One week with the new Apple TV and Siri

“Overall, functionality is much the same as Apple TV 3. But with TV 4 apps and Siri integration are the major draws. There are not many apps yet, but that will change. And Siri doesn’t do as much as we may like, but that will change, too,” Ron McElfresh writes for NoodleMac. “That’s the early adopter’s lament.

“Press and hold the Siri microphone button on the remote and give commands or ask questions. Find this more or that movie. Open an app. Siri is app aware so when you’re using the Netflix app, for example, you can tell Siri what episodes of which TV shows to look for, but Siri is good for recommendations, too,” McElfresh writes. “Siri even works much like she does on the iPhone so you can ask about weather, the stock market, or other queries of daily interest. What you won’t get from Siri is anything about the music in your iTunes music collection. Subscribe to Apple Music and that opens up Siri’s entertainment vocabulary considerably.”

“Overall, my impressions are positive, but that’s coming from a long time Apple customer, an early adopter with a high threshold for new product pain. The actual, usable differences between Apple TV 3 and Apple TV 4 are nominal, but the difference will grow as more apps make there way to TV 4, and once Apple’s upcoming streaming TV service is available, the clarity will be obvious,” McElfresh writes. “For now, Apple TV is an early adopter platform.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Not sure what Apple brass was thinking releasing the new Apple TV in such an obviously unfinished state – beyond “Get it out in time for Christmas!” – but it definitely holds much promise. When it gets out of its unofficial beta stage, we can’t wait to see what Apple TV becomes!

Apple releases tvOS 9.0.1 update for Apple TV – November 9, 2015
Houston Chronicle’s Silverman reviews new Apple TV: This cake needed more baking – November 9, 2015
Apple TV 4 is a beta product and, if you bought one, you’re an unpaid beta tester – November 5, 2015
The single worst feature of the new Apple TV – November 4, 2015
The new Apple TV has more rough edges than a sack of saw blades – November 3, 2015
Apple releases tvOS 9.1 beta 1 – November 3, 2015
5 days with the new Apple TV – November 3, 2015
Apple TV flaws that Apple should fix fast – November 3, 2015
TouchArcade reviews new Apple TV: A discoverability nightmare, zany controls, and loads of potential – November 2, 2015
Terry White reviews Apple TV: Feels like an ‘unfinished’ product – November 2, 2015
ZDNet reviews Apple TV: A diamond in the rough – very rough – November 2, 2015
Open letter to Tim Cook: Apple needs to do better – January 5, 2015


    1. P.s. I wonder where Apple Watch would be had it been released in the state that Apple TV was released in. I dare say Switzerland would still be open for business. The inconsistency of Apple is disturbing and now I understand why Wall Street analysts go nuts trying to figure out what’s next.

      1. I can’t help but wonder if the Apple Watch is partly responsible for it being unfinished even. Most of the resources were probably pushed in that ire tion as the TV was kept on back burner. I wonder also if they were then caught out by others and in particular Amazon stealing it’s thunder somewhat with features it was expecting to introduce first. As such sleep walking its development due to that and the delays in agreements over bundling which they clearly wished to launch together, meant that they were left clamouring to catch up on mostly self inflicted delays and development to belatedly catch the holiday season so as not to lose further ground to the opposition. Sadly these sort of developmental missteps are becoming more common, maybe a lack of focus or more worrying a lack of anticipation or underestimating the opposition as product bloat becomes an issue. Steve Jobs perfectionism is certainly missed and I’m a tad disappointed that JI hasn’t seemed to take on that mantle sufficiently or has failed to do so as well as expected. Someone needs to get a grip on the technical aspects and their timings which is not Cook’s strongpoint.

      1. And I remember the days when I cried for a big iPhone while a lot of the big reviewers were talking about Steve’s vision. You get the attention of the average American in blocks of 5-10 second intervals. You MAY get about 8 intervals if your lucky. Most don’t read reviews until they talk to friends and try out the device. It’s interesting that the demo in the Apple retail store never gets to the horizontal keyboard. Smart move on Apple’s part.

      2. Agreed. When youre invited close to the flame you have to be careful not to get too cosy.

        The other problem I see, is that you can only launch a product once.
        If it’s considered a bit ‘Meh’ by those without a particular Apple ecosystem its much harder to get traction.

  1. I have to echo this. The efficiency of the remote relies very heavily on the efficiency of your ISP’s system. Sometimes things move, sometimes they are a little slow. I loved the old interface. With the new one, I can’t mark an old episode as “viewed” and it always queues up the first unwatched episode. Why on TV shows its starts with S1E1 instead of the latest episode not watched is flabbergasting! The incompetence in the design of the TV shows apps unbelievable. I don’t think Tim is playing with it “in the wild” before it goes out. He REALLY needs to get more into the details and Jony REALLY needs to stop screwing around with keyboards! And Siri doesn’t work well in French in Netflix.

    1. YES! Exactly.

      We have several Season subscriptions, and I had to revert to the “old” box to watch the latest episodes.

      And when displaying cover art for our localally-stored movies in iTunes, it shows blanks about as often as the real image. No problem with the “old” product. And, it ‘stutters’ showing the movies… not the old box though. Both on Ethernet connections.


  2. Dont forget the new remote and the ff/rw Touch/swipe function..
    Finally there is a trully accurate and usable rewind functionality over and above siri..which is soooooo sweet!
    Very nice indeed.
    But the package as whole is half backed… imho.. There is ZERO excuse for it.
    Apple has had years and years to get this right on first release.
    Apple has been fully aware of the huge anticipation out there for this product…
    The management has been teasing the idea of the product for years with statments like ” we have huge plans for TV” ( T Cook, interview)
    And yet they released half backed product? After all the hooplahoo….
    Its incomprehensible to me…
    Someone screwed up big by giving the premature green light for release given the huge market anticipation.
    Apple has always been about underpromise overdeliver.
    Seens they slipped on this one…
    Why??? Why Tim?

    Ps.. Dont get me wrong.. It worth every penny.. And all issues i belive can be solved through software update… But still…after all the anticipation and time this product does not leave the impression it should have or could have had it been a bit more polished.

    Why Tim? Why?

    1. It makes you wonder if they had a completely different TV OS lined up that included a lot more integration with the channel networks and producers of content but that they could not strike an agreement and ultimately decided to release the product with a stripped out OS. If that were the case the lack of features and function interaction snags would be understandable.

  3. Hey apple R&D..
    I little thought..
    Why did you completely ignore the lower 1/3 of the remote surface area.?
    How about turning that into an other touchpad button like the top surface.
    When turned horizontal it can automatically get activated and it can beautifuly act as a two joystick controler for two handed and more complex controls.

    It would have been soooo simple to implement.. The form factor, as is, is crying for it….its a perfect fit…
    how could u have missed this?

    Phil? TV team?

  4. OK, so this makes one of me but after using the AppleTV for about a week now, I must say it’s a massive improvement over the previous version. Everything that was within Apple’s control works and works well with the possible exception of the Apple remote for iPhone. And even here, I’m struck by how far superior the new remote is and what a massive programming challenge it will be to build that same functionality into a phone that, for example, may not have a haptic controller.

    And some of the developers have actually made it pretty easy to log on to their apps in the new AppleTV using, say, their website and the 8-letter code they throw up on the screen. I think I’ve only had to enter a passcode twice in the entire process. Pretty good for a massively new platform in my opinion.

    And I would remind folks that the iPhone when it first came out didn’t even support apps while the AppleTV has a more or less fully formed development environment right out of the gate.

    Clearly AppleTV will get better with time, as more and more developers exploit this new opportunity, but I’m not nearly as critical as y’all seem to be.

    1. I had it for four days with movies or tv shows purchased under multiple IDs – some under family sharing, some not. I entered a LOT of passwords, all strong so I was all over that 3-line cluster. I had mine for three full days and returned it on the fourth. Whether because of the different IDs or the difference in time, I was prompted for the password, every time I tried to get an app after the first day of downloading the basics. Lastly, my eyes just hurt after looking at the white screen for a period of time. I’m colorblind so that’s not all on Apple but a dark mode – available on the Mac – would have made this better. See, this is the point. In other products, Apple thought about the user experience. It even appeared that people there with different backgrounds, environments and disabilities used the products because they worked so perfectly from get-go. Here, I’m not sure a single Apple employee or person even, really sat and used this device over time. And I’m hearing all the comments about it being the first version. Let’s be honest. They changed the hardware. They added a store. Issues that make it practically impossible to use it for any length of time have nothing to do with those and this is not the first version of that interface. Likely, HOPEFULLY, they will deal with the Remote app not being supported without any forewarning, but what if they don’t? Further, why didn’t they poll users to see how we interacted before making such a drastic change without some replacement other than the mess it is now. Maybe they did. The results just are not up to standard for me. Maybe they’ve spoiled us with other things that I just love out of the box even with a little quirk here or there.

  5. We’ve been loving it. Maybe it’s because we never had NexFlix or the CBS app before (all Star Trek TV episodes) before. And Apple Music in the mix along with Plex has quickly made this our go-to media hub.

    I like the way turning on the Apple TV also turns on our TV set and then automatically goes to its HDMI connection. It also controls the TV volume which required absolutely no setup. It was able to learn the volume controls for our separate soundbar by putting the Apple remote nose to nose with the soundbar’s remote which was amazingly easy.

    The icing on the cake is being able to put any apps in the top dock, instead of what is there by default.

    Maybe I’m just easy to please, but I think the new Apple TV is awesome as is. We had the Apple TV 2nd generation which we only used for watching keynotes.

  6. I am much happier to have my Apple TV 4 in my hand unfinished, than I would be to have to wait another 6 months for them to finish it. Really, every complaint people have had about it has been easily fixable by software, with the exception of 4K and optical audio out.

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