Last month we reported on a tweet from Ming-Chi Kuo saying that a new Apple TV is coming in the second half of this year. Now a reference to “SiriRemote4” in the iOS 16 beta code (found by aaronp613 on Twitter) gives some weight to this claim.
The original, much-maligned Siri Remote is called “SiriRemote” in iOS code, and “SiriRemote2” is the updated version with the white ring around the Menu button. The all-new Siri remote that currently ships with Apple TV (and is much more usable) is called “SiriRemote3”. So this “SiriRemote4” would be new hardware, although it’s very possible that it isn’t look or to trade different from the current model.
According to analyst Ming-Chi Kuo’s tweet in May, the updated Apple TV would have an “improved cost structure.” That simply means it should cost Apple less to manufacture, which hopefully means the company will sell it for less. After all, our biggest complaint about Apple TV hardware is that it costs so much more than competing devices.
What do we want from a new Apple TV?
We’ve used a lot of streaming boxes and smart TVs here at Macworld, and Apple TV remains our favorite way to enjoy streaming services. It’s just drastically more expensive than competing devices, so range is limited. The 4K Apple TV with 32GB of storage costs $179 (the Apple TV HD isn’t worth buying). In comparison, the top-of-the-line Roku is $99.99 and often available for less, and Fire TV comes in at $69.
In addition to a significant price reduction, it would be nice if Apple TV would support HDMI 2.1. It’s not often needed for streaming services (which don’t exceed HDMI 2.0’s 4K 60Hz limit), but it’s only a matter of time before 8K content gets streamed, and features like 120Hz output and variable refresh rate are useful for gaming and other apps. You need HDMI 2.1 for that.
It would also be very useful if the Siri Remote supported Find My, so that you could find it more easily with your iPhone if it slipped between the sofa cushions or fell under the side table.
The latest discovery of a “SiriRemote4” doesn’t tell us if any of these things are in the cards, but they top our list for a new Apple TV device coming this fall, which is starting to look more likely.