Signs indicate Apple is prepping a new Apple TV. Here's how Apple can make its media player a winner.
6. Apple TV soon could include a built-in TV tuner. Unlike many competitors, Apple TV cannot control TV stations. 9to5mac's aforementioned report said this could change following an upcoming hardware refresh, which will allegedly deliver Apple TVs that can connect to cable boxes. According to the rumor, TV content will be delivered in an Apple-designed navigational UI. If Apple were to somehow manufacture a way for users to order TV stations a la carte, that would be even better, although it's unlikely to happen any time soon. It's also not clear if Apple TV will include any DVR functionality if a TV tuner is integrated.
7. Apple TV needs a native browser. Apple TV allows users to easily mirror content from an iOS or OS X device on their television screen. Enabling the feature is quick and simple, but compared to what competing products offer, it's also a roundabout way to access the web through your TV. A native Safari browser would streamline matters. If Apple were to introduce a Siri-equipped version with voice navigation, so much the better.
8. The next Apple TV could double as a wireless router. 9to5mac's report suggests the next Apple TV might include an integrated 802.11ac wireless router, which would further streamline what is already a fairly simple and elegant product. Apple TV doesn't currently give users access to any local storage, so it's anyone guess whether the next Apple TV might also gain back-up functions found in Apple's AirPort Time Capsule -- but they would be a welcome addition.
9. Apple could launch an actual television. Apple fans have been tempted by the promise of a full-fledged Apple TV set for so long, some of them won't accept anything less. Walter Isaacson hinted at the possibility in his biography of Steve Jobs, and supply chain reports over the last year have indicated Apple still plans to bring such a device to market. But even though a Siri-enabled, motion-sensing Apple TV set with 4K resolution would surely be drool-inducing, one has to wonder if the company perceives enough upside to actually pull the trigger. Television makers don't usually reap particularly appealing profit margins, and higher-than-average margins are a big reason Apple earns more money than its competitors, despite sometimes posting lesser market shares. If Apple believes it can shake up the TV market with the same ferocity it did smartphones, then perhaps a TV set is in the cards. Otherwise, Apple might simply evolve its current model.
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