Apple is expected to debut a refreshed version of the Apple TV at a planned Sept. 9 event. New details emerging about the device provide a clearer picture of the hardware and its potential cost -- it's gonna be expensive.
The revised TV box will cost less than $200, says 9to5Mac. Apple executives are still debating what the final price should be, and are targeting either $149 or $199. Those prices are significantly higher than the current Apple TV, which has been around since 2012.
The third-generation Apple TV initially sold for $100. Apple dropped the price of the box to $69 this past March. If Apple goes for the $149 price, the new television product will cost more than twice the outgoing model. That's a steep increase. The $199 price point is almost three times the cost.
As such, Apple will likely keep the third-generation Apple TV around as an entry-level option, according to 9to5Mac's sources. Whether or not the third-gen model will offer the same feature set as the new model is unknown, but don't get your hopes up.
Competing products are far less pricey. Google's Chromecast, for example, costs just $35. Roku's streaming box costs $99, but its streaming stick costs $39. The Amazon Fire TV Stick costs $34.
The new Apple TV is expected to look similar to the older model, but will be somewhat wider and a bit thicker. The current model strongly resembles a hockey puck.
The next-generation Apple TV will feature Apple's powerful A8 processor (found in the core of the iPhone 6, iPad Air 2, and iPod Touch 6th generation) and more internal storage. The remote is going to be brand new, as well. The Apple TV remote will ditch the five-way directional buttons in favor of a touchpad-based design. This could be where the bulk of the price increase comes in.
The new Apple TV isn't as much about the hardware as it is the software.
Siri and a new operating system will define the fourth-generation Apple TV. Owners will be able to talk to the box and issue voice commands to control it (like the XBox One, to a degree).
More importantly, the revised OS will support third-party applications and an application store. Apple is expected to release an SDK for developers soon after the Sept 9. event. It's easy to see games and other media apps becoming popular fodder for the Apple TV.
The new Apple TV is expected to arrive in October, but it won't include Apple's long-rumored TV service. Last we heard, Apple was still negotiating terms with video content providers, and the subscription service may not arrive until late 2015 or early 2016.
Apple will also show off new iPhones at the Sept. 9 event, and may reveal new iPads as well.