Keen-eyed observers have noted that the latest beta of tvOS 13.4 contains references to a new hardware model known as “T1125,” as noted by 9to5Mac. The speculation is that this is an Apple-internal code for the next Apple TV model, one that could possess a faster CPU to help with gaming, which Apple is betting heavily on with its new-ish Apple Arcade subscription service.
The timing would be right for such a move. Google’s Stadia and Nvidia’s GeForce Now have recently launched these two companies into the cloud-based gaming arena, aimed at those who want to break from the traditional console or PC-based experience. With subscription prices that run neck-and-neck with Apple Arcade, they’re both in a position to steal gamers — and revenue — from Apple.
A new, more powerful Apple TV 4K, perhaps bundled with a dedicated gaming controller, would let Apple Arcade developers build more immersive experiences, which would help Apple expand its offerings to better compete with Google and Nvidia.
Of course, we’ve seen plenty of rumors around new Apple TV hardware in the past. So far, none of these have panned out. In 2018, for instance, there was talk of the company starting to sell a streaming stick version of Apple TV.
We didn’t think an Apple TV Stick was very likely back then (and still may not be, given the company’s hardware history), but Apple has since gone all-in on its services strategy — including spending big bucks on its Netflix competitor, Apple TV+. With myriad services, including Apple TV+, Apple Arcade, Apple News, and Apple Music (and of course movies and TV show rentals and purchases), we open to being persuaded that a lower-cost stick device is at least worthy of Apple’s consideration.
After all, Roku, Amazon, and others don’t make money off their hardware, but off the services they proffer.
What’s more, now that Apple is willing to put its Apple TV app, HomeKit, and AirPlay 2 on competitive platforms like Roku, Amazon Fire TV, LG and Samsung smart TVs, and others, why not grab a chunk of that space for itself?
Still, as logical as such a move might be, Apple’s track record suggests that it’s still just as obsessed with creating beautifully designed — and expensive — devices as ever. As such, it’s probably far more likely that if and when this mysterious T1125 appears in the real world it will be a better, more powerful, and still-pricey update of the current Apple TV 4K.
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