Not surprisingly, given the recent leaks and rumours – it’s all about the apps and a new controller. While Apple’s Eddie Cue, during today’s event talked up some speeds and feeds – the big news is the new Apple TV’s controller will give us lots of new ways to access content and, for the first time, play games via the Apple TV.
The new controller, called the Siri remote – connects over Bluetooth and is recharged using the Lightning connector – that will be handy as having an extra charging station for your iPhone or iPad in the lounge won’t go astray.
“There has been so much innovation in entertainment and programming through iOS apps, we want to bring that same excitement to the television,” said Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Internet Software and Services. “Apps make the TV experience even more compelling for viewers and we think apps represent the future of TV.”
The new Siri Remote simplifies how you select, scroll and navigate through your content while bringing unique interactivity to the new Apple TV by using a glass touch surface that handles both small, accurate movements as well as big, sweeping ones. Adding touch to Apple TV creates a natural, connected experience, even if the TV screen is on the other side of the room.
Developers can take advantage of the built-in accelerometer and gyroscope, and the touch surface on the Siri Remote to create games and other app experiences that have never been seen on TV before.
tvOS is the new operating system for Apple TV, and the tvOS SDK provides tools and APIs for developers to create amazing experiences for the lounge room in the same way they created a global app phenomenon for iPhone and iPad. The new, more powerful Apple TV features the Apple-designed A8 chip for even better performance, so developers can build engaging games and custom content apps for the TV. tvOS supports key iOS technologies including Metal, for detailed graphics, complex visual effects and Game Center, to play and share games with friends.
With Siri, you can use your voice to search TV shows and movies by title, genre, cast, crew, rating or popularity, making it easy to say things like “Show me New Girl,” “Find the best funny movies from the ‘80s,” “Find movies with Jason Bateman” and “Find popular TV shows for kids.” Apple TV will search iTunes and Netflix, displaying all the ways the resulting TV shows and movies can be played. Siri also offers playback control and on-screen navigation, as well as quick access to stock and weather information.
Interestingly, the search functions work across all the services you use via the Apple TV. So, searching for Batman, for example, may pull up results from your iTunes library, the iTunes store, Netflix and other streaming services.
Local storage is also back with 32GB and 64GB options, so you can store content on the Apple TV.
There’s no word yet on local pricing but with US pricing at US$149 and US$199 for the 32GB and 64GB units respectively, we’re thinking something around the $199 and $249 mark won’t be far off. The current Apple TV remains available, but will likely drop in price we expect.