice and all that. By the time you get anything done, you wish you just had a dumb TV. Chromecast doesn’t really have a UI. You want a Neflix movie you find it on your phone and cast it ( the stream goes from Netflix to Chromecast not through your phone), you want to show some pics or a video, you cast them to the TV. You can mirror a browser tab or your PC or phone screen, you can cast a Google Drive presentation and the possibilities are endless. It takes the annoying out of it.
Chromecast is not really comparable with any other devices , it’s a different concept. It is true that you can cast to Android TV devices too now so for some (or many) those might be more compelling but so far not that many Android TV devices made the headlines.
One can connect a lot of things to a TV, PCs, consoles, TV boxes, players, streaming devices ,Chrimecast so ofc Chromecast won’t be the best fit for everybody but it is a really neat little thing and plenty of room for it to get better.

Tim F. March 20, 2015 um 7:45 pm

Jjj, can’t make any sense out of your claims whatsoever. Chromecast can only stream browser window content and some, very limited web/app content. AirPlay alone is more powerful albeit limited to the Mac/iOS ecosystem. But it can be supported on Windows. There are far fewer Chromecasts however than AppleTVs owned by people with Macs and iOS devices. This is before mentioning supported but non-Apple services like Netflix, Hulu, HBO Go, Flickr, MLB, and tens if not hundreds of non-paid channels… Nor mentioning the paid streaming marketplace for downloads and rentals of TV and film content that is as big or bigger than any other catalog and is in more regions of the world.

There is no simpler remote than the AppleTV remote or the Apple Remote app. Roku is a close second.

Then you drone on and on about features that are a mere fraction of the functionality of AppleTV… Wow, you can pause? Welcome to 8 years ago.

jjj March 20, 2015 um 7:31 pm

@ Tim F. your focus is only on streaming online video from mostlyUS services.
Chromecast is a dumb streamer like that and a lot more, Apple TV is just a dumb streamer with very limited extras.
The user base doesn’t really matter does it, except that if Apple changes strategy and goes from a single A9 core to a decent SoC that user base gets left behind.
Anyway, i am done with this topic so no more posting from me.

Tim F. March 20, 2015 um 7:53 pm

Again, your comments make no sense. Chromecast is the dumb streamer lited to browser content. AppleTV has far more advanced streaming capabilities via AirPlay (not limited to the browser window and a few apps) and many more features (other services, Apple’s own streaming and download service) and has full access to photos, music, and video on PCs via iTunes.

You keep claiming Chromecast does a lot more yet you have not mentioned one thing beyond casting browser content.

No, userbase does not not matter. There could be 10 billion Android phones that does mean that there aren’t a very small number of Chromecast users. Completely unclear why you want to act as if Chromecast is ubiquitous merely because smartphones are.

Tim F. March 20, 2015 um 8:00 pm

Also, no, no one is getting left behind. AppleTV 1st gen works just fine. New AppleTVs will just get better. Hell, Apple hasn’t revved the AppleTV in 2+ years and its selling as well as your wonder device at a third to half the price. Meanwhile, Google has had multiple TV product abortions.

Anthony March 23, 2015 um 10:19 am

All I want is a blue tooth remote, no more repeated pointed clicking and no more losing that little silver remote; which happens on an almost daily basis.

Tim F. March 25, 2015 um 10:21 pm

Download Remote for iPhone or iPad (presuming you have an AppleTV because you are invested in the Apple ecosystem), Done. Wifi is better than bluetooth.

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