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Apple unveiled the new Apple TV 4, featuring Siri integration, tvOS, a new remote and an App Store. This article examines the new features and how the set-top box compares to other streaming TV devices.
Remember when Apple used to innovate? As the company grows, they are becoming a large, latent organization. The new Apple is now only part of the evolution of technology. They are no longer leading disruptive technological revolutions, like the iPhone.
This isn’t because Steve Jobs passed away. This isn’t because Apple can’t hire talented people. They hire the cream of the crop. As organizations grow, they become more latent. There are too many layers of organization. Coordination and communication become problematic and passing the buck is easier.
Apple was much smaller when they created the first iPhone, iPad and Apple TV. Now they only seem capable of copying others and putting a cherry on top. I still like Apple products for their durability, performance and stability. I find their products to be more refined. They put together amazing content deals with key players like HBO and Showtime. They just don’t blow me away with innovation anymore.
Apple TV 4 is not revolutionary. It is evolutionary. It borrows features from Amazon Fire TV and Android TV, only to offer minor improvements. I bought my first Apple TV four years ago, and have been anticipating a new Apple TV for years. I am underwhelmed with Apple TV 4. I expected more. I will upgrade to the new model, but it is another “me too” product from Cupertino. I remember when they used to innovate and disrupt. Corporations like Amazon and Google deserve a lot of credit for shaping Apple TV 4. Apple TV 4 offers minor improvements on competitors’ products, but also lacks some functionality.
The New Apple TV 4 Remote
The remote is the most exciting Apple TV 4 feature. It borrows ideas from Amazon Fire TV and Android TV remotes. Most notably, users can press the microphone button to launch Siri. Other streaming devices have offered this functionality for years. Apple’s implementation is more open than Amazon’s, allowing Siri to search non-Apple content providers such as Netflix, Hulu and HBO.
Apple TV’s new remote innovates by introducing a track pad and motion sensors. This makes for an excellent gaming controller. Other set-top boxes offer remotes with gaming capabilities. These can only play simple games. For the most part, you really need to buy gaming controllers. The Nvidia Shield is a notable exception. It comes with a gaming controller, however, the smaller remote is not included.
I still admire that Apple provides decent value in their products. If you get an Apple TV 4, you probably won’t need to buy a third-party game controller. You can also use an iPhone, iPad or iPod touch as a game controller. This is great for customers and game developers. Everyone who buys the new Apple TV 4 will be able to play sophisticated games without buying more gear.
The new remote is rechargeable (lightning connector) and can control your TV and audio system’s power and volume using HDMI CEC. The remote communicates with Apple TV using Bluetooth 4.0. This means you will no longer have to point the remote at your Apple TV box. Bluetooth 4.0 offers a range of up to 300 feet.
You can place your Apple TV out of sight or operate it from another room. I wouldn’t recommend putting it in a tight enclosure, as it may hamper WiFi connectivity. The device also needs circulating air to keep it cool. (continue…)