Apple, as expected, used its media event Wednesday to introduce a new Apple TV device that will feature a new touch- and voice-based remote.
The new remote includes a glass-base touch interface across the top and support for Siri, enabling sers to search across apps and make them appear on a single screen. Early on, the remote will search across and present results across the video libraries of iTunes, Netflix, Showtime, HBO and Hulu, with more to be added later. The new remote communicates with the Apple TV via Bluetooth (so it doesn't require direct line-of-sight) and is designed to last three months on a single charge, according to Apple.
“It really is the golden age of television,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said. “As important as TV is, the TV experience itself hasn’t changed that much in decades…Today we’re going to do something about that.”
The new Apple TV, which connects via WiFi, Ethernet and HDMI, will also feature a revamped interface built on a new operating system, called tvOS, that is based on iOS but optimized for the new TV-connected platform. The new Apple TV will be being paired with an App Store featuring a library of games, access to the new Apple Music service and linkages to the customer’s iTunes music library. Netflix, Hulu and HBO are among the TV partners that have built fresh UIs/apps for new Apple TV platform.
MLB.com’s Chad Evans joined the stage go demo a new MLB.tv app for Apple TV that allows users to split the screen to watch two games at once and call up in-game stats. He said MLB.tv on the new Apple TV will support “full” HD video and, for the first time, stream at 60 frames per second. MLBAM, he said, is working on a version for the National Hockey League that will come out next year.
"Our TV vision is simple and provacative," Cook said. "We believe the future of television is apps.”
Apple’s Eddy Cue said the new Apple TV will come in two models – a 32 GB version for $149 and a 64 GB model for $199 – and will become available in late October in 80 countries, and expand to more than 100 by the end of the year. The new devices will join the current-gen Apple TV, which sells for $69.
Apple, which has shipped more than 25 million Apple TV units, is launching the new models as it looks to regain the pole position against over-the-top streaming device rivals. According to Parks Associates, Roku led the way with 34% of the streaming device market in 2014, followed by the Google Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV and the Apple TV. Apple and its peers are also contending with Android TV, Google's new OS for smart TVs, streamers and other connected TV devices.
The Apple TV has been a popular platform for authenticated TV Everywhere services. According to a new report from Adobe, Apple devices, including Macs, iPhones and iPads, accounted for about 61% of TVE viewing as of the second quarter of 2015.