Thurrott: Two years later, Apple will undo its Apple TV embarrassments

“Apple is about to right at least some of the many wrongs it inflicted on its customer base when it first shipped the still-current Apple TV back in 2015,” Paul Thurrott writes for Thurrott.

“That device, you may recall, arrived with three major issues at a time when its competitors were racing ahead. It lacks 4K/UHD support, which was unforgivable two years ago, let alone today. It lacks HDR support, a failing tied to the lack of 4K/UHD capabilities that ensures that picture quality isn’t as good as it can be today on modern sets,” Thurrott writes. “And its remote, with its awkward swipe- and touch-based interface, is a user experience disaster of epic proportions. It’s so bad, it makes the previous Apple TV remote—once the worst remote ever made—seem decent by comparison.”

“I’ve not seen any news about an improvement to the remote, but there are at least workarounds: The Apple TV app for iPhone works OK, especially for text entry. And there are even third party remotes that work with the new Apple TV too,” Thurrott writes. “But Apple is fixing what I consider to be the biggest issues with the Apple TV. And in doing so, it is taking a major, if belated step forward that could propel this device ahead of the competition. It is finally making a version of the Apple TV that supports 4K/UHD and various forms of HDR.”

MacDailyNews Take: When we fully agree with Paul Thurrott, you know Apple truly screwed the pooch.

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Better two years late than never, right?

Now, at this late date, there’s lots of ground for Apple to make up here and that’s their own doing; they gifted their rivals the lead they once owned thanks to sheer bad design, inexplicably bad decisions, and protracted inactivity.

Hey, HomePod firmware: Thanks, again and again and again…

SEE ALSO:
Apple’s leaked HomePod firmware reveals Apple TV with 4K UHD, 10-bit HDR and Dolby Vision – August 6, 2017
UK iTunes movie purchase receipts hint at upcoming 4K support – July 28, 2017
Belated 4K and HDR may not be enough for meh Apple TV to win the living room – February 17, 2017
Apple vowed to revolutionize television; currently prepping an unremarkable 4K Apple TV instead – February 16, 2017
Apple TV: Still not ready for prime time – February 15, 2017
Apple hires Amazon’s Fire TV head to run Apple TV business – February 8, 2017
Apple’s new TV app shows just how painfully behind Apple is – December 14, 2016
Are you ready for 4K TV? Apple TV isn’t. – November 28, 2016
Apple has no idea what they’re doing in the TV space, and it’s embarrassing – November 3, 2016
Hulu inks deals with Fox and Disney, adding ESPN, Fox News and more to forthcoming live service – November 1, 2016
Apple’s Eddy Cue: Nope, we don’t want to be Netflix – October 20, 2016
Google signs up CBS for planned web TV service to debut in early 2017; close to deal with 21st Century Fox – October 20, 2016
Apple’s Eddy Cue: Nope, we don’t want to be Netflix – October 20, 2016
Apple’s Eddy Cue alienated cable providers and networks with an assertive negotiating style – report – July 28, 2016
Here comes á la carte programming – without Apple – July 13, 2016
Apple TV 4 is a beta product and, if you bought one, you’re an unpaid beta tester – November 5, 2015

36 Comments

  1. That ATV4 was such a disaster, my friends and I went to Roku.

    The remote is a perfect example of Apple hubris. It was all about style and not function. It’s an ergo disaster and barely usable. It makes the previous remote brilliant.

    At least with my Roku remote. I can see what is up and what is down. Even a freshmen design student can design a better remote than what Ives did. That thing is a disgrace and Ives should be ashamed of the turd he laid.

    1. I may be alone in liking the ATV4 remote, but I do agree that the vertical symmetry was a big mistake. However, it’s easily remedied if you don’t mind using any number of cases available for it. I have inexpensive silicone cases on mine and they feel/work great.

        1. I can’t tell if you’re being sarcastic, but no, Apple wouldn’t have done that. Like I said, “it was a mistake”. It’s just that 3rd parties have corrected for it.

          I personally have no problem spending a few bucks to end up with a remote that meets my needs.

          Also, I happen to prefer the trackpad mechanism. It’s much easier for me to swipe to scroll as opposed to click… click… click… click my way through things.

          But for anyone else, there are 3rd party remotes as well, so have at it.

          1. I will admit to a bit of sarcasm, but IMO Apple is no stranger to creating small markets in peripherals and accessories intentionally.

            I like your trackpad mechanism idea. Maybe Apple could have designed the remote like their buttonless mouse. Just a smooth narrow stick that was completely touch interface.

  2. I love my ATV4. Don’t love the remote. Case helps, but shouldn’t need a case to tell up from down. Will be bummed if I had to buy another to get 4K, but really don’t notice the lack of 4K now. Looks great on my TV (UHD) now. Played 4K via amazon and wasn’t as impressed as I thought I would be.

  3. I’d hardly call it a disaster. I don’t have a 4k tv and my internet connection wouldn’t support it. It certainly wouldn’t support it for every tv I have in my house. The biggest problem was the remote. I constantly end up pausing things by touching the trackpad in the dark.

  4. The AppleTV has been a disaster. They promised us content so we could cut the cord and they didn’t deliver .this is one of my biggest disappointments with Apple. I’m not buying a new Apple TV until they solve the content problem.

  5. …” thanks to sheer bad design, inexplicably bad decisions, and protracted inactivity.”

    Hmmm, I thought you were talking about the 2013 Mac Pro. Let’s hope Apple ceases making these kind of easily avoidable mistakes selling products either people don’t want or with underwhelming & dead end capabilities.

  6. Apple does this on purpose. Holds back features and slowly improves specs to that people are motivated to purchase the newest models. Could have they put all of these in the ATV4? Sure. But why. People bought the ATV4 and now they are going to buy the ATV5 too.

    1. Apple never has and never will do what you suggest.

      Think about the logic in that. Any feature/spec that Apple were to hold back on would provide disincentive for that model’s purchase as well as the possibility of driving a potential entrant into the ecosystem into that of a competitor.

      People bought the ATV4 and now they are going to buy the ATV5 too.

      And a lot of people didn’t buy an ATV4, some of whom purchased a Roku, Shield, Fire TV, Chromcast, etc…

    2. In so doing, former Apple enthusiasts will tire of Apple’s poor treatment and will accelerate their move to Roku or streaming BluRay players from companies that act like they listen to end users.

  7. Still using an ATV2. Runs relatively well. Albeit, still have a 720P TV. May update when a new one comes out. . . . but will likely need to get a new TV to take advantage.

  8. I have to admit, I am a bit confused. I really love the apple remote… and I am not sure why the old remote was “once the worst remote ever made”. I found that one simple to use, and vastly more responsive than the 812 button remote on my cable.

    1. The remote works great with the ATV interface..what it does is great..how it was designed..not so much. Siri button location, and lack of tactile up or down are issues..bad design.

      Can’t see how anyone can complain about the Apple TV itself though. Content is not part of the device..it’s lack of deals made from management that is an issue..as well as providers like Charter that are not considering how bad their own solutions are.

  9. …and I say the as an avowed Apple fan. People sometimes act as if Apple were infallible in the “old days” under Steve Jobs. The truth is, Steve just had a way of making people forget past transgressions, or even look past current shortcomings to the vision of what the products would evolve to become.

    Should AppleTV 4 have been 4K-compliant. Sure. But back in 2015 it really didn’t impact that many people. Even today, many people still have 1080p HDTVs (I am one of those people), so it is not currently a big deal to them, or me. In addition, there was the lack of 4K content and the ability to stream it.

    In my opinion, this is typical Apple – now that the new, more efficient codec is available, which makes 4K content more practical, Apple is jumping into the game. Gripe all that you want, the lack of 4K support in the AppleTV 4 is water under the bridge.

    Now the user interface/remote issues and lack of compelling content deals – that is on Apple and Cue.

    1. Just because you have some type of (outmoded) TV doesn’t mean everyone does. I’ve had homes full of 4K TVs since before the ATV4 came out. ATV4 was outmoded the day it launched and now it’s almost two years old!

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