That's right. The next Apple TV isn't an Apple TV at all. It's not a set top box... it's something more familiar.
When Apple releases the next-generation Apple TV, it wont be the set top box we're used to. But it will feel familiar - eerily familiar - and we love it.
It's been a very long time between updates for the Apple TV, and there's reason to believe that Apple had prototypes ready, scrapped them, started again, and scrapped those, and started again. That's why we got the 2016 Apple TV App... an app, not a physical box, for the United States only. But never fear - a new physical Apple TV device is coming... but it's not a set top box.
So what is the next Apple TV... if it's not a set top box?
We're glad you asked. The next Apple TV is a two-part device:
A streaming stick, akin to a ChromeCast or Roku Stick,
and another.... thing. (More on that, later).
Part 1: The Apple 'streaming stick'
This part of the next-generation Apple TV is a HDMI dongle that plugs in directly to your TV. No more set top box, no more HDMI cord, no more cord clutter. The stick plugs in to your TV's HDMI port, and gets power over USB-C via a cable. The other end of that cable is USB-A, and plugs in to the USB-A port on your new TV, or plugs in to a small power plug, just like your iPhone does.
The stick includes all the internals required to push video and sound to your TV, a small amount of memory, Wifi, AirPlay, Bluetooth LE 4.2, and a new version of tvOS.
The stick is designed to receive signals from your iPhone, iPad, iMac, or MacBook, via AirPlay, and display them on your TV.
The stick is also specifically designed to work brilliantly with the other bit: Part 2 of the new Apple TV.
Part 2: The other bit.
This is the really new part. This is the astonishing part. This is what makes the new Apple TV, so much not an Apple TV.
It's something more familiar - eerily familiar - and we love it. Yes, we love it, already.
What is Part 2?
Part 2 is.....
Part 2 is: an iPhone 7 Plus, without the phone. It's an iPod 7 Plus. With the Apple TV App.
Right now, your children are asking you.... "Dad, what's an iPod? Why are you crying?"
It's so eerily familiar. It's an iPod, with an Apple TV app on it, that can do everything that the iPod used to do, everything that an iPhone can do, minus the phone bit.
It completely replaces the rediculously-over-priced Siri Remote.
It has a touch screen. It has Bluetooth. It can stream via AirPlay. It has volume controls.
It has an on-screen keyboard (remember typing on the old Apple TV?)
It has iOS and a range of apps. All those other iOS apps from TV providers will work.
It can store music, films, movies, games, and more.
It has a microphone and speakers, ideal for using Siri to search the TV guide.
And best of all, Apple can manufacture it very easily.
Just take the cellular radio out of the iPhone, and you're done.
The "Apple TV App" is great on its own, but it ties up an iPhone. You're watching TV, streamed from the app on your phone, and you get a phone call, or a text, or a Skype (ahem, FaceTime) call, and everyone in your lounge room is interrupted until you end the call and the movie starts playing again.
The iPod solution solves this problem.
The iPod solution means you don't have an iPhone doing double duty as a TV streamer.
The iPod solution scraps the Siri remote and replaces it with a more functional product that is easy to manufacture, and includes an on-screen keyboard for typing, while still having full access to Siri.
The iPod solution takes everything that Apple is good at, everything that Apple can already manufacture, and repurposes it into a far more functional device than the existing Apple TV with Siri Remote.
So the next Apple TV is not an Apple TV at all. It's a streaming stick with a handheld iPod 7 Plus for a remote. We love you, Apple.
Until next time,
XYZ Media Group