New Apple TV (2015) review: So much potential, at present wasted

“It’s now 16 months since Apple released the fourth iteration of its Apple TV, and in that time I’d love to say that it has come of age, with new applications making it a must-have presence underneath your television,” Ian Betteridge and David Court write for Alphr. “I’d like to say that – but in truth, at this point, I just can’t.”

“Despite the promise of the hardware and of an iOS platform for the big screen, at the moment there’s no compelling reason to buy the Apple TV unless you’re someone who lives in the Apple content eco-system,” Betteridge and Court write. “Want 4K streaming? You’ll need to buy an Amazon Fire TV box instead.”

“The biggest change, though, is to the Apple Remote. Gone is the tiny, silver thing that you inevitably lost down the back of the sofa, and in its place comes a slightly larger, sleek, black glass and metal remote, which you’ll probably also lose down the back of the sofa,” Betteridge and Court write. “It’s also afflicted by some annoying quirks that you only notice over an extended period of use. There’s no physical indication of which way round you’re holding it, which means you often pick it up, point towards the TV, and realise you’re holding it the wrong way round. A tiny dimple would have given enough tactile clue to the user – but that, of course, would have ‘ruined’ the remote’s smooth lines. The remote’s design is one of those funny occasions when Apple’s love of symmetry and design has triumphed over usability.”

MacDailyNews Take: Yup.

With the Siri Remote, users can’t tell which end is up in a darkened room due to uniform rectangular shape. The remote is still too small, so it gets lost easily. All buttons are the same size and similarly smooth. Only the Siri button attempts to be different, but the slightness of its concavity is too subtle to matter; a raised dot on the button would have been much easier for users to feel. The tactile difference between the bottom of the remote vs. the upper Glass Touch surface is too subtle as well; this also leads to not being able to tell which end is up. A remote with a simple wedge shape (slightly thicker in depth at the bottom vs. the top), as opposed to a uniform slab, would have instantly communicated the proper orientation to the user. — MacDailyNews, December 9, 2016

“Apple has released a beta version of tvOS 11, due out in final form in Autumn, and the only significant changes from a user perspective are the ability to sync how your screen is layed out across Apple TV devices, and a new ‘dark mode.’ It’s all a bit meh,” Betteridge and Court write. “Apple TV, unlike Apple Watch, feels like a product that was developed in a silo, which is a shame.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: The “new” Apple TV (2015). That speaks volumes.

The depth of Apple’s obvious confusion over Apple TV is as perplexing as it is annoying.

Earth to Tim: Get somebody in there who can do the fscking job, for Jobs’ sake!

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Jeremy Clarkson confirms new post-Top Gear Amazon Prime show will be in 4K – November 20, 2015
Apple TV and the 4K Ultra HD conundrum – October 8, 2015
Amazon unveils $100 Fire TV box 4K video support, Alexa voice control – September 17, 2015
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Apple exploring entry into original entertainment production – August 31, 2015
Top Gear’s Clarkson, Hammond and May sign with Amazon Prime for new show to debut in 2016 – July 30, 2015


  1. “Apple has released a beta version of tvOS 11, due out in final form in Autumn, and the only significant changes from a user perspective

    That’s a bit misleading to limit it to “a user perspective”. One HUGE change that’s a harbinger of something big is the addition of native HEVC decoding.

    For some of us, that already is a huge deal from a user perspective (a large percentage of my library is already HEVC), but likely very soon it will mean that Apple will start offering movies and shows in HEVC (better quality to bit rate ratios) and this change is probably coming (in part) because Apple will soon release a 4K capable Apple TV 5.

  2. It is my understanding that one doesn’t need to point the Siri Remote in any particular direction-not even toward the tv. It works from anywhere in the room. Hasn’t it been like that for awhile now?

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