If you're firmly entrenched within the Apple ecosystem, an Apple TV with more modern feature support could be enough to keep you from jumping ship to a Roku or Fire TV.
Despite being one of the original streaming media players on the market, the Apple TV has been anything but forward-thinking in recent years. While other players focus on features and picture quality, the main thing the Apple TV has to offer is tight integration with the rest of the company’s ecosystem. A new model of the set-top box could be on the way, but so far it isn’t really looking like things are going to change all that much.
Apple is reportedly testing testing the fifth-generation model of the Apple TV, according to Bloomberg. Code-named J105, the latest model is said to finally bring support for 4K Ultra HD resolution, as well as “more vivid colors.” While this could mean High Dynamic Range (HDR), details are currently scarce.
Outside of a bump in resolution and possibly better color, the updated set-top box doesn’t seem to bring much new to the table. While this will be a welcome upgrade for Apple TV users who simply want a box that works better with their new TV, it likely won’t lead the Apple TV to wildly higher sales, nor does it fit with the lofty goals Apple reportedly had for the device originally.
Earlier this month, Apple hired Timothy Twerdahl,. former director and general manager of Amazon’s Fire TV unit. That the company is said to be testing the device means that Twerdahl couldn’t have had much influence over the design of the product. Whether the unit Apple is said to be working on will be enough to persuade customers to hold out for a future model that offers a major upgrade in functionality remains to be seen.
There are no firm details as to when this fifth-generation Apple TV could be available for purchase, but Bloomberg’s sources say it could arrive as soon as this year. Would the company be better served by shipping later and adding more features? Possibly, but considering that 4K was already gaining traction when the current-generation Apple TV launched, Apple may feel the pressure to get a more 4K-capable version out as soon as possible.