Looking to buy an Apple TV? You might want to wait until spring

Looking to buy an Apple TV? It’s been over two years since the last new Apple TV hardware appeared with Apple TV 4K which adding 4K compatibility to the streaming box for the first time. But, it now looks like a new model could launch in the coming weeks, as a new Apple TV product code has been spotted in an early beta for Apple’s upcoming tvOS 13.4 operating system.

Apple TV 4K and its Siri Remote
Apple TV 4K and its Siri Remote

Alistair Charlton for GearBrain:

Released to developers this week, tvOS 13.4 isn’t expected to be a major update for the Apple TV’s software — that will come with tvOS 14 in the fall. But the update does include references to a version of the Apple TV that isn’t yet on sale… The software includes references to an Apple TV with the codename T1125. This is different to the current model, which uses the code J105a…

What this means is, Apple is experimenting with a prototype of a new version of the Apple TV, and had to add its codename to the tvOS 13.4 beta to get it working with the latest operating system. It was also discovered that this prototype uses hardware based on the arm64e architecture, which is used by Apple’s A12 and A13 Bionic processors, as found in the latest iPhones and iPads. These are significantly more powerful than the aging A10 Fusion chip used by the current Apple TV.

MacDailyNews Take: A new Apple TV with a modern A-series SoC would be a boon for games on Apple TV, including Apple Arcade! And, please, can we finally get a remote that doesn’t suck this time, recently-freed Apple product designers?

Jony certainly wasn’t involved with the design of the Apple TV’s Siri Remote – unless he was drunk during the 20 minutes that were lavished on its so-called design. — MacDailyNews, November 22, 2016

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 (the raised white ring around the menu button helps, but so barely it’s astounding that Apple even bothered; it’s a bandaid on a turd). 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 larger remote, designed for hands larger than a 2-year-old’s 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.

If Jony Ive “designed” the Siri Remote, he should forfeit his knighthood*.

*But we all know Jony has been obsessed with Apple Park for many years now and likely never even saw the piece of shit remote before they threw it in the box. — MacDailyNews, September 25, 2017

For now, as always, use Apple’s excellent Remote app on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch. It works much better than the inexplicably horrid Siri Remote.


  1. I would think if Apple used the processor used in the latest iPad Pro, they could have a serious gaming console that would be a lot cheaper than a PS5 or the next XBox. I’m not comparing the game content, just processing power for mid-tier games.

  2. There was a time when the AppleTV set-top box seemed to make sense. It contained local memory so people could store media, even stuff they made themselves. People with relatively slower internet could still download UHD resolution video at (for some) a slightly lower inconvenience than driving to the local RedBox. But Apple was proud. It’s set-top box cost 50% more than any other. One would have thought that meant it would have greater capabilities. Nope. Apple could have improved this so that AppleTV took on more models in the family, with a Time-capsule-like NAS and a small cheap portable model, all highly capable of being forward-thinking and expandable as Homekit smarthome stuff expanded. It could have been the glue to hold all your Apple disposable portables together for those who just don’t have the interest or budget for super-capable Macs.

    But no, Slow Eddie was too busy watching his sports teams to care, Cook was playing SJW, and Ive was trying as hard as possible to figure out a way to remove all buttons from the remote control when everyone already had a buttonless iPhone in his/her pocket — often with a superior CPU and greater memory than later model ATVs offered. ATV became just another highly limited set-top box which did nothing functionally that the competition didn’t offer for half the price.

    After years of lackluster sales, the beancounters at Apple decided that subscriptions would solve everything. Tim Cook decided hobnobbing with Hollywood would result in exclusive must-see content to move units. Clearly Apple can throw tons of money in that pit, but the ROI doesn’t look super promising. In the already overcrowded field of onscreen fiction, nothing Apple could ever do would fit politically and attract eyeballs for the long term. And that’s all it does — the other potential functions never really materialized.

    With the Apple TV, there is no special Homekit experience or advantage. It doesn’t expand Homepod’s ridiculously limited functions. In reality, for the vast majority of people who aren’t interested in subscribing to Apple’s media stream, AppleTV is just a very expensive bridge between their portable iOS devices and their large screen at home — all because Apple has intentionally crippled iOS devices from streaming to any non-Apple monitor. Quite sad, really. But there is a way to save ~ $US 100. Buy yourself an overpriced white dongle Lightning-to-HDMI adapter cable and every Apple iOS device you own can stream to the big screen. Leave the useless AppleTV on the shelf at the Apple boutique. You can use the streaming services built into every new tele that is sold today. Borrow or buy Blu-Ray discs from your local library or online videophile store for the best actual audio & video quality, no subscriptions or streaming buffering or middlemen dataminers and ad men necessary.

    Apple TV represents Apple’s attempt to at one time take on Amazon & Netflix with a one half-assed investment in copycat hardware and zero innovation. Apple just wanted another stream of rental subscription revenue, without putting forth the effort to make AppleTV in any way indispensable. The results speak for themselves. All the die-hard Apple fans bought one, and few truly love ATV, very few have expressed any interest in subscribing to Apple’s latest media shows.

    I doubt Apple is smart enough to cut its losses, but if they had any forward-thinking people left there, Apple would make its AppleTV a software-only feature for iOS and Macs and 3rd-party televisions. Apple should allow people to stream or wire directly from their existing Apple devices directly to home teles and office projectors without any fuss (you know – “it just works”, remember when you could say that?). Sure, ATV installed natively on all the premium screens would be just another app, but that’s all it is today.

    Apple could then turn its attention to an actual growing market that would hugely benefit by improvements in security and interface: the smart home. Homekit at this time is a nacent opportunity waiting for real investment. Customers really do want simple, effective, secure ways to improve house functions. Not as a subscription media play but as a platform play to let users effectively manage what they already own. Whole-house file sharing, file archiving, and media streaming could be supported by a new family of Airport products (which, yes, could include a new better Homepod) that would usher a new era of home secure networking, where the homeowner would control his data, not some cloud vendor, and dataminers like Amazon and Google wouldn’t insert themselves as defacto platforms for IoT devices. Hard to believe nobody at Apple has anything to do this, other than the Mac. And there is no affordable home Mac server — the user has to do as much work managing a Mac network today as any Windows or Linux network… why is that Apple?

    1. Wow Mike, another winner comment. I don’t know what’s happened but you’ve condensed your writings (well, maybe not this one but you touched on multiple points and all are quite valid and useful); dropped the political griping; and you have created fun reads. Thanks for this one. I withdraw my previous harsh complaints and look forward to more of your thought.

    2. Yep, lot’s of confusion in this realm…where Apple could actually differentiate. It’s not just lacking, it’s a financial “scam,” of sorts.

      Morphing of AppleTV, HomePod and Airport/Time Machine with HomeKit functionality…I’d buy. The price would likely be scary, though.

      Mike: This “expose'” is similar to one a week/so ago about the iPad/iOS. Concrete info of the kind that I’d love to see on Cook’s desk. I dream.

  3. Excellent read and points. Except if I read correctly it seems you’re not aware that Airplay 2 is now built in to several modern TVs from many manufacturers. Some are rolling it into older models via firmware update too. I think that satisfies the software feature you’re talking about. Having Airplay 2 native in all the new TVs is a big deal. Well maybe, I don’t think its ideal to use your iPhone or iPad as the media player streaming to the TV all the time. Batteries run out, someone calls you etc.
    Another thing . I very much doubt you can connect an iOS device using that lightning / HMDI cable and still get UHD with Dolby Vision or HDR10 off the streaming services.
    Finally, alot of people claim the Dolby Vision and HDR10 content looks better coming from an Apple TV 4K than from the built-in Android-based apps. You do realize that encouraging use of the built in streaming apps is also encouraging use of Android, for most TVs anyway (gasp!) 🙂

    1. Thanks ivid.

      I actually enjoy Airplay a lot for audio. But I don’t ever use an Apple TV to do it. Airplay allows one to stream over wifi from a Mac or iPhone directly to an Airplay receiver. In my case, this one:


      IMHO, Airplay (using the greater bandwidth of WiFi) sounds noticeably better than Bluetooth on a decent sound system. That being said, latency remains an issue. Wired connections remain the best choice whenever possible. For reference, we have another room with HiFi stereo separates biwired to B&W Nautilus 803 speakers for top quality listening from uncompressed sources including SACD discs and Mac-served uncompressed digital files. Nothing wireless has ever come close to that quality level, admittedly the price alone makes it unrealistic for mainstream listeners. Just because it’s new & digital certainly doesn’t make it better — that system will expose shitty compressed audio files immediately to even the most casual listener.

      Audio- & videophiles are willing to pay a premium for quality, and I think that licensing Airplay for little/no cost to all 3rd party HiFi manufacturers may be the best way to support a healthy Apple ecosystem growth among enthusiasts. It appears that is what Apple has done in the past while it tried to figure out its video strategy. Airplay 2 expands the 1-to-1 connection to enable multispeaker streaming from one source. I haven’t seen it working on any 4K resolution TV yet, despite the promises. Sony claims it will come in a “future software update”. Do you have experience to show they have good video streaming working yet? I have the lurking suspicion that Airplay 2 video streaming is a can of worms that will only stream 4K content in ideal laboratory conditions. Besides, Apple would rather force its users to buy expensive set top boxes and subscriptions too. All the big boys in video distribution are pushing that model above all others. I’ve decided to wait for Apple to prove themselves this time around. So far new TV content is overwhelmingly weak and BluRay is better quality if you like old content, without subscription hassles from every Tom Dick and Harry who wants to sell you monthly video watching privileges.

      How many years has iTunes been around? You’d think that all these years Apple would want to make it easy to use iOS devices to wire to big screens at amazing resolutions, with great a la carte options, live sports season / team purchasing, and so forth. Clearly not. Apple intentionally keeps its white plastic adapter business both overpriced and well behind the times. Apple’s latest and greatest Lightning Digital AV Adapter ( https://www.apple.com/shop/product/md826am/a/lightning-digital-av-adapter ), offered at a ridiculous $US 49, supports only up to 1080p resolution. No 4K, no HDR, poor audio support, ZERO product support … basically just an overpriced HDMI v1.4 adapter when the rest of the world is on HDMI 2.0 and moving on past that soon. At that price, it doesn’t even come with a wall charger to keep your iOS battery from draining itself mid-movie while it warms your coffee table.

      Bottom line: it remains to be seen if Airplay 2 offers the seamless UHD video streaming it claims to. Without perfect WiFi, I doubt it. Either way, I’m in no rush to buy a new 4K television or a new Apple TV. The old Panasonic 4K TV is already adequately served by a Roku & BluRay, and the sound is all routed digitally (SPDIF) to the Yamaha amp and proper surround speakers. It just works. There is no need whatsoever to add an ATV to the mix.

  4. Apple should merge HomePod, Apple TV, a dash of HomeKit, and its Kinext acquisition. This would take the form of a sound bar but with a video camera that can be used for games, personalization (e.g., FaceID), FaceTime app, etc. It would act as a hub for HomeKit too.

    1. I would caution against bundling too many features into one device.

      For me anyway, Kinext and videocams and FaceID will never be allowed in my house. I have no desire for a soundbar or 99% of the media subscriptions currently offered. I suspect I’m not the only one who has simple tastes.

      Just start by offering a way to link all your existing stuff together in your home without subscriptions and offloading untold amounts of private data onto someone elses’ cloud server. Solve the problem of simply being able to easily share and manage files between the personal gadgets of all family members without a full-time networking engineer and without putting a single file onto a Google server. Apple cannot offer that today, for some unknown reason. They should.

      That might be a modular family of products that Apple could offer for file serving, wireless networking, home security, home automation, gaming, videoconferencing, and so forth — all doable in small purchases. Bundling usually starts with good intentions but ends up with a pile of crap you really didn’t want and tons of stupid compromises in order to keep the price of the super bundle in check.

      1. Mike is right: I bought the HDMI adapter at the Apple Store today for $49. It has a lightning female slot so one can charge your iPhone while watching video on your TV. It worked fine and instantly. Not sure if 4K but I don’t care. The damned AppleTV remote drives me crazy so I’ll use this for my extra upstairs TV and continue with the ATV downstairs as I have for a few years. Thanks Mike!

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