September 9, 2015

New Apple TV Adds Siri Functionality & Proves the Company Still Hates Buttons

Apple TV 2015
Apple TV has added the functionality of Siri and a brand new touch remote.

Here's a look at the new Apple TV, which has a new interface and a completely new operating system that is based on iOS:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wGe66lSeSXg

By bringing in the power of Siri, Apple wants you to talk to your TV. Much more than that, though, Siri lets you search for very specific items. For example, you can find the cameo of a major actor in a TV series, or search for a specific actor playing a certain kind of role. One of the examples they showed during the keynote was finding Edward Norton's appearance in the TV show Modern Family. They want to make it easier to find exactly what you're looking for, and search for it in whatever way you want just by talking to the box. Now, in practice, how well this works is an entirely different question, but certainly it should improve over time even if it's not great at first. 

They've also got a new remote, that should make it faster to scroll through what you want. The previous Apple TV remote isn't exactly a work of engineering genius, but it got the job done — sort of. This new remote includes a touch surface, so Apple can once again exclude as many buttons as possible. Unless I've missed it, Apple doesn't have a full remote app for the iPhone or iPad, which would truly help in terms of having a customizable remote depending on the situation. The lack of buttons isn't the biggest deal, but as Apple starts to move into more live TV, being able to accurately rewind and fast forward could get tricky or annoying just with the touch remote.

Apple TV 2015 Specs 1

Here are the specs:

  • Siri Integrated
  • New Remote with Touch Surface
  • Power/HDMI/Ethernet Ports
  • Availability: October
  • Price: $150 for 32GB / $200 for 64GB
Apple TV 2015 Specs 2

Thankfully they didn't remove the ethernet port, as there are many places and rooms that can't get the best WiFi, and there's nothing worse than low-quality video on a big screen. Unfortunately, one of the big pieces that's missing here is 4K. We may see it in the next generation, but one of the places Apple truly could have innovated is with 4K videos and 4K and higher resolution photos. It's possible that they just don't see the market yet, and they'd rather wait until there is more content and TVs out there (potentially their own?). We will probably see 4K on many other devices and boxes first, with Apple following suit later with some tweaks of their own.

The last big part of the show was a huge push with video games. Since the remote is touch, you can use it to do all sorts of nifty things, including play video games. It will be interesting to see where that goes, and how far Apple ventures into the video game market. At the moment it seems like they aren't doing a full-court press, but one thing is definitely clear: they want to be your only source of home entertainment — so we will see how that develops down the road. The new Apple TV will be available to order in October.     

Your Comment

6 Comments

Yup, you missed it. Apple has had a dedicated iPhone remote app for the Apple TV with touch-screen control for as long as I can remember (I downloaded it when I got my first 2nd Gen Apple TV).

The other feature in the new remote that you may have missed is the gyro sensor that comes in handy when playing video games. You can now control Apple TV apps by swinging the remote around like a Wii controller.

September 9, 2015 at 7:03PM

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Ryan Toyota
Graphic Designer / Typographer / Video Editor
1179

Couldn't agree more - the lack of 4K gives me no reason to toss my 2 current AppleTV's and get "apps". Sorry Apple, you blew it on this one - the future isn't apps - at least not without UHD!

September 9, 2015 at 9:24PM

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Lance Bachelder
Writer/Director/Editor
323

No HDMI 2.0a
No 4K
No HDR
No Rec.2020
Let's hope in next year release.

September 10, 2015 at 10:55AM

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i love you apple but get out of here w these small ass hard drives. We want 4k media player with 6tb drive... not 64gb.. come one wdtv hub. Hook us up!!!

September 10, 2015 at 12:23PM

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Kyle Lamar
Director Producer DP
1034

I dont' think the internal storage is for any video content. It is just for apps. Video is still streamed; either from other Apple devices (Macs, iPads, iPhones, iPods), or from online content providers.

As it is, the UHD TV market is in the same place HDTV was some 15 years ago. Back then, many people were bamboozled by sales guys into buying the new $10k flat-screen plasma HDTVs, even though almost no HD content was available. As recently as 2006, a survey found that over 80% of HDTV owners had their HDTV connected to an analogue, SD cable signal, with the image stretched to fill the display (!!??). And vast majority of those believed they were watching HD!!

Well, we are in the same place with 4k today; majority of those who buy $1,5k UHD TVs are thrilled by the image quality of their TV, clueless about the fact that all the content they are watching is still in HD (and a lot of it 720p!). The difference between SD and HD was quite easy to notice; the difference between UHD and HD, not so easy, unless you have 70" display.

Apple had a choice: either make a cheaper device with HD output, or make a more expensive one with UHD output, so that 1% of people out there, who have UHD TVs, AND who know how to get content on them, AND who can tell the difference (i.e. whose TV screen is over 70" big) can get the most out of it. Apple chose to make it cheaper, for the other 99%. Can't blame them...

September 10, 2015 at 5:20PM, Edited September 10, 5:21PM

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I was a bit worried as I've only recently bought the original apple TV box, but in all honesty, without 4K it's a big resounding "MEH". Especially strange considering how they have released the iPhone 6s with 4K video, but no real way or solution for viewing it back unless you own a 5K imac. Would have loved to be able to stream 4K iphone 6s video to my 4K TV at home.

...Come back again Apple when you have something worth my money.

September 11, 2015 at 5:29AM

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Matt Carter
VFX Artist / Director / DP / Writer / Composer / Alexa Owner
582