Having only just released a new version of its Apple TV streaming box late last year, it looks like Apple is already laying out plans for a quick-fire successor to the best streaming device around.
According to a report from serial Apple leaker Mark Gurman for Bloomberg (opens in new tab), the company is readying an upgraded Apple TV box with a boosted processor that’s set to go on sale early in 2024.
The new model is set to retain the same design of the Apple TV 4K (2022). That saw the introduction of a slightly smaller fan-less form factor, as well as USB-C charging for its remote, and up to 128GB of storage, with the device powered by Apple’s recent A15 Bionic chip.
Aside from the faster chip, the update doesn’t appear to be a significant one, with Gurman stating that the new model won’t support 8K streaming as some had predicted for the next iteration of the device.
The report also doesn’t confirm whether the new Apple TV will sport a full-bandwidth 48Gbps HDMI 2.1 port – it unclear whether the port on the current model will ever be capable of this, even though it supports the eARC feature of HDMI 2.1.
The report also claims Apple is planning to launch a new device which combines Apple TV functionality with TV-optimized HomePod speakers and a built-in camera, with work on the new product line said to be behind schedule. At least the new HomePod 2 will keep people going for now.
Analysis: What’s being added here?
With a new, more powerful Apple TV having just landed before Christmas, Apple’s reported plan of following up with a fresh model early next year – all without a killer new feature, at least according to Gurman – seems somewhat unnecessary.
The extra processing power of a new CPU may give games a minor boost, but in terms of its core use, we’re unlikely to see any improvement on the existing model, which already provides the slickest performance and best image quality of any of the current streaming boxes out there.
We’d like to see a full HDMI 2.1 port added, or a UWB chip in the Siri remote to end those frustrating hunt-down-the-side-of-the-sofa-for-the-thing moments. But even with those sensible additions, it doesn’t add up to a compelling reason for an upgrade, especially if you can buy the remote separately (as we hope you would be able to).
While the move to release a blink-and-you’ll-miss-the-updates new model appears questionable, in many ways it presents good news for existing Apple TV owners. The decision confirms Apple’s support for the platform (not something that’s always felt apparent thanks to the recent lack of significant updates to tvOS), while it also means older Apple TV models won’t appear outdated in comparison.
If you’re in the market for the current model, you can check out our list of the best Apple TV deals.