Apple TV Upgrade Will Be Pricey - InformationWeek
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8/31/2015
03:35 PM
Eric Zeman
Eric Zeman
Commentary
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Apple TV Upgrade Will Be Pricey

A report suggests the latest version of Apple TV will cost much more than competing products. Will it be worth the price?

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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.

(Image: xefstock/iStockphoto)

(Image: xefstock/iStockphoto)

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).

[Read why the iPhone 6s could be a pretty big upgrade.]

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.

Eric is a freelance writer for InformationWeek specializing in mobile technologies. View Full Bio
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JasonW622
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JasonW622,
User Rank: Apprentice
9/3/2015 | 4:01:45 PM
Why Get Apple TV In The First Place?
Couldn't you just save a ton of money by switching to the Amazon TV Fire Stick? (hdtvreviewsite.com/amazon-fire-tv-stick-review/). You're basically getting something much better than the chromecast, roku, or apple TV for a much cheaper price, plus they keep coming out with shows that stream for Prime members at no cost, and these are popular shows as well.
mejiac
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mejiac,
User Rank: Ninja
9/1/2015 | 9:46:50 AM
Re: Mixed feelings
@Brian.Dean,

Excellent question...and thank you for your comment,

Indeed the concept of "Watching TV" has greatly evoled, and this has been lead with the shift in the way media is delivered. Thanks to "On Demand" and it's surrounding features, consumers are more in control of what they want to see and when, reason why services like Netflix strive.

Microsoft is definitely aware of this, since Windows 10 is very friendly towards this audience. I think things will continue to shift...but not sure what the path leads to.
Brian.Dean
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Brian.Dean,
User Rank: Ninja
9/1/2015 | 2:00:53 AM
Re: A Foot Into Apple's Ecosystem
Great point about App stores, App stores can be massive with millions of individual apps for instance, Apple store and Google's Play store. App stores can be device or environment specific such as, wearable or the IoT. The enterprise can have an app store dedicated towards productivity apps.

In all of these examples there are millions of processes and functions that a user or employee would find desirable. It will be interesting to see the types of apps that populate a TV app store.
Brian.Dean
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Brian.Dean,
User Rank: Ninja
9/1/2015 | 1:32:12 AM
Re: Mixed feelings
You have raised a few excellent points -- if a consumer requires converting their normal TV into a smart TV then, Google Chromecast, etc., seems like a good option.

It has been a long time since I have watched television. The PC and smartphone have taken over most of the limited responsibilities that television was responsible to fulfill. Hence, it has become difficult to define exactly the role and function of the TV during our current time. I wonder if it would be correct to say that the TV is a PC used in a group.
zerox203
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zerox203,
User Rank: Ninja
8/31/2015 | 9:17:16 PM
Re: A Foot Into Apple's Ecosystem
@jnskm,

"the new Apple TV might be part of Apple's strategy to get non-iPhone and/or non-Mac users to get a taste of Apple's Siri, and perhaps even the company's hardware+software+services eco-system."

Indeed. As a die-hard non-Apple user, I was actually quite surprised to see that the current price of the Apple TV was so low. Comparable or even less than other set top boxes in the same category, which is not Apple's trademark. Even the new price is not really that high. I'm pretty unhappy with my current streaming box, and at just $150 (but probably not that $200) Apple's 'just works' mantra sounds like it might be worth the premium to me for once. I doubt it will make me into an Apple church-goer, but hey, that's what they all said, right?
jnskm
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jnskm,
User Rank: Moderator
8/31/2015 | 4:11:18 PM
A Foot Into Apple's Ecosystem
The new Apple TV might be part of Apple's strategy to get non-iPhone and/or non-Mac users to get a taste of Apple's Siri, and perhaps even the company's hardware+software+services eco-system. If the new Apple TV comes with a set of great Apple TV apps (along with a dedicated app store) I can see many people getting hooked on those apps and wanting to experience something like that on an iPhone and/or Mac. And similar to Amazon's Echo, an on-demand Siri might be quite convenient, though I'd have some concerns about privacy.

Previous Apple TVs didn't feel like they came from the same mindset as iPhones; you couldn't do much with them and there were no apps. The sybiotic relationship that can be forged with the new Apple TV, iPhone, and Mac could be quite compelling. None of the other boxes like Google's Chromecast or Roku would be able to match the new Apple TV in how seemless the handoffs/interactions among other Apple devices. I think that, in addition to on-demand Siri and the Apple TV apps, might be worth the additional cost.
mejiac
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mejiac,
User Rank: Ninja
8/31/2015 | 4:10:43 PM
Mixed feelings
Excellent Article!!!

I have dedicated PCs for my kids (two of them running windows 10), have a Chromecast (which I love) and two Western Digital TVs.... so yes...I love taking my existing TVs and making them smart.

What I love about having the PCs connected to the TVs is being able to run apps that my kids like (Nick, Disney) so they are able to see the shows they love on demand.

Having the WD TV I'm able to view media that I download, aside from netflix. The Chromecast does a really nice job at streaming my music collection (I use Google Play)

Of all of the devices that I've mentioned, not one of them goes past the 100 dollar mark (the PCs I bought used nice I don't need high end processor, just enought to get by)... but still...for 200 dollares you can get the new ultra small PCs from Dell/HP....and those are full blown PCs running windows.

So to pay 200 (or near) for a standalone set top box, that is handcuffed to the Apple Store...I don't see the appeal.

I mean...unless Apple plans on developing there own service (which I doubt) I'm not sure where the value add is, unless is whatever the third party developers come up with. I will say this... if you're able to play mobile games from the app store on the big screen...that woudl be really COOL... so in that sense you're paying 200 dollars for a gaming machine.... that's not bad and it's well below the price point of a dedicated console.
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