Hard to believe, it's been two years since Apple TV launched 4K – the streaming box that Apple promised would deliver 4K HDR streaming. This has certainly been achieved, but now that new technologies like Apple Arcade are on the horizon, the time seems ripe for a new Apple TV in 2019.
Of course, nothing is sure. It was a tough road for Apple TV from the beginning: the idea of a set-top box, referred to by Steve Jobs as a "hobby" project, was widespread at Apple for many years and is still not implemented the same yearly Release cycle containing the company's phones and tablets.
- (Update: Will a new Apple TV be announced?) There are rumors about a new Apple TV 4K with improved hardware that will serve as a micro console for the new company Apple Arcade and Apple TV Plus Services. Apple will be hosting its annual telephone keynote address at 10am PDT / 5pm BST / 1pm EST on September 10, where it could announce new hardware. Be sure to visit our Apple Live blog to see what, if anything, is announced and what we can do with it!)
Even so, the 4K-enabled Apple TV released in 2017 has finally fulfilled the promise it has always made. It offers high-resolution playback, some fun gaming options, and voice control that actually works.
What will the follow-up look like? This could be seen from the Apple TV 2019, the sixth generation of the box.
Cut to the hunt
- What is it? A new version of the set-top box from Apple
- When is it out? We expect an announcement in September 2019
- How much does it cost? Hopefully for the price of the previous models
Release Date of Apple TV 6 (2019)
As with unannounced Apple products, it's hard to know when a new product will be available in stores outside of the annual iPhone release. Based on the release dates of earlier models, however, we can make informed assumptions.
The 4K-enabled Apple TV model of the fifth generation was launched on September 12, 2017, almost two years before the day when the fourth-generation Apple TV was announced.
According to this assessment, a release in September 2019 is the most likely, because the TV technology has enough time to make progress so that Apple has something new to discuss. An Apple TV in 2018 might not be worth it for Apple – although today we'll take a look at the new iPhone launch event, if announced early.
Of course, we now know that WWDC came and went in 2018 without mentioning a new Apple TV. Maybe next year.
Price for Apple TV 6 (2019)
Without a confirmed data sheet, it is of course difficult to speculate on the costs. Apple knows that too much confusion with the formula could affect sales.
It's important to remember that in the past Apple has always offered a premium price in terms of set-top boxes.
For reasons of context, the current generation Apple TV for the 32 GB version costs 179 GBP / 179 USD / 249 AU $, while the 64 GB option costs 199 GBP / 199 USD / 279 AU $. The Apple TV 2018 (or 2019) would make that up, we think.
Apple TV 6 (2019): What we want to see
The Apple TV line has made some solid progress in the last two generation versions, but there is still room for improvement if a 6th generation Apple TV ever goes on sale.
Apple's content and voice control approach is still sometimes frustrating. In these areas, we are mainly looking for progress on a new Apple TV, since the underlying hardware at this time is quite solid.
An open approach to third-party apps and videos
The walls of Apple's enclosed garden have been slowly eroding over the years, but it's still pretty picky about what makes it its TV-based app store. This becomes particularly clear when you compare Apple TV with Android TV-based set-top boxes that have a variety of applications (including some controversial options like Kodi).
It would be great if Apple would pursue a similarly open approach to its TV viewing options in the future. Tastes around the world are different, and a wider selection of programming and streaming options (as well as ways to play your own media) would not be recommended if they were included in the Apple TV 2018.
More game options
In the last two generations of Apple TV, the company has dived deeper into the world of gaming – something that has been reluctant at home outside the iOS app store in the past.
But with the release of the 5th generation and the partnership with Thatgamecompany for the game Sky, it seemed like it was finally taking home games seriously.
However, outside the release of Sky, Apple TV gaming was still not well known. The clearest competitor in this regard is the Nvidia Shield, which takes games with specially designed console conversions for its hardware and a cloud streaming game service very seriously.
It would be great if Apple got more high quality developers on board – which should not be as difficult as it looks, given its existing relationship with mobile developers.
More intensive voice control with Siri
Controlling your TV with voice commands is still exciting, but Apple's Siri is lagging behind the features of Google's Assistant and Amazon's Alexa.
Given the relatively narrow context window in which the TV room must be used, this would be a great investment opportunity.
We'd like to see Siri's integration with the 6th generation Apple TV 2018 really deep – maybe we're planning a calendar notification for your favorite release date.
Better HomePod sync
Apple's intelligent speaker may be frustrating due to Siri's sometimes weak detection capabilities, but one thing that's undeniable about the hardware is the sound quality.
It's certainly the best-sounding smart speaker on the market – albeit one of the most expensive.
Would it be possible to set up the HomePod automatically in a surround sound configuration when there are multiple speakers and the TV box, as the HomePod speakers support stereo pairing and multi-room?
It would be great to be enveloped in these episodes by an epic Hollywood soundtrack.
Better exclusive content
Apple has been investing in exclusive content for several years now. While Carpool Karaoke still has a relatively loyal following, the reality TV Planet of the Apps show did not attract much attention.
Compare that to what Amazon does for its Prime Service and Fire TV sets, and it seems to be largely absent.
Apple has to do better to attract well-known television and film directors to compete with the service of Jeff Bezos and Netflix. Perhaps this could be integrated and subsidized by the long-rumored Apple TV subscription service, which the company has allegedly been trying to iron out for years.
The price written on this page is true as the time it is written. It may change at any moment.