The New Apple TV, Improved and Still Pointless

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Yesterday Apple had its major yearly conference where it patted itself on the back for another year of profits while showing off the upcoming new and improved gear it’s been working on. Among the big announcements was an overdue improvement to Apple TV, the last version of which came out in 2012.

Despite some speculation, Apple did not announce their movement towards original TV and movie content for the Apple TV. You can still watch Netflix, YouTube, and now even Hulu, HBO and Showtime using apps, but Apple TV itself doesn’t offer you anything you can’t get anywhere else without it.

Hardware-wise, Apple TV improved slightly across the board. The improved specs list includes:

Processor – Apple 8 (previously Apple 5)
GPU – PowerVR GX6450 GPU (previously PowerVR SGX543MP2)
RAM – 2GB (previously 512MB)
Internal Storage – 32GB/64GB (previously 8GB)
Ports – HDMI 1.4, USB-C (previously HDMI, USB, Optical)

The box is a little bit taller and heavier than its predecessor but pretty much looks exactly the same. The remote, however, is completely different. It now features a touch pad, motion controls, connects via Bluetooth, and has an IR port so you can use it to change the volume on your TV.

The biggest update and improvement for the device is its new software. During the conference, Apple made sure people took note of its fourth operating system to date – tvOS. The new operating system is essentially iOS for Apple TV, giving users fully accessibility to the App Store and Siri.

Anything you can get on your iPhone can now be downloaded and played on your television using Apple TV. The remote acts a motion controller to play games you’d otherwise use your phone to control, and you can use Siri as a voice-enabled universal search system. The software’s UI (user interface) has also been cleaned up and polished a bit, now sporting a white background instead of black.

You can essentially get iPhone functionality for your TV this October for only $149, or $199 if you want the 64GB version.

Should You Buy It? – An Editorial Bit

Yes, the new Apple TV is certainly an improvement over its three-year-old predecessor, but why someone would buy this instead of a PS3 or Xbox 360 – both of which you can find for less than the new Apple TV – makes no sense to me. They have all the same TV apps, better hardware and better gaming experiences.

My point is, there’s nothing worthwhile on the new Apple TV. Are you really going to use your TV to play Candy Crush, or would you rather play Candy Crush while you watched TV or at least had it playing in the background?

Roku, Amazon Fire TV, and Google’s Chromecast and Nexus Player all do the same things for $35 – $99. (Yes, the most expensive Amazon Fire TV model is $50 cheaper! By the way, a new Fire TV is coming.) Are you really going to pay $50 to $100 more just for Siri?

I understand that some people are massive Apple fans and will get this just because, but my personal recommendation is to avoid it at all costs. Wait for Apple TV to get something exclusive and worthwhile going before you shell out money for something you probably already have.

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