Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Apple TV 4K 2021

Apple (MacRumors, Hacker News):

With A12 Bionic, Apple TV 4K now supports high frame rate HDR (High Dynamic Range) and Dolby Vision video, enabling fast-moving action at 60 frames per second (fps) to play more smoothly and appear more lifelike than ever before.


Apple TV uses the light sensor in iPhone to compare the color balance to the industry-standard specifications used by cinematographers worldwide. Using this data, Apple TV automatically tailors its video output to deliver much more accurate colors and improved contrast — without customers ever having to adjust their television settings.


The all-new Siri Remote features an innovative clickpad control that offers five-way navigation for better accuracy, and is also touch-enabled for the fast directional swipes Apple TV users love. The outer ring of the clickpad supports an intuitive circular gesture that turns it into a jog control — perfect for finding a scene in a movie or show. […] The new Siri Remote also has a power button that controls a TV’s power, and another for mute, making it the only remote needed while enjoying TV.

This sounds great, although $179 is still pretty steep if you don’t care about gaming or apps. With Apple TV 3 losing content, I just want a nice way to play the latest video, with a reasonable remote. This seems like overkill.

Joe Rossignol:

The new Siri Remote is included with the new Apple TV 4K and will also be sold separately for $59. The new remote is also compatible with the previous-generation Apple TV 4K and Apple TV HD. Apple also continues to sell the Apple TV HD with 32GB of storage for $149, and orders placed from today onwards will include the new Siri Remote.


Update (2021-04-20): Mark V:

So they did a whole shtick about someone looking for lost items in the couch using Find My and in the same presentation introduce a Remote that doesn’t support it? 😂

Eli Rousso:

Apple Remote Evolution, 2005-2021

Dan Moren:

Yep, the new Apple TV 4K has a Thread radio!

Update (2021-04-22): Francisco Tolmasky:

So for $10 less than the new Apple TV remote, you can get an entire Fire TV 4K Stick (which has way better voice recognition).

Benjamin Mayo:

It feels a little silly to be commending something as primitive as a TV remote, but the new Siri Remote deserves it.


The A12 chip and the overhauled Remote do just enough to serve as a signal that Apple is committed to keeping the Apple TV around. I can allay my fears about its discontinuation. But clearly, there’s a lot more to be done in the living room and I hope Apple has more coming down the pipe in both hardware and software.

Nick Heer:

The colour balancing feature is not exclusive to this new model. It works with any Apple TV that supports tvOS 14.5 and any iPhone with a Face ID array.

Juli Clover:

The newly redesigned Siri Remote, which will be sold alongside the updated Apple TV 4K and is also available on a standalone basis, does not have a built-in U1 chip and does not appear to be compatible with the Find My app.

Update (2021-05-03): Joe Rossignol:

According to Digital Trends, the new Siri Remote lacks an accelerometer and gyroscope, which allowed the original Siri Remote to function as a gaming controller. Apple even required tvOS games to support the Siri Remote following the launch of the fourth-generation Apple TV, but it dropped this requirement in June 2016.

Due to its lack of accelerometer and gyroscope, the new Siri Remote will not be compatible with motion/tilt-based Apple TV games. Instead, users will need to use the original Siri Remote or connect an Apple-certified game controller.

Ryan Jones:

I was about to say and can confirm that 64GB Apple TV is needed to store more screensavers.

I noticed my 32GB only had the ocean ones for example, switched it with the bedroom 64GB. :)

Juli Clover:

Apple has made no mention of Find My integration for the Siri Remote designed for the second-generation Apple TV 4K, but Siri responses to certain requests about the remote suggest that Apple could perhaps have such a feature in the works, or at the least, might have considered adding it.


ATP’s @siracusa : Is it better? Yes, it’s better than the worst remote ever made.

And the bit about the 50% success rate hitting the center of the button was brilliant. Replayed it a dozen times before I could go on.

John Gruber:

Apple’s position is clearly that they’re good with the Apple TV hardware platform as we know it: a premium price for a premium experience.

Update (2021-05-05): Ken Segall:

After nearly six frustrating years—six years!—one of the company’s most inexplicable design blunders was finally corrected. Hello, new Siri Remote.

Update (2021-07-02): Josh Centers:

There’s a new Apple TV on the market (see “Apple Updates Apple TV 4K; Introduces New Siri Remote,” 20 April 2021), but is it worth buying? As the author of Take Control of Apple TV, let me walk you through scenarios depending on how you watch TV now and give my recommendations.

Joe Rosensteel:

The following critique may seem harsh, but it’s honest, and it’s framed in the context of the Apple TV’s history, and the price relative to competition. There are also things I simply can’t test, like HomePod integration, Thread, Fitness+, Apple Arcade, Dolby Atmos, or other features that require hardware, or services, I’m not in possession of or subscribed to. This is a review for people that want to watch TV on their Apple TV.


By my judgment, the only storage configuration that should currently be for sale is 32 GB. Apple may make some case to justify the 64 GB tiers at a later point in time, but it’s been five and a half years of 64 GB models that don’t do anything substantially different from the 32 GB models. It could buffer content for the household, including music titles, which would make it more valuable in areas with low bandwidth during the day. Maybe an offline mode if you’re going to take this Apple TV to a cabin and want to download some movies or shows? It could download and host your Apple system software updates on your local network instead of each device in your household needing to download the same thing from Apple. iCloud files could be cached there so each time you open the Files app on iOS it doesn’t act like you just woke it up for a melatonin-induced deep sleep. Just really do something with that unused space.


There isn’t a scenario where I would wish to be put in charge of Apple (for a variety of reasons), and then send this back to development rather than release it right now.

It is important to stress that this is still an imperfect product, with several issues around general usability plaguing it for over half a decade. Adoption of the product has also been hamstrung by the pricing, and will be for the foreseeable future. Apple could cut prices at any time they wanted to, but this product seems specifically engineered to hit these targets, which means it’ll be years before anyone at Apple reconsiders their stance, and even then, an executive might say they still offer tremendous value.

2 Comments RSS · Twitter

Honestly, with so many other competing devices being so inexpensive, $60 or less, tough sell for me. If all people want is a good streaming box, hard to beat the Roku. Some might prefer the Fire TV devices or a Chromecast and that's fine as well. The remote is $50? I can buy a replacement remote or a whole new device from a different company?

Again, I am not seeing the benefit and I have owned streaming video boxes since 2008. I even had a Roku streaming audio device before that. Apple TV has some neat tricks, but definitely overpriced for most users. I say that as an ex user of the Apple TV, just not worth it for most of us. Anecdotally, I see far more Roku devices, then Fire TV devices, then Chromecast/Google TV devices, with Apple TV installations a distant fourth. These are households with iPhones and iPad too, not Apple free sites.

@Eli Rousso has an interesting photo of Apple remote design for the Apple TV. Honestly, I kind of hated the second gen remote and the glass ones did not seem very good either. Have not used the newest model, so I am going to stick with the first remote as my favorite one. In fact, I still have one or two lying around.

To be fair to Apple, some of my favorite Roku remotes are the older models, not the fancy new ones. https://www.bing.com/images/search?q=Roku%209026000010-01&qs=n&form=QBIR&sp=-1&pq=roku%209026000010-01&sc=0-18&cvid=46927839C32B4B47BDDF470784B46793&first=1&tsc=ImageBasicHover

There was briefly a newer model to that design which was rounder with different colored directional buttons, purple I think, and that was an acceptable design as well. I just hate the shortcut buttons added to every new Roku remote as they often have services not subscribed to or in the worst cases, completely dead services hardcoded into shortcuts.

Leave a Comment