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Specs, pricing, design of the new Apple TV unveiled ahead of launch

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Image used with permission by copyright holder
Most reports about the anticipated new Apple TV over the past few months have simply retreaded old information — practically a dozen sources have confirmed that, indeed, it won’t launch with Apple’s beleaguered TV subscription service, and that it’ll ship with a new Bluetooth remote and App Store support. Until now, though, the most pertinent details about the hardware — storage capacity, and supported resolutions, to name a few — remained safely locked away within Apple’s Cupertino HQ. But thanks to a few impeccably well-placed moles at 9to5Mac, we’ve now got a much clearer picture of just what form the new Apple TV will take.

The sources say the new Apple TV, which is set to be unveiled at an event on September 9 and go on sale in October, will look physically much like its predecessors. It’ll be constructed mostly of plastic in order to avoid blocking wireless signals, and stands a bit “taller” and “thicker” than previous-generation Apple TVs due to some souped up specs. The new shape’s apparently to accommodate both the upgraded storage capacity — 8GB up to 16GB, depending on the model — and the greater heat output of its A8 processor, the same chip that powers the iPhone 6.

Despite the boost in processing power, the new Apple TV reportedly won’t support 4K video streaming. The silicon’s likely at fault for the omission — while the A8’s powerful in its own right, it lacks the graphics punch of its newer, A8X sibling (found in the iPad Air 2). But that doesn’t make the omission any less unfortunate — services like Amazon and Netflix have been streaming UHD content since December, and Apple’s own upcoming iPhones are expected to support 4K recording.

Despite the new Apple TV’s increased footprint, the refreshed hardware reportedly won’t pack any ports beyond those found on the third-generation Apple TV, which includes a power plug, standard HDMI and Ethernet ports, an optical output, and a USB port. But the bundled remote’s set to receive big upgrades. It senses gestures, as previously reported, and according to 9to5Mac is made of a dark grey metal material. It also features a volume rocker, and sports dedicated buttons for Siri and Home controls (as part of Apple’s Homekit) beneath a touch-sensitive navigation pad.

That new Siri button will come in handy. 9to5Mac reports that Apple TV will support system-wide search as part of iOS 9’s Proactive feature. When Apple flips the server-side switch, you’ll be able to search across apps and streaming services for movies, actors, music, and more.

What’s it all going to cost? That depends, apparently. We already knew the device would be priced above its predecessors, reportedly costing between $150 and $200. But the new report claims Apple’s considering releasing two models — a base, 8GB Apple TV and higher-capacity 16GB box for $149 and $199, respectively. Alternatively, the company may release the 16GB model alone for $149. That storage capacity may not sound like much, but company engineers reportedly reasoned that iOS 9’s app compression features will make up for the reduced capacity.

According to the report, Apple still hasn’t made a decision regarding pricing. Thankfully, though, it won’t take long to find out. Mark your calendar for September 9.

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Kyle Wiggers
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Kyle Wiggers is a writer, Web designer, and podcaster with an acute interest in all things tech. When not reviewing gadgets…
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