Apple TV 2022 is tipped to be Cupertino's cheapest streamer yet. Nothing's official but several analysts – including predictor-in-chief Ming-Chi Kuo – are convinced that a new "low-cost" Apple TV device is in the offing.
About time too. The entry-level Apple TV HD, as it's now called, has been around in one form or another for over a decade. Launched as "a DVD player for the Internet age", it now competes with a slew of 4K streaming sticks, many of which are half the price.
So, is Apple about to unleash a 4K streaming stick of its own? How might this slimmed-down streamer compare to the range-topping Apple TV 4K (2021)? And just how "cheap" will it be?
Hard facts are still few and far between, but here are our thoughts on what the rumoured Apple TV 2022's release date, price, design and features might be...
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Apple TV 2022 release date news
In May 2022, Ming-Chi Kuo, widely regarded as the most accurate Apple analyst around, published his thoughts on the Apple TV 2022 release date.
Kuo tweeted that a new Apple TV device would arrive in "2H22" – aka the second half of this year.
Apple will launch a new version of Apple TV that improves cost structure in 2H22. I think that Apple's aggressive strategy of integrating hardware, content, and service amid the recession will help close the gap with its competitors.May 13, 2022
If Kuo is right, the new Apple TV 2022 could show its face anytime between July and December. Apple doesn't tend to announce hardware in the summer, when lots of people are taking holidays, and December would be too close to Christmas, so that leaves September (when the rumoured iPhone 14 is expected to be announced), October and November.
That's about as specific as anyone has got, but we'd expect the most prolific Apple leakers – Kuo, John Prosser and Mark Gurman – to narrow down that window in the coming months.
Here's when Cupertino announced its previous Apple TV devices:
- Apple TV (1st gen) – 9th January, 2007
- Apple TV (2nd gen) – 1st September, 2010
- Apple TV (3rd gen) – 7th March, 2012
- Apple TV (3rd gen revision) – 28th January, 2013
- Apple TV HD – 30th October, 2015
- Apple TV 4K (1st gen) – 22nd September, 2017
- Apple TV 4K (2nd gen) – 21st May, 2021
New Apple TV price rumours
Noted Apple tipster Ming-Chi Kuo claims the rumoured Apple TV 2022 device could "improve cost structure" – that's analyst speak for "it'll be cheaper". He's also said that Apple's "aggressive" strategy would help it "close the gap with its competitors".
As it stands, the Apple TV HD (£139 / $149 / AU$209) is undercut by a growing number of rival streamers. You can bag the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K and the Roku Streaming Stick+ for around £50 / $50 / AU$100, or the Chromecast with Google TV for £60 / $50 / AU$99. What's more, most pack 4K HDR whereas the entry-level Apple TV makes do with HD.
If the Apple TV 2022 were to launch for, say, around £69 / $79 / AU$119 it would certainly give buyers on a budget pause for thought. There's even precedence for a cheaper Apple TV – the second (2010) and third (2012) generation models both debuted at $99.
Fingers crossed Apple will show its hand by the end of this year.
Not willing to wait? The latest and greatest Apple TV – a high-end, 4K streamer – can be yours right now for £179 ($179, AU$249) with 32GB of storage, or £199 ($199, AU$279) with 64GB of storage.
Apple TV 2022 design predictions
We half expected Apple to launch a cheaper, stick-shaped streamer last year but the company maintained its premium approach and launched the Apple TV 4K (2021), which offers a faster A12 Bionic chip and redesigned Siri remote.
Could an Apple TV streaming stick – we've mocked up how it could look above – arrive in 2022 instead? It's too soon to say, but it wouldn't be the first time that Apple has eyed up a Fire TV-style stick...
Back in November 2018, The Information (opens in new tab) claimed that Apple was working on a cheap TV dongle device as an alternative to the pricier Apple TV set-top box. The project was supposedly driven by Tim Twerdahl, a Vice President at Apple. (Twerdahl's Crunchbase profile reveals that he was previously "Director & GM, FireTV at Amazon").
Twerdahl was said to have argued that a cheap Apple TV dongle would make it more affordable for users to access the company's Apple TV+ streaming service – just as Amazon's cheap Fire TV sticks had made it easier to access Amazon Prime Video.
In the end, Twerdahl's project was reportedly abandoned by Apple marketing boss Greg Joswiak and senior exec Phil Schiller, both of whom are said to have felt that a "low-margin" streamer could take the shine off the company's "premium" image (via macrumours).
Apple eventually settled on the idea of spreading the Apple TV app to non-Apple devices and smart TV platforms, including Samsung Tizen, Amazon Fire TV, Android TV and Roku OS. Today, Apple claims that Apple TV is "everywhere", which isn't far from the truth (here's the full list of devices that support the Apple TV app (opens in new tab)).
But was Twerdahl right all along? And is Apple about to resurrect his project? With the dramatic rise of streaming, a low-cost device could attract yet more users to Apple TV+, which is locked in a fierce battle for subscriptions with Netflix, Disney+ (opens in new tab) and Amazon Prime Video.
There's also the long-running rumour that Apple will make an actual TV. It already has plenty of experience making high-end displays such as the 32-inch Pro Display XDR with HDR support, but none could be considered "low cost". So, that idea seems to be out the window if rumours of a 'low cost' Apple TV 2022 are proved accurate.
Then again, we could see an affordable TV dongle launch alongside a pricey new Apple TV, or perhaps even an Apple soundbar. That would certainly be one way to ensure Apple retains its "premium" status.
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Apple TV 2022 spec rumours
Last year, Apple gave the ageing Apple TV HD box, which debuted in 2015, a redesigned Siri remote and Colour Balance TV calibration. Both are nice additions, but neither could be considered game-changing.
With Amazon, Google and Roku now offering cheaper and faster streamers that support 4K HDR content, the Apple TV HD's spec is starting to look dated (and some would say well past its sell-by date).
We're yet to see any reliable Apple TV 2022 spec leaks, so here's what we think the rumoured budget Apple TV streamer will offer...
4K HDR resolution
Why buy the Apple TV HD for £139 / $149 / AU$209 when you could buy the five-star Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K – with support for Dolby Vision and HDR10+ – for only £50 / $35 (around AU$80)? It's a question that no doubt many non-Apple users ask when considering the best best media streamers.
What's more, Apple TV+ is busy investing billions of dollars producing Apple Originals such as Prehistoric Planet in 4K, Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos. It seems unthinkable that Apple would launch a new streaming device – even a low-cost one – that was restricted to HD resolution.
By leaving the Apple TV HD with the same 1.1Ghz A8 processor that first appeared in the iPhone 6 (2014), Cupertino seems to have signalled to the world that its oldest set-top box is all but dead and buried.
With Google's Chromecast packing a 1.9Ghz quad-core processor, we'd expect to see Apple TV 2022 use the same 2.49 GHz A12 processor found in the latest Apple TV 4K. That could enable faster entertainment and gaming, as well as powering new tvOS features such as support for Spatial Audio with AirPods Max and AirPods Pro.
New gaming features
When the Apple TV 4K (2021) launched, gaming didn't get more than a passing mention in the entire presentation. If Apple is to launch a low-cost streamer, an improved gaming experience could go a long way to helping Apple TV become the centre of your home (Cupertino's ultimate goal here).
With Apple reportedly readying its first ever virtual reality headset for release this year, and Netflix announcing its own Netflix gaming platform, the time is right for Apple TV 2022 to start making the most of Apple Arcade. Perhaps we'll even see a dedicated Bluetooth gaming pad to match the Apple TV 2022?
Apple TV 2022 early thoughts
"It's a little more difficult to call [Apple TV] a hobby these days," said Apple CEO Tim Cook in 2014, not long after the company had Apple TV sales totalling $1.1billion.
Eight years later and the Apple TV 4K (2021) remains the best media streamer on the market but, as we pointed out in our review, it's also notably "pricier than alternatives".
Apple TV 2022 could take things to the next level by combining support for 4K HDR with Apple's super-slick tvOS 15 platform in an all-in-one nifty streaming stick priced to complete with Amazon's wildly-popular Fire TV Stick (150 million sold and counting).
We could even see Apple follow Amazon's lead and releasing a whole range of streaming devices, from a low-cost entry level dongle to a state-of-the-art 'Apple TV Pro'.
Excited? Us too. If the rumours are true, Apple TV 2022 could be on the shelves by Christmas...
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