Apple's new Apple TV set-top box will start at $149 and will be available in late OctoberSan Fransisco: Apple's set-top box is catching up with such rivals as Roku and Amazon's Fire TV with the ability to install new apps on the device and to search for video with voice controls.Apple
San Fransisco: Apple's set-top box is catching up with such rivals as Roku and Amazon's Fire TV with the ability to install new apps on the device and to search for video with voice controls.
Apple has long insisted on controlling apps available on the device's home screen. In doing so, it can ensure that menus and keyboards look and feel the same, whether you're on Netflix or PBS.
But there have been many services unavailable on the home screen. To watch on the TV, viewers have had to launch those apps on an iPhone or iPad first and use a feature called AirPlay to get video on the TV through the home Wi-Fi network. Complicated.
Having app choices directly on the home screen make things simpler. To make sure everything runs smoothly, Apple created a new version of its mobile operating system called "tvOS."
The app store also allows for non-video services, such as games and music.
A new remote has a Siri microphone button for voice commands such as "show me some comedies." The new device can search through shows and movies available on a range of apps including Netflix, Hulu, HBO and Showtime.
The company will continue selling the existing model for $69, a price that had dropped from $99 in March.
The main Roku 3 and Amazon Fire TV devices cost about $100, though cheaper versions with fewer features are available — as low as $39 for the Amazon Fire TV Stick. Google also sells a Chromecast device for $35.
Maynard Um of Wells Fargo Securities has said that to justify a higher price, "Apple will have to provide significant innovation and functionality."
The new Apple TV has new capabilities such as voice controls and non-video apps, including games and shopping. Even video apps will have more capabilities, including baseball stats and the ability to watch two games at once side by side.
It remains to be seen whether consumers will consider those capabilities to be enough.
The new device was announced Wednesday at an Apple event in San Francisco.