Apple is finally ready to bring a new Apple TV product to market, according to a report from BuzzFeed News. The television companion device is long overdue for an upgrade, and Apple has some compelling changes in store.
The actual box is being revised to some small degree.
The chassis is expected to be slimmer, but more importantly it will be endowed with Apple's A8 processor and more internal storage. The current model, which dates back to 2012, relies on the ancient Apple A5 processor.
Apple overhauled the new Apple TV remote in a big way, too. It will feature a touchpad for controlling the Apple TV user interface, rather than the five-way directional button on the current remote. (Perhaps it will emulate the way the Apple TV Remote App works on the iPhone and iPad?)
Siri will be aboard the new Apple TV, along with a brand new operating system.
With Siri, Apple TV owners will be able to issue voice commands to control the entertainment box. (This is something Microsoft's XBox One console has offered for a long time.) The revised Apple TV operating system will offer full support for applications, and an associated App Store. Apple will also make a software developer kit available to app writers, say BuzzFeed's sources.
There's no information on what type of apps will run on the Apple TV, but the SDK will certainly open up the field for all sorts of creative efforts from developers. It's easy to imagine apps that work seamlessly between Apple's smartphone and tablet products and the refreshed Apple TV, such as games.
Apple's much-rumored TV service will not arrive with the revised Apple TV hardware.
Apple is believed to be forging contracts with video content providers in order to bring a subscription video service to consumers' living rooms. Those contracts haven't been locked down yet. The subscription video service may not appear until late 2015, if not early 2016.
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Some might wonder why Apple would debut the new Apple TV product without the associated subscription service. The answer is simple: Apple can't ignore the holiday shopping season. If the Apple TV hardware goes on sale in October, it could be a big hit with gift-givers, even if half the intended feature set isn't quite finished. Given the limitations of the current product, many consumers may be pleased enough to have access to Siri and apps ahead of the video subscription service's arrival.
When is all this happening? BuzzFeed says the Apple TV with Siri and the App Store will arrive with the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus at an event in September. The timing for the September event will fall after the Labor Day holiday.
Apple did not comment on BuzzFeed's report.