“Apple TV” now means three things, depending on the context. It could refer to the Apple TV app that has become available on non-Apple platforms recently, or it could be the shortened form of Apple TV+, the VOD and streaming subscription service that’s available only on the Apple TV app. Originally, however, Apple TV referred to the company’s set-top box, which has almost been mostly forgotten and ignored even by Apple itself. There are, however, persistent rumors of its long-overdue revival and, given recent market trends, it might very well happen next year.
The Apple TV box had humble beginnings that reflected Apple’s somewhat lukewarm efforts to conquer the home entertainment market, at least as far as videos are concerned. The device has changed very little over the years, being given only incremental updates. The biggest was in 2015 with the 4th-gen Apple TV, its 4K capabilities, its own app store, and a new remote.
Fast-forward to today, the smart TV and set-top box landscape has changed considerably and the Apple TV is dwarfed by more affordable and more capable devices from Amazon, Google, and Roku, just to name a few. It almost seems like Apple is less interested in having its own Apple TV hardware as it spreads the Apple TV app and, therefore, Apple TV+ to more platforms and hardware outside its kingdom.
Despite that, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman says that an all-new Apple TV is coming next year, one with big changes especially in terms of performance. This rumor isn’t actually new but having a beefier Apple processor and a revamped remote control could very well fit in Apple’s long-term goals, especially when it comes to gaming.
Gaming has become an even bigger thing this year, especially with game streaming, but Apple has so far tried to keep those services at bay as much as it can. It has its own Apple Arcade ecosystem, of course, and having a more powerful box in the living room, not to mention a dedicated controller, will definitely help in raising its profile as something that’s not just for iPhones.