Apple TV 4K rumor roundup: Everything you need to know

Apple TV — in all its glossy, round-rect glory — is due for an update. I don't know if you've noticed, but any time an Apple product is due for an update, the rumors start to fly! Will the next Apple TV be offered in white? Will it feature a "Siri speaker"? Will the updates be "modest"? This article seeks to catch those flying rumors as they soar across the internet and store them for you here in a single location. We'll regularly update this article with new info as it appears, so be sure to check back regularly!

September 11, 2017: Apple TV 4K Siri remote could feature haptic feedback

Though we're still not sure if the Siri remote will be fully revamped or if this is just an added feature, developer Guilherme Rambo tweeted an image from golden master software that was leaked over the weekend that suggested the new remote will have haptic feedback (i.e. tactile feedback that lets users know a tap or button-press has been registered):

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September 11, 2017: Apple TV 4K will run on a triple core Apple A10(X) Fusion processor

More mining has been done on the iOS 11 GM firmware leak, this time concerning the Apple TV 4K's processor:

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That's an incredible amount of power for a TV box. Enough to not only play 4K, but play it at 60 fps. Maybe more?

September 9, 2017: iOS 11 GM firmware leak confirms fifth-generation Apple TV 4K

The recently leaked supposed Gold Master version of iOS 11 has been providing us with a lot of evidence to support many of the rumors we've been following for the past year. Developer Steven Stroughton-Smith has been a busy beaver, sifting through the coding and reporting what he's found. This time, it's clear evidence that an Apple TV with support for 4K streaming is on the way.

In one particular code stream, you can see what appears to be an automated troubleshooting response for the user having issues streaming 4K data. The header titled, NetworkNo4KForYou and refers to internet connection speed needing to be above 15Mbps.

Apple Insider notes that Stroughton-Smith uncovered additional information about HDR support and display resolution.

Elsewhere in the leaked firmware, Stroughton-Smith found evidence of display resolutions and color options. Specifically, the fifth-generation Apple TV will output in 2160p UHD and support both Dolby Vision and HDR10 formats. Chroma subsampling, a form of compression that sacrifices color information for luminance data, is available in 4:2:0, 4:2:2 and 4:4:4 for HDR10 and standard YCbCr.

This discovery does not confirm that the fifth-generation Apple TV will be announced alongside the iPhone X this Tuesday, but it does suggest the device is well underway and very close to being ready for launch.

August 29, 2017: Apple, movie studios reportedly clash over 4K movie pricing; Amazon Prime Video might miss September event

According to a new report from The Wall Street Journal, Apple and movie studios are currently facing off over how much Apple should charge for 4K movies in the iTunes Store. While Apple is said to be looking to keep prices similar to what it charges for many movies in high definition, studios apparently want to charge anywhere between $25 and $30 for new releases.

Apple wants to have major Hollywood films available in ultra-high definition on the new device, expected to go on sale later this year. However, it wants to charge $19.99 for those movies—on par with what it sometimes charges for new HD movies, the people with knowledge of the discussions said. Several Hollywood studios want to charge $5 to $10 more for 4K movies, the people said.

Speaking of content deals Recode reports that Amazon's Prime Video app, announcd for Apple TV at WWDC, might not arrive in time for Apple's September launch event.

August 24, 2017: 4K Apple TV will reportedly debut alongside iPhone 8

According to Bloomberg, Apple will launch a 4K-capable version of the Apple TV at an event in September, alongside the iPhone 8 and Apple Watch Series 3.

Apple is planning to unveil a renewed focus on the living room with an upgraded Apple TV set-top box that can stream 4K video and highlight live television content such as news and sports, according to people familiar with the matter.

August 16, 2017: Blurrycam photos claim to show 60-inch Apple television

Four blurry camera shots have surfaced online (via Ben Geskin) that purport to show an Apple-branded television set in some sort of testing facility. Like many Apple devices, the TV seems to be thin and made of metal, with an Apple logo on the stand.

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Of course, given the quality of the images, we suggest you take any reports of an Apple television with a huge grain of salt.

August 5, 2017: References discovered to 4K HDR / Dolby Vision for next generation Apple TV

Developer Guilherme Rambo, who's been digging through the HomePod firmware accidentally released online by Apple, has discovered strings that suggest 4K, HDR, and even Dolby Vision are on their way with the next-generation Apple TV.

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What's this about a 4K Apple TV?

4K may have started as a somewhat of a gimmick to sell televisions, but as more and more shows and movies offer playback at that resolution, the fourth-generation Apple TV's 1080p is starting to seem somewhat dated. With better chipsets available, it's no big surprise that the folks at Cupertino would upgrade Apple's set top box to play back 4K. From Bloomberg:

Internally codenamed "J105," the new box will be capable of streaming ultra-high-definition 4K and more vivid colors, according to people familiar with the plans.

What does "more vivid colors" translate to? Likely Apple is experimenting with HDR support, which provides blacker blacks and more eye-popping colors on your television screne.

What about a Siri speaker, like the Amazon Echo?

Do you want your next Apple TV to listen a bit more intently? It's certainly possible, according to a report last May from The Information:

Apple is upping its game in the field of intelligent assistants. After years of internal debate and discussion about how to do so, the company is preparing to open up Siri to apps made by others. And it is working on an Amazon Echo-like device with a speaker and microphone that people can use to turn on music, get news headlines or set a timer.

But is this rumored device (which, according to CNET, might also use facial recognition to identify you) the same thing as the company's next Apple TV? On that, our sources are less reliable.

Certainly, an Apple TV with built-in Siri speaker could make it easier to navigate your shows, command your HomeKit appliances, and bark commands without ever having to press a button. But there are tradeoffs, too: Your Apple TV may not always be on, and it would almost certainly ratchet up its price (and footprint).

Footprint? You think the Apple TV could change size and shape?

If Apple is truly interested in creating an Apple TV with accompanying Siri speaker, it would almost certainly have to change size and shape: Beam-forming microphones don't do very well with squat, square shapes.

What about a new Siri Remote?

Here's hoping. While Apple's glass remote is gorgeous, it's also prone to breakage and disappearing in couch cushions. On top of that, if Apple truly decides to put Siri into the Apple TV hardware itself, the Remote's button arrangement would almost certainly have to change.

Any new colors expected besides black?

Black is classic, and while we don't expect to see any new Apple TV colors with the fifth-generation, I have to admit: A white Apple TV (in the vein of Google Home) would look pretty sweet.

When could we see the next Apple TV?

Technically, the box could be ready as soon as WWDC this summer — but like the Apple TV before it, we suspect Apple is working to launch its long-rumored subscription plan alongside the new set-top box. Will 2017 be the year Apple at last manages to launch both its hardware and tvOS software simultaneously? We'll just have to wait and see.

OK, what do we know for sure?

Nothing. Rumors are rumors are rumors and we won't really know the final outcome of the fifth-generation Apple TV until Apple officially announces the device.

Serenity Caldwell

Serenity was formerly the Managing Editor at iMore, and now works for Apple. She's been talking, writing about, and tinkering with Apple products since she was old enough to double-click. In her spare time, she sketches, sings, and in her secret superhero life, plays roller derby. Follow her on Twitter @settern.