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We talked to Apple to break down why the new Apple TV 4K is more than just a streaming box

We talked to Apple to break down why the new Apple TV 4K is more than just a streaming box

(CNN) —  

There’s a new Apple TV 4K and Siri Distant in town. In addition to making an attempt out it out for a week, CNN Underscored was concept to be one of the first stores to chat with Apple about the refreshed Apple TV 4K.

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“We want to relate the easiest expertise for customers for all the stuff they savor to watch and we want to make it really rich for parents who are engaged with the Apple ecosystem,” says Tim Twerdahl, Apple’s vice chairman of product marketing for house and audio.

Nevertheless is this in fact the easiest streaming tool?


As we gleaned from our expertise, the new Apple TV 4K on its maintain isn’t an totally new product. Similar to the iPad Pro, it’s all internal hardware changes alongside a few new features. It delivers 4K resolution (something its predecessor did as nicely) nevertheless brings added red meat up for top-frame-rate voice, which is made that you can imagine by the new A12 chip. “Handing over that easiest viewing expertise at the TV is really what Apple TV is all about,” says Twerdahl. “We want to make obvious that whatever specs you care about, to accept the absolute easiest picture quality to have that most cinematic expertise to really relish all the amazing voice that’s out there.”

In our making an attempt out, the Apple TV 4K did point to voice in a very sharp and vibrant matter. Take into account, though, a lot of this is depending for your TV mannequin. With red meat up for 4K along with standards care for Dolby Vision, HDR and Dolby Atmos, Apple is making an attempt to offer a gamut of alternate choices. One new feature is the ability to shade balance your TV together with your iPhone, which we really feel is a great feature that allows you to accept more out of TV 4K and your TV. Peaceful, you’ll need an iPhone with Face ID in disclose to measure shade ranges of your TV and to adjust how the Apple TV 4K is presenting voice. Whilst you don’t need the new mannequin to take advantage of the colorimeter, the new mannequin is the key to high-frame-rate voice, though — we have been able to test this with one app, RedBull TV, and it does indeed broadcast at a larger frame rate. This way the voice appears to be like to be more realistic. The issue right here, though, is you’ll need a TV that helps it and more voice is wanted. Cherish 4K resolution, this is a plot of future-proofing your setup.

In addition to presenting the voice, the new A12 Bionic chip inner the Apple TV 4K is also accountable for powering tvOS and the apps you engage to download. By means of the App Store you can accept streaming products and services or games.

With the latter, the A12 Bionic aims to relate more vitality that builders can tap into. In our making an attempt out, games finish load faster and really feel a bit more dynamic. The gaming expertise is on par with that of an iPad Pro, and it is immersive. “Our focal point on gaming has been more just lately on arcade stuff, because we judge that that’s a great value for customers. There’s a large amount of voice in there,” says Twerdahl. “And we’ve finished a lot to make that expertise fantastic. Most notably, probably red meat up for all these different game controllers.”

The expertise of playing a game on Apple TV with a controller aids in the ease of selecting up a title. It’s also a bit more dynamic, thinking about there are haptics and motors constructed into the controllers. This way it affords more feedback over a connected iPhone and even the Siri Distant.

And with Apple Arcade, for $4.99 a month, you accept access to a plethora of titles. “It’s probably no longer designed to compete without delay with the Xboxes and PlayStations of the world,” says Twerdahl. “They carry something to the market that I judge is weird and great for really hardcore gamers.”


Apple TV has always lived in the better echelons of pricing. We named the previous Apple TV 4K “the upgrade engage” after making an attempt out a plethora of streaming units, as it was $80 more than our overall engage (Roku Ultra). Apple hasn’t finished considerable to carry that tag down, as it clean starts at $179 for the 32GB mannequin. “We judge there’s a large amount of value in this $179. After we talk about the easiest way to watch TV, I form of judge about it at three ranges,” Twerdahl says.

The first stage, according to Twerdahl: “Guaranteeing that we have the hardware specs to relate the absolute easiest quality expertise you can accept.” Arguably, this is the goal with any streamer. And while Apple affords the core viewing standards you’d examine at up to 4K resolution and works to upscale voice in real time, it also allows you to shade balance the panel, which did enhance the picture quality in our making an attempt out.

“The aspect of having all the voice of us want and making it easy to discover and relish,” Twerdahl names as the 2nd stage. That’s where the Siri distant is available in, as Apple’s virtual assistant can assist you discover voice and handle all your requests. You can be relate care for “Let’s watch ’The Care for Guru’” or more broad with a genre or relate film series examine of. The Apple TV app, which we’ll dive into below, serves as the central hub for instant voice and easy access for viewing. The greatest leg up that the Siri Distant has: It doesn’t just point you to acquire the voice you’re asking for, nevertheless actively hyperlinks to products and services that you’re already signed into to watch it. So if we ask for “Star Wars Rebels” this can pull up the card and take us into Disney+, since the Apple TV knows we have an account. That’s a step further than what Roku, Chromecast with Google TV or Fire TV will finish.

The third area Twerdahl walks us by is the ecosystem as “an area we continue to make investments really heavily in making great experiences across our merchandise. And that idea that in the occasion you have an iPhone, Apple TV is that considerable more mighty. No longer handiest can you tap to status it up, you can exercise it as a distant you can AirPlay from it.” What does that mean, exactly? If you make exercise of Apple units care for an iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch or Mac, the Apple TV 4K matches moral in. It’s similar to what we discussed when we took a nearer discover at how the Mac integrates with other Apple units, nevertheless falls back to the frequent thought of “better together.” It also cements the Apple TV 4K as a house hub of kinds within your Apple ecosystem.

“That’s what I judge really sets Apple TV 4K apart from everyone else is this vitality that allows us to have the easiest viewing expertise, and the deepest and richest ecosystem integration you can accept,” Twerdahl explains.

Similarly, as tvOS has acquired updates by the years, it’s moved Apple’s products and services to the spacious display. And right here we’re talking about Apple Track, TV+, Arcade, Health+ and Photos. They all now have a dedicated app icon and present you with easy access to them. And since you’re signed in with an Apple ID, it all syncs across units.

Health+ is an especially deep integration, as it pulls are residing data off of your Apple Watch while streaming a exercise on the TV. Twerdahl notes that “we brought together Apple TV hardware, this amazing carrier that is changing of us’s lives and created a custom data channel for Apple Watch to talk to Apple TV.” The Health+ integration is one that we’d care for to gape Apple re-create with other products and services, as it does build a dynamic twist on working out at house. It’s carrier across units for customers and teams working together inner Apple. Similarly, with Photos, you’ll gape the Apple TV 4K indicate reminiscences to take a discover back on regularly, especially as it takes over the main top window of the tvOS house display.

Pcitured here is the Nanoleaf Essentials Lightstrip, which can connect using Thread.


Pcitured right here is the Nanoleaf Essentials Lightstrip, which can connect the exercise of Thread.

Cherish the HomePod Mini, Apple is adding Thread connectivity into the Apple TV 4K. Cherish Bluetooth, Z-Wave or Zigbee, Thread is a new smart house connectivity standard. And, as Twerdahl explains, Apple believes Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and Thread are three key radios for the smart house. Specifically, with Thread, Twerdahl says, “It’s all about low vitality, cheaper mesh networking and the ability for lightbulb makers care for Nanoleaf to build Thread radios in those bulbs, and no longer have to have a separate hub to protect an eye on it all. Nevertheless let Apple TV or HomePod Mini be that hub.”

In our making an attempt out, the inclusion of Thread connectivity right here does make it somewhat easy to status up HomeKit-enabled units. We also hope that as Apple expands ways to accept Thread accessories online, it may perhaps carry more units into the fold with red meat up for HomeKit. At point to, the ecosystem is no longer as ubiquitous as Amazon’s Alexa or Google’s Home. It does offer security and peace of mind that isn’t readily available from the other two, though.

Since Apple launched its smart house ecosystem it’s been working to bolster it. What we’ve came across is that while there are masses of units with HomeKit, they don’t generally work with other ecosystems in the same model of a product. The perpetrator seemingly being the principles and requirements of playing within HomeKit.

Beforehand, the resolution for getting Thread was a HomePod Mini or a border router from a third-party accessory maker. Nevertheless Apple is making that a small easier by including the technology in the Apple TV 4K. Twerdahl sums it up by saying, “We want to make it as flexible as that you can imagine for folk to accept into HomeKit and form of Apple’s ogle of the smart house.”


And as our time with Tim Twerdahl began to race out, we wanted to ask him about the future of Apple TV and the potential units we may perhaps gape. Going off of the Apple TV 4K being priced at $179, we wanted to gape his thoughts about a cheaper Apple TV. Maybe even taking a page from Google’s or Roku’s e-book, delivering it in a streaming stick or dongle-care for capacity. While he wouldn’t answer it specifically, he did offer some insights, saying, “To us, we want to make obvious that we are always thinking about the value aspect of the equation, no longer just the tag point, moral? And if we continue to carry outsized value, as I imagine we finish, that’s what’s most important for us.”

It’s a very Apple approach, and we hope that the brand may perhaps eventually gather value in more than one offerings of the same product line. This is similar to how Apple affords the iPhone 12 and the 12 Mini and initially supplied a HomePod and a HomePod Mini. Either way, it’s clear that Apple isn’t leaving house entertainment anytime soon, and when it comes to the TV specifically, there’s a lot more to work on. For now, the new Apple TV 4K delivers on that value even at a larger tag and not using a concerns about a long runtime.

We talked to Apple to break down why the new Apple TV 4K is more than just a streaming box