After three and half years, Apple has finally given the Apple TV streaming set-top a makeover — and brand-new remote that uses a click-pad.
On Tuesday, the tech giant took the wraps off its next-generation Apple TV 4K, which the company touted as a “massive upgrade to any television.” The new model will be priced at $179 — the same as the previous Apple TV 4K, which came out in the fall of 2017. It’s available to preorder April 30, set to ship in the second half of May in the U.S. and about 30 other countries and regions.
The biggest change: The new Apple TV 4K supports high frame rate HDR (high dynamic range) and Dolby Vision video. That will let it play back video at 60 frames per second, promising smoother and “more lifelike” TV and movies. The device is equipped with Apple’s A12 Bionic chip, which the company claimed provides a “significant boost” in graphics performance, video decoding and audio processing.
Apple said it is working with several video providers to support high frame-rate HDR, including Fox Sports, NBCUniversal, Paramount Plus, Red Bull TV and France’s Canal Plus.
Apple also is introducing a fully designed remote control: The new Siri Remote features a click-pad control that offers five-way navigation that the company said provides for better accuracy, while it’s also touch-enabled to allow navigation using finger swipes. The outer ring of the click-pad supports circular gestures to turn it into a “jog control,” for example, to find a specific scene in a movie or show. Using Siri, customers can search for specific shows or movies, control smart home accessories, as well as check the weather and ask for other info, by using spoken commands.
By keeping the $179 price tag, Apple’s connected-TV device remains much more costly than competing products like Roku’s players, Google’s Chromecast and Amazon’s Fire TV.
“Apple TV 4K is in a category of its own, leveraging a deep integration of Apple hardware, software and services that delivers a massive upgrade to any TV for the very best cinematic experience,” Bob Borchers, Apple’s VP of worldwide product marketing, said in a statement.
In addition, the company will sell a non-4K version, Apple TV HD, priced at $149 with the new Siri Remote. The new Siri Remote also will be available separately for $59, compatible with the previous-generation Apple TV 4K and Apple TV HD models.
Apple introduced the new set-top box Tuesday at its “Spring Loaded” product event. Among other things, it officially announced subscriptions for Apple Podcasts with select partners coming in May.