The failure of tvOS 16 to launch at the recent Apple WWDC 2022 came as a disappointment for fans of the company’s Apple TV 4K streaming box. And while we have been able to glean potential new features from the tvOS 16 beta version currently available to developers, evidence that’s turned up of a new Siri remote is what’s really grabbing our attention.
The news comes to us via MacRumors, which cites contributor AaronP613 at online software and device database AppledB as having unearthed references to “SiriRemote4” in the iOS 16 beta. According to the MacRumors article, other references to a Siri remote in the iOS 16 beta top out at SiriRemote3 – the version included with the current Apple TV 4K box released in 2021 – so SiriRemote4 could indicate a new remote to be included with a forthcoming new streaming box.
MacRumors goes on to say how a new, lower-cost Apple TV 4K, one designed to compete with less expensive Roku and Amazon Fire TV streamers, is something that Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has already predicted, and it could arrive as soon as the second half of 2022.
Beyond the possibility of new Apple TV 4K hardware, the tvOS 16 beta indicates that owners of current boxes can potentially look forward to HDR10+ high dynamic range and updated smart home support (including Matter). In addition, various hooks will allow developers to better integrate Apple devices with tvOS apps, and there should be expanded support for Bluetooth game controllers.
That’s a fair amount of stuff to look forward to, but the big story here is the possibility of a new box. Given the lack of official tvOS developments coming out of WWDC 2022, the prospect of a new, more affordable Apple TV 4K streamer arriving in the fall seems like the best possible outcome.
Analysis: Apple TV 4K already has an excellent remote. What we need is a less pricey Apple TV 4K.
As a latest-gen Apple TV 4K owner, I’m completely happy with the remote control that comes with it. Apple’s Siri remote is well-designed and solid, with an all-aluminium casing that makes the handsets that come with other streamers seem cheap in comparison.
Beyond its impressive build quality, the current Siri remote improves upon many of the shortcomings of the previous version. Primarily, the circular clickpad located at the remote’s top allows for easy navigation and playback control. This puts it miles ahead of its predecessor, which featured a flat, overly-sensitive touchpad that users would find themselves accidentally hitting, with the frequent result being the show you were watching being scrolled forward to the ending. Talk about spoiler alerts!
But really, we’re not talking here about the existing Siri remote, which is clearly a success, or any new, rumored replacement for it. What’s at issue is the possibility of a new streaming box, one that would sell at a more affordable price than the current stratospherically priced version.
At $179 / £169 / AU$249 for the 32GB version and $199 / £189 / AU$279 for the 64GB one, the Apple TV 4K is a luxury streaming purchase. Given the current state of the global economy, it would be a sensible and entirely welcome gesture for Apple to offer something cheaper.