Apple’s Vision for The Future of Television


Nine years ago, Apple announced the Apple TV. Codenamed “iTV” at the time, it was Apple’s first foray into the living room. Since the release of the first Apple TV, Apple has been hard at work revising and improving its design and features. In 2010, Apple revealed the 2nd generation Apple TV, which featured the black, boxy design we have become familiar with. After this release, the set-top box has received little attention from Apple, with minor upgrades like 1080p video and eventually a price drop from $99 to $69.

This September, Apple announced a new Apple TV. Its physical appearance hasn’t changed much, with the only noticeable difference being an increase in height, but the new TV has plenty of software improvements.

When Apple CEO Tim Cook announced the 4th generation Apple TV, he emphasized that “the future of TV is apps.” This belief is evident in the new model. Its custom configuration of iOS, now called tvOS, is focused on delivering the best app experiences possible. It starts with the new Apple TV App Store, which hosts a variety of unique apps and games from developers. Apple TV has traditional video apps like YouTube and HBO, but it also has a plethora of unique experiences like Gilt’s shopping app and MLB’s At Bat app. Developing specifically for the television opens new doors for developers.

Another focus of the new Apple TV is the remote. A microphone at the top of the new remote allows for Siri integration into the Apple TV. By pressing a button and speaking into the Siri Remote, users can search a variety of streaming services for the exact content they want. Apple has also replaced the directional buttons of its old remote with a glass trackpad, making the TV easier to navigate.

Overall, the software of the new TV is smoother and more polished than that of its predecessor. From the beautiful timelapse screen savers to the new brighter user interface, the new TV looks and feels more complete than ever before.

Is this is the true future of television? In some ways, yes, but in others, not quite. Although the Apple TV works with sharp HD TVs up to 1920 by 1080 pixels in resolution, support for ultra-HD 4K screens has yet to be added. Considering that 4K televisions have been flooding the market and other streaming boxes like the Roku 4 have already introduced 4K support, this move seems ill-considered. The way video subscription services were managed on the TV is a bit clunky too. Although Apple was rumored to be making deals with networks to build their own proprietary streaming service, the new TV ships without it, leaving the user to sign into each app with its own login. Having to enter an Optimum or Verizon login into the TV for each app you use begins to feel tedious.

 Despite these drawbacks, the new Apple TV is still the best all-around streaming box you can buy today. It’s not quite the future of television, but it certainly comes close, and you won’t be disappointed if you decide to pick one up. The new Apple TV is available now, starting at $149.