The last Apple TV – the fourth-gen box launched in 2015 – was left in the dust by rivals such as the Amazon Fire TV, Google Chromecast and Roku due to its expense and lack of supported apps. So we've been waiting for Apple to settle the score ever since.
Time waits for no streaming box, however, and Amazon and Google have since launched 4K-supporting streaming solutions. The Cupertino-based tech giant has some catching up to do with the new Apple TV 4K, then.
Numerous hints of a new Apple TV supporting Ultra HD 4K and HDR (High Dynamic Range) have surfaced over previous weeks, and we can now confirm the two technologies are part of the Apple TV 4K's specification, alongside support for Dolby Vision.
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The box features the latest version of tvOS, and houses the A10X fusion chip - the same found in the iPad Pro 10.5in – which promises twice the processing speed and four times the graphics speed of its predecessor.
The box still has its own power supply and single HDMI port - only this time it's HDMI 2.0a for 4K streaming – and comes bundled with a Siri-enabled remote.
4K films available on iTunes will cost the same price as films in HD (1080p), and films that have already been purchased in HD will be upgraded to 4K and HDR at no additional charge.
It looks like Netflix's 4K titles will be available at launch, with those on Amazon Prime Video coming later. Live sports are also coming to Apple TV later in this year. With that and iTunes' 4K catalogue in mind, the Apple TV 4K could soon have the biggest 4K offering of all streaming boxes, then.
The Apple TV app, which is currently available in the US, will be rolling out to seven more countries including the UK by end of the year. In the app, you can use Siri voice control to search for content across Apple TV. Siri is supposedly clued up on 4K HDR, too, so if you say “show me movies in 4K” it should oblige.
Apple may not have been first to deliver 4K, far from it, but it is first to offer HDR support. Still, if the rumours of Amazon working on two 4K HDR streamers are to be believed, Apple could well be upstaged before long.
The Apple TV 4K is priced at £179 for 32GB and £199 for 64GB (joining the 32GB version of the current 4th-gen Apple TV at £149), with shipping starting on 22nd September.
Apple also used the keynote event to announce the third iteration of its Apple Watch… and it’s good news for Apple Music subscribers. Owners will be able to stream Apple Music’s catalogue from their wrist, as well as listen to Beats 1 live. Naturally, Siri integration means you can ask it to play songs.
Elsewhere, the Apple Watch Series 3 has been turned into a phone, thanks to built-in cellular. It also has a new dual-core processor, and a specially designed W2 chip that makes it 50% more power efficient. Apple claims the new Watch has 18 hours of battery life – even with LTE, Bluetooth and wi-fi activity.
The Series 3 is the same size as Series 2, save for the crystal back being extended by 0.25mm, and will be available in gold, silver and space grey.
The Apple Watch Series 3 is available with cellular for $399 and without for $329, with the Series 2 dropping to $249.
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