It’s About Time! 4K Apple TV Version Finally Confirmed For September

by on August 26, 2017

Stephan Jukic – August 26, 2017

After weeks of leaks suggesting an impending new Apple TV set-top box that finally features 4K ultra HD resolution (and HDR as well) and literally years of open speculation about when Apple would finally get with the program and update the 1080p Apple TV for 4K UHD, we finally have what looks like solid confirmation that it’s coming from reporting by Bloomberg.

Based on what we know at this point, Apple will be unveiling the updated box alongside a number of other upcoming Apple devices such as the next edition of the iPhone and Apple’s newest version of the Apple Watch during an annual event by the company in September. The new version of Apple TV with 4K will obviously enough come with the capacity for 4K UHD streaming and will also come with many of the same features already found in the existing Apple TV set-top device. It will however also include other new additions besides UHD. These include highlighting of live television programming such as news and sportscasts and a faster processing core for superior performance overall and for effective streaming of the 4K content which will be available for the set-top gadget, according to sources close to the development of the new Apple device.

Apple TV latest version

The existing Apple TV set-topb box was pretty much out of date even after its last major update since even back in 2015 when this happened, competitor set-top box models from brands like Amazon and Roku existed with 4K UHD streaming capability alongside their 1080p streams. Since then and right up to now, Apple has continued to lose share in the set-top box market with the HD Apple TV while Roku and others developed and released even newer versions of their 4K devices that included more advanced features like HDR video support and better HDMI connectivity specs.

Confirmation of Apple TV’s losing position in this largish niche market even came from the company’s own executives themselves; Apple CFO Luca Maestri has told Bloomberg in early 2017 that Apple TV sales have been declining year-over-year between late 2015 and the 2016 holiday quarter. It stands to reason that they’ve declined even further since then as 4K UHD TVs become more known, more affordable and sold at an ever increasing rate on their way towards taking up a majority of the global TV market. Furthermore, Apple has lagged heavily behind rivals on content creation, with 4K UHD content from Apple not even being worth mentioning since it doesn’t yet exist for the consumer market. At the same time, companies like Amazon and Netflix in particular have been busy making sure that the majority of their own original programming for the streaming media market is available in 4K UHD and ready for the growing popularity of 4K UHD TVs.

The decreasing sales figures for the otherwise decent Apple TV set-top box show more than anything that consumers want 4K UHD capacity in their home theater gadgets even if the existing market of ultra HD content remains small. The perception of 4K as a must-have technology in home theater is growing not just for TVs themselves but also for the devices that can provide content to these displays.

We can also likely expect to see major updates to the tvOS smart platform that comes with Apple TV. Apple CEO Tim Cook himself made mention of this this past June when he stated that “you’ll be hearing a lot more about tvOS later this year”. This almost certainly was a reference to the presumably already planned unveiling of Apple TV’s 4K version in September.

While recent and now much more seriously confirmed leaks clearly show that the Apple TV 4K box will also support HDR for its 4K content (no newer 4K set-top box lacks HDR support), one issue that Apple still needs to resolve is the question of what deals it makes with which content providers for delivery of native 4K HDR content to the device. Apple itself is far from producing enough of its own native 4K HDR content any time soon, so what we can probably expect are 4K HDR movies being provided exclusively or at least directly to iTunes by studios working in partnership with Apple. However, this process might be slow when it comes to delivering enough UHD content to the set-top box in time, so we’ll likely also see content from services like Netflix, Vudu and maybe even Amazon or Hulu being available in the 4K Apple TV after its release.

tvOS streaming apps

As for details on pricing, we don’t expect the 4K Apple TV to be one of the cheaper ultra HD set-top boxes on the market when it does finally go on sale. We’re predicting a minimal price of $199. Even the existing Apple TV box with nothing more than simple 1080p support retails for between $149.00 to $199.00, depending on the exact model bought, and any one of these prices is almost absurdly steep considering the lack of 4K HDR support –the fully 4K HDR-capable Roku Ultra set-top box with excellent app support and one very strong smart TV interface, for example sells for just $105. Prices like these combined with outdated content support in the existing Apple TV certainly make the product’s steadily falling sales figures very understandable.

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