Microsoft could release the inexpensive Apple TV that Apple won't make

Apple Tv 4k Review
Apple Tv 4k Review (Image credit: Stephen Warwick / iMore)

What you need to know

  • Microsoft is reportedly readying a new streaming device similar to the Fire TV Stick.
  • The device would likely carry the Xbox brand and be designed for streaming games from the cloud.
  • A video streaming component would allow Netflix and other services to offer apps for the new device.

Microsoft is reportedly working on a new, inexpensive streaming stick that could not only allow people to stream games, but also video content.

While Apple already has the Apple TV, it's previously been rumored to have designs on a new, cheaper version that would offer competition for the popular Amazon Fire TV Stick. Now, Windows Central reports that Microsoft is set to do something similar under the Xbox brand.

If the rumors are true, and quotes from Microsoft appear to suggest they are, the streaming device would likely focus on offering gamers the chance to stream games via Xbox Cloud Gaming. But it's also likely that the same device would also allow content to be streamed from the likes of Netflix, Disney+, and potentially even Apple TV+. In that way, the device could find itself in direct competition with any streaming stick that Apple is also working on.

The Microsoft Xbox stick wouldn't run tvOS, of course. It's more likely some form of Android would be used.

To speculate, Keystone could eventually run some sort of slimmed-down Windows or Xbox OS, given that "Keystone" originally appeared in an OS list alongside the different Xbox platforms like "ERA" and "GameOS." Utilizing Windows instead of alternatives like Android would allow Microsoft to offer its own streaming media apps like Microsoft Movies & TV. Although, using Android OSP would potentially be a quicker route to market, leaning on apps like Netflix, and perhaps Spotify.

Currently, the best Apple TV is the Apple TV 4K device, but at starting price of $179, it's a costly beast. By removing the 32GB of storage and making the device smaller, Apple could easily turn the box into a stick. Whether it'll do it before Microsoft remains to be seen.

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.

Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.