Apple has finally announced a new version of Apple TV, which brings advanced Siri-powered voice search and 1080p Full HD video at 60fps to the table.
The new-look streaming TV platform comes with a snazzy new remote which acts as a Nintendo Wii-style game controller, a microphone, allowing you to bark commands at Siri as well as all of the typical controls you’d expect from a remote.
For the first time ever, the Apple TV remote also comes with a master volume control, which means you don’t have to have your main TV remote in the other hand.
As well as upping the Full HD frame rate, there’s a slew of other niceties that Apple’s added, namely improved search.
Taking more than few cues from Android TV, Roku and Amazon Fire TV, the search function of Apple TV mark 4 means you can search by actor and director as well as title. The search function promises to be super granular and specific, allowing you to comb every title that’s available on iTunes for even the smallest guest appearances of stars on TV shows.
Easily the best thing about the new Apple TV is a feature that’ll let you skip back fifteen seconds or so if you missed what a character said during a pivotal scene. Better still, if you tell Siri to do this, it’ll also temporarily engage the subtitles of the show to make sure you definitely don’t miss what was said.
Aside from that, there wasn’t much else to write home about during Apple’s latest big unveil, which was more about ushering in the latest iPhones – the iPhone 6S and the 6S Plus – and some new iPads.
There’s a few graphical bells and whistles in the form of animated movie covers and a slicker menu that borrows looks from the OS X El Capitan wardrobe and Chad Evans, senior vice president of business development for MLB Advanced Media, demonstrated how customers could quickly dip in and out of baseball game stats in between streaming live games.
It’s currently unclear if UK sports broadcasters will follow suit, but given the quality and quantity of content available on the various Sky Sports event and score centres and the BT Sport app, it’s hard to see how the new Apple TV box offers much else new for UK customers.
It was disappointing not to see support for 4K UItra HD touted, given that the new iPhones can record 4K video and that BT Sport is now streaming games in UHD. Right now, there doesn’t look like there’s much to get excited about other than a service that’s slightly more polished than that on offer from Android TV makers, Roku and Amazon.
UK prices and release dates for the new Apple TV box are TBC.