As we edge ever closer to the next official Apple event — the revamped, online-only, Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) — more rumors concerning Apple’s next version of its Apple TV are surfacing.
This time, those rumors pertain to a new feature: Kids Mode, which will purportedly let parents select which apps and content kids get to use and set a maximum amount of screen time per session, according to a report from The Verifier.
In the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, it’s fair to say this feature — if it indeed launches — will be a welcome one. Also contained in the report is the suggestion that Apple will increase the amount of onboard storage to 256GB. The current maximum size of internal storage on the Apple TV 4K is 64GB.
In February, news broke that Target employees were seeing new Apple product listings in their store inventory systems. In addition to what might be a new set of Apple-branded over-ear headphones, a new listing for the Apple TV also appeared.
Listed simply as “Apple TV Gen X,” the leak prices the product at $180 — the same price as the current 32GB Apple TV 4K.
This revelation adds further credibility to a report from 9to5Mac earlier this year that the latest beta of tvOS 13.4 contains references to a new Apple TV model. It refers to “T1125,” a possible Apple-internal model designation for an Apple TV with a faster CPU to help with gaming, which Apple is betting heavily on with its 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 offering 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 them 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 could be convinced 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 of 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, then 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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