New Apple TV Adds Siri Functionality & Proves the Company Still Hates Buttons
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:
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.
Here are the specs:
- Siri Integrated
- New Remote with Touch Surface
- Power/HDMI/Ethernet Ports
- Availability: October
- Price: $150 for 32GB / $200 for 64GB
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.