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Some tech writers were hoping for Touch ID with the new remote. This feature would require a much more sophisticated and costly remote. Touch ID is authenticated within the iPhone as an embedded system, using 64-bit processing. Bringing Touch ID to the Apple TV remote would involve much more than a fingerprint scanner. It’s more likely that your iPhone will be able to provide Touch ID authentication for your Apple TV in a future update.
Unlike Roku and the Nvidia Shield, the new Apple remote doesn’t offer a headphone jack for private listening. tvOS may support Bluetooth headphones, however, these are more expensive than the ear buds everyone has lying around the house.
Apple TV 4 Hardware
When I purchased my first Apple TV, the second generation model featured an A4 processor. This was the same processor used in the iPhone 4. It is capable of displaying 720p resolution on a flat screen TV. This device is still useful for streaming video. I still use it every day.
Apple continues the tradition of using iPhone components in its set-top box. The new Apple TV features the same 64-bit A8 processor used in the iPhone 6. This processor is a powerful beast that uses very little energy. In fact, Apple TV uses a fraction of the energy when compared to cable TV boxes.
The new, more powerful processor can do much more than stream video. Apple TV 4 owners will be able to use fully functional apps for the first time. Previous Apple TV channels offered minimal app capabilities. One could browse video collections, check sports scores and view the weather forecast. Now, Apple TV 4 users can play games, shop and use a variety of rich and powerful apps.
An IR receiver enables it to work with a broader range of controllers and devices. Apple TV 4 also features Bluetooth 4.0, providing a range of up to 300 feet. It features state of the art 802.11ac WiFi with MIMO. That’s great, but the bottleneck will likely be your Internet service provider.
The new WiFi implementation will help with range. It will also speed up connections between your local devices, if you still happen to use AirPlay. I only use AirPlay for Apple Music, out of necessity. The new Apple TV will include Apple Music, so AirPlay won’t be very useful, other than for screen sharing and Mac OS X multiple monitor configurations.
With 32 and 64 GBs of storage space, you probably won’t be downloading movies on an iPhone or Mac and streaming them via AirPlay.
Unlike other set-top boxes, Apple TV 4 offers no options for external storage. You will have to pay $50 more for the 64 GB model. Amazon Fire TV offers a USB port and supports inexpensive external storage.
Given that Apple TV 4 does not support 4K video, it may be wise to go for the cheaper model. When 4K becomes the norm, Apple TV 4 will be obsolete.
Apple TV 4 runs a new operating system — tvOS. Much like previous Apple TV operating systems, tvOS is based on iOS. tvOS goes far beyond the previous Apple TV operating system, offering full access to many iOS APIs. Developers will be able to use Metal, Game Center, CloudKit and several other APIs. Unfortunately, HomeKit is not available in the initial release. (continue…)