Apple today announced the fourth-generation Apple TV at its „Hey Siri“ media event in San Francisco. Tim Cook says the new Apple TV was built on a foundation that includes powerful hardware, a modern OS, a new user experience, developer tools and an App Store.
The new Apple TV comes with a brand new user interface and remote. The remote comes with a glass-touch surface on the top over a set of buttons, allowing users to easily glide across the user interface. The remote also comes with a button for Siri, which allows the user to ask Siri for content to watch. For instance, users can ask Siri for comedies starring a certain actor. Siri searches across multiple content apps, allowing users to see all their options without opening individual apps like Netflix or HBO.
The Touch pad on the new remote includes gestures like a quick swipe that allows a user to quickly get to the end of a column or row. Users can also circle their thumb on the pad to make icons and posters „dance.“ Touch can also be used to easily scrub through a TV show or movie. If a user doesn’t want to use the Touch pad to scrub through, they can ask Siri „skip ahead 7 minutes.“ Siri can also be asked „what did she say?“, which causes her to rewind 15 seconds.
Like its other incarnations, Siri can be asked for suggestions. A user can simply ask something like „what are some good movies for kids?“ and Siri will present a list of options. Siri can also be asked information during playback, like „who stars in this?“ Additionally, users can ask things that aren’t related to the content they’re watching. For instance, if a user is wondering about a sports score, they can ask Siri, whose answers are shown at the bottom of the screen and do not distract from the content playing.
The new Apple TV also comes with brand new screen savers featuring high definition footage shot by Apple. The screen savers show off cities in slow motion video and will showcase footage based on the time of day.
tvOS, the new operating system that powers Apple TV, is based off of iOS and makes it easy to build apps. The OS uses familiar development tools like Xcode and includes access to technologies like Metal, GameKit and UIKit. Apple has select developers access to tvOS and showed off several apps that have taken advantage of the early access. Netflix, HBONow and Hulu are some of the content providers who have developed all-new interfaces for the new Apple TV. Game developers like Disney Interactive and Activision will also be bringing console-quality games like „Disney Infinity 3.0“ and „Guitar Hero“ to the new Apple TV, which will be playable with the new remote. The new Apple TV will also play host to exclusive games developed specifically for the new platform, including Harmonix’s new game „Beat Sports“, which was developed specifically with the new remote in mind. iPhones and iPod touches can also be used as remotes with the new Apple TV.
The new Apple TV’s App Store will not only provide video content apps and games however, as shopping apps from the like of Gilt will also be available, allowing users to shop from their couch.
Major League Baseball took the stage to show off how the power of the new Apple TV could be used to advance the television experience. When watching a baseball game, for instance, a user can simply press a button and have access to statistics in sync with the game they’re watching, which can be broadcast at 60 frames per second.
Developers can create universal apps for Apple TV, which means they can create one app that’ll work on both iOS and tvOS. The new Apple TV comes with a 64-bit A8 chip, Bluetooth 4.0, 801.11ac Wi-Fi with MIMO and an IR receiver. The new remote connects via Bluetooth 4.0 and includes an accelerometer and gyroscope. It can also control TV volume and turn the TV on, which means users won’t have to use multiple remotes if they don’t want to. The new Apple TV remote lasts 3 months on a single charge and recharges via Lightning connector.
The new Apple TV goes on sale in October in nearly 80 countries and will retail for $149 in a 32 GB configuration and $199 for a 64GB configuration.
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