In 2019, Cupertino introduced its Apple TV+ platform and brought Apple TV apps to smart televisions, Roku, Fire TV, and other third-party devices for the first time. The company's expected to circle back around to its original "hobby device" in 2020 and release a sixth-generation Apple TV before the end of the year. What will the Apple TV 2020 look like? Here's what we know so far.
The short list
- Release date: Before the end of 2020 (unconfirmed)
- Included: New processor, improved Siri Remote
- Price: The current Apple TV 4K starts at $179. One would expect similar pricing on the newer model.
The fifth-generation Apple TV was announced in September 2017. Named Apple TV 4K, the device supports 2160p output, HDR10, Dolby Vision, and includes an Apple A10X Fusion processor that supports HEVC hardware decoding. With tvOS 12 released in 2018, Dolby Atmos support was added.
Alongside the Apple TV 4K, the iPhone maker still sells the less expensive Apple TV HD, which was initially released in 2015. The fourth-generation Apple TV was the first to support tvOS and include an App Store. It features a 64-bit Apple A8 processor and offers support for Dolby Digital Plus audio.
With the newest Apple set-top box now three-years-old, the time has now come for the company to reveal the latest model.
What to expect
Most of the Apple rumors in recent months have centered on the upcoming iPhone 12 series with barely a passing mention on what the company has in store for the Apple TV 2020. Most likely, the device will feature a better processor and a new Siri remote. The latter has often been criticized for being too small and cumbersome to use.
Beyond this, little else is known about the device, including whether it will look different than the two previous models which share a similar design.
tvOS doesn't give much away
In 2020, Apple made significant changes to both macOS and iOS. However, the upcoming tvOS 14 update offers very little in terms of new features.
Within the new update, you'll find multi-user Apple Arcade support, 4K video sharing in the Photos app, and new HomeKit integration and Home View. The update also includes AirPods audio sharing, PiP across all content, Xbox Elite 2 and Xbox Adaptive Controller support, YouTube in 4K, plus other minor enhancements.
No doubt, a speedier processor on the Apple TV 2020 would enhance many of these new features. And yet, that certainly wouldn't be enough to convince current Apple Watch owners to switch to a new model.
Looking beyond 2%
A recent survey from Strategy Analytics shows that Apple TV and tvOS represent just two percent of the streaming device market. The market leaders are all smart television providers, including Samsung, Sony, and LG.
Cupertino understands the future of Apple TV might not be a physical device, but rather an Apple TV app that works across multiple platforms. With that being said, I'm fairly certain the company hasn't yet decided to throw in the towel on the physical device, although its long-term future is uncertain.
Competing directly with the upcoming PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X, plus the popular Nintendo Switch, would be a significant challenge. And yet, pivoting the physical Apple TV to more of a gaming console, with the existing TV-based offerings still in place, might best way to move it beyond a two-percent market share.
The Apple TV 2020 could be announced as early as Tuesday, September 15, when the company holds its latest special event. Otherwise, look for the device to make its debut later in the year.
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Bryan M. Wolfe has written about technology for over a decade on various websites, including TechRadar, AppAdvice, and many more. Before this, he worked in the technology field across different industries, including healthcare and education. He’s currently iMore’s lead on all things Mac and macOS, although he also loves covering iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch. Bryan enjoys watching his favorite sports teams, traveling, and driving around his teenage daughter to her latest stage show, audition, or school event in his spare time. He also keeps busy walking his black and white cocker spaniel, Izzy, and trying new coffees and liquid grapes.