As predicted on this blog weeks ago, Apple CEO Tim Cook introduced a new Apple TV this week during the iPad 3 keynote address in San Francisco. Techtipsandtoys predicted Apple would announce a new Apple TV at the end of the keynote in the traditional Steve Jobs, “one more thing” fashion but Tim Cook decided to surprise everyone and lead the iPad 3 keynote by introducing the New Apple TV first rather than waiting till the end.
While most people were tuned to the keynote waiting to hear, see and touch the new iPad, I was more interested in the the rumored new Apple TV and Tim Cook and Apple didn’t disappoint.
While some attendees were hoping to see a stand alone 55inch LED Apple iTV with integrated Apple TV the new Apple TV is essentially the same miniature sized set top box as the previous Apple TV (2010) only with beefed up specs and resolution.
The new third generation Apple TV is full 1080p HDTV something Apple TV lovers have been asking for, for a long time. In addition to the upgraded resolution, Apple announced new software (5.0) for the Apple TV which brings a whole new look and feel to the Apple TV with an icon view which is clean easy to navigate and looks a whole lot like Apps Icons on the iPhone and iPad. . For now the new Apple TV remains a closed system with the app looking icons but this may be the first step to opening up the Apple TV for third party developers and eventually apps. The new 5.0 software update will work on all new previous second generation (2010) Apple TVs, so don’t fret if you’ve already have an Apple TV you’ll still be able to get all the advantages of the new software upgrade with the exception of 1080p output.
So aside for 1080p and new software what’s changed under the hood on the new Apple TV? as it turns out not much except for a slightly faster A5 processor, support for 1080p little is know about other hardware upgrades on the new Apple TV. It’s speculated that the new Apple TV has more RAM and graphics processing power but neither was revealed by Tim Cook at Apples keynote. The new iPad has Bluetooth 4.0 built in but it’s unclear if the new Apple TV has bluetooth 2.1 or 4.0 like the new iPad. Also missing from the new Apple TV is Siri voice commands although we predict Apple will eventually upgrade their Apple Remote App to bring Siri to the Apple TV on a future software upgrade perhaps in the fall. Siri will require a microphone in close proximity to the user so it makes sense for Apple to use the microphone built into the iPhone or iPad for Siri voice commands and send those voice commands via bluetooth to the Apple TV for command and control. For now Siri voice control via the iPhone or iPad is just speculation on my part, but when it does come out remember you heard it here first on techtipsandtoys.
While the hardware improvements to the new Apple TV may be lack luster to some and most of the upgrades seem to be software driven the new GUI interface and Icons along with the boost to 1080p are enough to take this $100 streaming box out of the hobby closet and onto the Main Stage along side the iPad. Speaking of the iPad the new Apple TV is the perfect companion for the iPad. With airplay wireless audio and video streaming and a price just slightly more than a quality HDMI cable, Apple TV is a must have accessory for every iPad owner insuring Apple continued success and growth in Apple TV sales.
The new Apple TV will be available March 16th, 2012 in Canada and the USA. I placed an order for two on the Apple store as soon as it came back on line after the keynote and will give you a hands on report once I get them hooked up.
If you’re looking for an excellent deal on an Apple TV and don’t require 1080p consider picking up a couple previous generation Apple TVs (2010) there being cleared out for only $79 dollars.
Missing But Still on the Wish List: Along with Siri Voice Control and third party apps there are a couple of things we wish app would have brought to the new Apple TV which still seem to be lacking:
- QWERTY Keyboard: Apple still is using the small chicklet keyboard which makes entering text a pain and has no hot buttons for launching favorites.
- Bluetooth Accessory Support: Apple TV contains a bluetooth radio however it does not natively support bluetooth peripherals like mice and keyboards. We were hoping OS5 would include bluetooth but Apple still hasn’t enabled it … ?
Siri control via iPhone or iPad remote app is certainly doable, Apps are on the horizon and bluetooth support is already there just not enabled yet … these are all software upgrades and it’s only a matter of time before Apple turns these one.