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Two big Apple TV upgrades could make it a future gaming powerhouse

Apple Tv 4k 2021 Box Remote
Apple Tv 4k 2021 Box Remote (Image credit: Rene Ritchie / iMore)

What you need to know

  • Apple is rumored to be working on a new Apple TV device.
  • The upgraded Apple TV is said to pack a new A14 chip.
  • An extra 1GB of RAM is expected to be added to the new machine.

Often the forgotten product of Apple's lineup, the Apple TV set-top box could be in for a big update according to a new report.

Last updated last year, the current best Apple TV is powered by an A12 chip. That could all change soon enough, with Bloomberg's Mark Gurman reporting that a new A14-powered device is in the works. Writing via the Power On newsletter, Gurman notes that the product will also gain an additional gigabyte of RAM — two improvements that will make the new Apple TV more suited to playing games. Gurman also believes that will dovetail nicely with improvements coming to tvOS 16 later this year.

The new Apple TV, code-named J255, is in development with an A14 chip and an additional gigabyte of RAM. That compares with the A12 chip announced as part of the 2021 Apple TV last year and could be useful for additional gaming capabilities rolling out in tvOS 16.

Apple has tried to turn the Apple TV hardware into a games console before, with limited success. Apple Arcade, the game subscription service that runs for $4.99 per month, gives gamers access to a raft of titles at no additional cost. But not all games work on the device, with some developers choosing to focus on iPhone and iPad. Gamers also require an additional controller to get the best out of their gaming experience, although the Siri Remote can be used in a pinch.

While the controller situation won't be fixed with these newly-rumored upgrades, we can expect the additional horsepower afforded by the upgraded silicon and additional RAM to be beneficial to developers. Games can be more visually impressive, with larger levels and more all made possible by the extra memory.

Apple has previously been rumored to have designs on a new, cheaper version of the Apple TV device that would allow it to better compete with the likes of Amazon's Fire TV Stick, but Gurman didn't mention that in his latest report. Such a device may not be as powerful as a traditional Apple TV, but it could be the best Apple deal for people wanting a similar experience at a less wallat-busting pricepoint.

Oliver Haslam
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.