Apple rarely gets into the nitty gritty of enhancements to the way its iPhones handle movies and music, but in the just-finished 2023 iPhone 15 event, the company briefly mentioned a neat new feature built into the iPhone 15 Pro (and Pro Max) that should make streamed videos look better than before.
That upgrade is full hardware decoding of the AV1 video codec. Dull, right? Actually, no: while codec chat isn’t likely to get anyone hot under the collar, AV1 is capable of increasing the video and sound quality of streamed movies and TV shows while reducing data rates and therefore making streams play sooner and smoother. In other words, it should provide a very worthwhile boost to everyone's streaming quality of life.
AV1 does this by compressing streams more efficiently – making files smaller while preserving more quality.
The other cool thing about AV1 is that it’s open and royalty-free, so adoption will likely become very widespread. Netflix has been streaming in AV1 via its Android app since 2020, and to certain TVs since 2021. Surely now that the iPhone 15 Pro has it baked-in, Apple will switch to AV1 for its own Apple TV+ service in the near future.
Check out our Apple TV 4K (2022) review