After what seems like years of rumors and dashed expectations, Apple has finally announced a new Apple TV at its Spring Loaded Event today.
Apple is still providing additional details at its live event right now and we’ll update this story as all of the features, pricing, and availability are announced.
Apple released the current Apple TV 4K in 2017, with features that — at the time — helped to justify its high price of $180 for the 32Gb version and $200 for the 64Gb version.
Those features included support for Dolby Labs’ version of HDR, known as Dolby Vision, as well as Dolby Atmos, the company’s immersive, 3D surround sound technology.
The Apple TV 4K’s most controversial feature was the Siri remote, a thin, rechargeable, voice-capable device that uses a touchpad instead of buttons for navigation. Some folks really liked the touchpad, while others despised it so much that they sought traditional alternatives from third-party manufacturers.
Over the past year or so, rumors began to emerge that Apple was readying a replacement for the Apple TV and that the new device would include a much more powerful processor that would let it run more sophisticated games from Apple Arcade, possibly giving Apple’s little black box console-level graphics.
It was also observed that even though the current device supports many audio and video formats, it lacks HDMI 2.1 support, something that can’t be changed with a simple software update. Adding HDMI 2.1 would be a must if the Apple TV is to live up to these gaming expectations, as it enables variable refresh rate (VRR), auto low-latency mode (ALLM), and 4K at 120Hz — all of which are considered must-haves by serious gamers.
Other industry watchers have suggested the new version could feature better integration with Apple’s AirPods Pro and AirPods Max, both of which can take advantage of spatial audio when used with an iPhone or iPad.