Apple TV: perhaps the most beloved of Apple’s major platforms? Although Apple TV has been around for about as long as the iPhone – it was actually shown by Steve Jobs before the iPhone announcement, even though it was then called “iTV” – the set-top box has long seemed like an afterthought for company.
It has only recently increased as Apple has partnered with third-party TV makers and competitors to expand the footprint of the Apple TV + service, giving these devices features such as the Apple TV app and AirPlay 2.
Nevertheless, recent rumors suggest that an updated Apple TV may be waiting in the wings, but what improvements it may have, are mostly some who are guessing. But with all the changes in the streaming world and Apple̵
Streaming hardware is ubiquitous these days. Almost all TVs on the market have their own built-in app package for streaming popular services such as Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime, and many boast extensive app catalogs. Similarly, Apple faces stiff competition from other popular decoder vendors, including Amazon, Roku and Nvidia, which almost all offer devices that are significantly cheaper than Apple TV.
Streaming boxes have been commodified for better or worse. When you can watch Netflix on half a dozen different devices in your house, it’s hard to argue for buying one that starts at $ 149 (and it’s not even for the more expensive models that support 4K video).
Yes, Apple has positioned Apple TV as a premium device, and it offers features that other streaming boxes only put in their own high-end devices, if at all, such as support for the Dolby Vision standard. But many consumers are not even aware of these advanced standards – many have just reached the point of upgrading to 4K.
Which leaves Apple TV’s main selling point as its general integration with the Apple ecosystem. And since Apple now offers its streaming service on other manufacturers’ devices, the exclusivity of that synergy is reduced to fewer categories, including the App Store.
The game is over
While the App Store on Apple TV is surprisingly robust compared to many of its competitors in the set-top area, it pales in comparison to what is offered on Apple’s other major platforms. Apps for Apple TV mainly fall into two categories: watching video content and games.
Games is a place where Apple seems to have a competition thanks to the common features between tvOS and the gaming powerhouse which is iOS / iPadOS. And yet, games on Apple TV have never completely taken off. Even recent additions to support wireless gaming controls from Microsoft and Sony have not done much to make Apple TV a major player in the gaming console market.
Mostly because Apple is stuck between a rock and a hard place. While consoles from Microsoft, Sony and even Nintendo may be more expensive deals, they are first game-playing devices and streaming devices second. Apple TV is just the opposite, potentially placing it as the worst of both worlds: too expensive when stacked against most streaming boxes, and not game-focused enough to compete with the Xbox and PlayStation.
The other major weakness of the Apple TV series is the remote control. Much of Apple’s innovative design on Apple TV has gone to designing the Siri Remote, which has a trackpad and a microphone for use by the same virtual assistant.
Although these features are smart, the focus on them has made the remote control controversial, mainly because they have made it less functional for its primary purpose of being a remote control. For example, the symmetrical design of the Siri Remote means that it is far too easy to pick it upside down. And it’s so sleek and small compared to other remote controls that it’s way too easy to put in place – an expensive suggestion given that replacing it will cost you $ 59, for the price you can easily buy a brand new streaming box.
From reports, Apple is prepared to solve the problem of losing the remote control by adding support for Find My Location feature to the remote control, but it is without a doubt the least of the problems. For a company that puts such a premium on designing devices to users, the Siri Remote feels like a twist and a miss.
Despite the commodification of the streaming box market, it is clear that Apple continues to believe that Apple TV is still a concern – and given the profit margin, it will probably pull down on the decoder boxes, it is difficult to argue. Advanced 4K models start at $ 179, with a $ 199 version with 64GB of storage. What are you doing? need 64 GB storage for? Apple says that if you play a lot of games or download a lot of apps, but talk like someone who has downloaded many of both in the last few years, I have never even come close to filling 16 GB. (And I have experienced very few cases of users feeling that the 16 GB model did not suit their needs.)
None of this is to say that Apple TV is not an impressive piece of hardware when it comes to streaming. But it is certainly a niche market: a fancy sports car in a world full of sensible sedans. Sure, people can keep buying them, but very few people really need one, and finally, for most, practical use will trump luxury.