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The Internet service industry is a racket run by TV providers. Expect to experience frustrating evenings if you decide to cut the cord and rely solely on Apple TV. Watching one hour of Netflix an evening may subject you to bandwidth throttling.
Given the realities of Internet connection speeds, 4K video is still bleeding edge. Most content is not offered in 4K resolution. Other set-top boxes, such as the Nvidia Shield, already offer 4K. This does, in theory, give the device more longevity. When 4K is the norm, you will need to buy a new Apple TV. Eventually, the battle between streaming video and cable will play out, and bandwidth will no longer be held hostage.
Is Apple TV 3 Still Worth Buying?
Despite the lack of innovation and absence of critical features such as 4K video, optical audio output, HomeKit, Touch ID and ApplePay, I still think Apple TV 4 is worth buying. It is true that Amazon Fire TV and Android TV devices have offered most of these features for years. There are things I believe Apple TV will do better than their competitors, and they are important features. Many of the missing features, such as HomeKit and ApplePay, will likely come to tvOS in upcoming releases.
Gaming and apps are a huge part of tvOS. With an A8 processor and all of the gaming APIs, including Metal, I expect Apple TV to offer gaming that rivals most dedicated gaming consoles. Tech pundit “coroners” are already proclaiming the death of Xbox and Playstation.
Voice control with Siri is implemented better than the competition. Amazon hobbled their personal digital assistant in order to sell Amazon content. Siri can do some amazing things. The “what did she say” feature will be very useful. The fact that this is integrated with apps such as Apple Music make Apple TV’s Siri integration quite powerful. The new remote is impressive and one of the few aspects of Apple TV 4 that leapfrogs the competition.
The new Apple TV will be available in late October. It is one of the few Apple products that I will buy the day it is released. Despite my criticisms, I am a fan of Apple TV. I have used the product for four years and have been eagerly awaiting an update worth buying. The third generation model didn’t compel me to upgrade. This one does.
I do think it is a valid criticism that Apple isn’t as innovative as they used to be. I expected a lot more. I hope that Apple TV 4 users will enjoy a quality experience. Apple’s quality also seems to have waned over the past year. iOS 8 is the buggiest version to date. My Apple TV 2 reboots itself five times a night. If Apple TV 4 is a poor experience, it may be one of the last Apple products I buy. Still, I prefer to deal with the devil I know. Apple has been able to let their quality slip because their competitors are even worse. Perhaps the lack of innovation is a trade off. If less innovation means better quality, I will be satisfied with Apple TV 4.