Apple TV 4K revealed with A12 Bionic chip and new Siri remote
Apple has been selling TV boxes for a long time, with occasional hardware and software refreshes that keep it competitive with similar products from Amazon, Roku, and Google. Today, Apple revealed a new Apple TV 4K model with both upgraded hardware and software.
The new Apple TV 4K is powered by the same A12 Bionic chip that powered Apple’s 2018 iPhone lineup, giving the new model “a significant boost in graphics performance, video decoding, and audio processing.” HDR, higher frame rates (Apple didn’t give a specific number), and Dolby Vision video are all supported. Other hardware features confirmed by Apple include Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) support, built-in Thread support, and HDMI 2.1.
Many other streaming boxes already support playing back HDR and Dolby Vision content, but Apple also allows an iPhone to function as a color calibration tool, which is definitely unique. This calibration tool uses the light sensor in the iPhone to adjust the color output of the Apple TV itself rather than the connected TV, which is an interesting approach.
The new Siri Remote has a directional pad that also functions as a touchpad. The outer ring supports a circular gesture that turns it into a jog control, which makes seeking in videos easier than before. There are also power and mute buttons for your TV, similar to the remotes that ship with most Roku and Amazon Fire TV devices. The remote’s microphone gives you access to Siri for controlling smart home devices, checking sports scores, and more.
Apple says it’s working with leading video providers worldwide to enable high frame rate HDR streaming content. If you own an iPhone 12 Pro, Apple says that you can AirPlay high frame rate Dolby Vision content to the new Apple TV 4K. Lastly, Apple says that Siri now works on Apple TV in Austria, Ireland, and New Zealand, joining the 13 other countries and regions that support Siri.
The Apple TV 4K will become available for pre-order on April 30th, with full retail availability starting in the second half of May “in more than 30 countries and regions.” It will cost $179 in the United States, and if you want to upgrade your existing Apple TV with the new remote, that will be available separately for $59.