Among the things expected to be announced at Apple’s World Wide Developer Conference, a re-vamped Apple TV is high up on the list. Apple has already let slip that information about iOS 9 and the Mac operating system OS X will be distributed through the conference, but the TV streaming device is also likely to be updated too.
Apple TV is a media streaming box that connects to a television and allows the user to watch movies, TV shows, sports games and listen to music. It also connects via AirPlay to allow for viewing of photos and videos from iPhones, iPads and Mac computers on a TV screen.
The current Apple TV was released in 2012 and the hardware inside is now well outdated, having been outdone by rivals, although the software has had many changes compared to the version from three years ago. Apple has also dropped the price of the current model, giving rise to rumours that it is trying to shift stock of the model in order to make room for a replacement.
A recent report in the New York Times claims to have information from an Apple employee who has been briefed on the product. The source has reportedly revealed a that new Apple TV version will be launched and it will have a new remote control featuring a small touchpad.
The remote design that currently comes with the third generation box has been used for much longer but is a favourite for many. The lightweight, minimalist design makes it easy to use and Apple had not considered it in need of an upgrade, until now.
The new Apple TV remote is thought to be thicker and wider in order to fit the touchpad onto the surface but will still have essentially the same metal design. The original remote was created in 2007 as Apple thought that conventional controls were too complicated, and therefore any upgrades will likely be very simplistic in design too. The remote that shipped with the first ever model of the Apple TV waswhite plastic, but subsequent models have seen a silver metal remote with only a few changes made to the buttons.
The size difference between the old and new designs is one that has caused some debate, as some say they love the thin Apple TV remote while other say it’s too small and gets lost easily. The new design is thought to be more the size of the remote that comes with the Amazon Echo wireless speaker and features two buttons along with the touchpad.
According to the New York Times, the Apple TV remote has featured in courses for Apple’s employee training program, named Apple University. One of the courses compares Google TV’s remote which has 78 buttons with the Apple TV remote and its three buttons. This course aimed to show that the product designers started with an initial idea but debated and stripped it back until they were left with a design that was usable and easy to understand.
Apple is also thought to be working on a TV streaming service and has been in talks with broadcasting companies. The Apple TV remote redesign comes at the same time, and so may play into that as well as the large number of apps and options available now available for the Apple TV. Instead of adding lots of new buttons, Apple has reportedly decided to plump for the touchpad which allows users to ‘scroll around’ and may offer increased functionality through new software.
Apple has reportedly been working on an upgrade for the Apple TV as well as its remote, which will feature a new App Store, voice commands through Siri and increased storage capacity. Apple’s rumoured new TV streaming service will be available through the Apple TV as well as iPhone and iPad, and is expected to be announced alongside the new Apple TV and remote at the World Wide Developers Conference in June. More rumours, speculation and leaks are likely to surface before the end of this month and we may be closer to finding out what Apple has up its sleeves for its updated software and products.