A weekend with the brand new Apple TV
The iPhone 6S and iPad Professional are cool and all, however the Apple gadget that I used to be most wanting ahead to this fall was the new Apple TV. It’s, fairly notoriously, the gadget that Apple has most publicly uncared for through the years. Its final massive replace was means again in 2012, when Apple lastly added 1080p help. And even that third-gen Apple TV wasn’t too thrilling, because it seemed precisely the identical because the one launched in 2010. So yah, it was about time Apple completely rethought its strategy to TV. After lastly getting to check one out over the weekend, I discovered that the brand new fourth-era Apple TV was well worth the wait — although there are nonetheless loads of points to iron out.
All the things concerning the new Apple TV feels totally different: The system itself seems like two of its predecessors stacked collectively. On the rear, there are HDMI, Ethernet and USB-C ports (sorry, optical audio followers). As an alternative of the minimalist silver distant Apple has relied on for years, it sports activities a bigger wi-fi distant that appears a wierd mixture of iPhone and MacBook design. There is a touchpad on prime that feels about as clean as a MacBook’s touchpad, and the underside half is roofed in glass, harking back to the iPhone four. It has buttons for voice search, “Menu” (which principally serves as a again button), and “House,” in addition to play/pause and quantity buttons (which controls quantity in your TV or receiver over HDMI).
The again of the distant is all metallic, with rounded edges resembling the iPhone 6. Oh, and it fees over a Lightning cable now, which is especially helpful because the distant’s movement controls could be a little bit of an influence drain. General, it merely feels nice, whereas the final Apple TV distant feels outrageously dated by now.
Establishing the brand new Apple TV is a superb instance of the tight integration Apple can obtain with its units. After pairing the distant wirelessly, you possibly can simply maintain an iOS system close to the Apple TV to switch your wi-fi and Apple ID credentials. You will need to enter your Apple ID password in your iOS system, however that is nonetheless a greater onboarding expertise than having to sort with the onscreen keyboard.
The opposite huge change is tvOS, the iOS offshoot powering the brand new Apple TV. as an alternative of the darkish and easy decor of the final Apple TV, the tvOS interface is all about brilliant colours that pop on its white background. Sure, you might name it an evening and day distinction. Surprisingly, there’s little or no put in in your Apple TV residence display once you first begin utilizing it. You will should jump over to the app retailer so as to add providers like Netflix, Hulu, and HBO Now.
At this level the app retailer has a lot of the fashionable choices from the final Apple TV, together with a plethora of video games and a handful of apps that exhibit completely new experiences. Unusually sufficient, the brand new QVC app is likely one of the greatest examples of what builders can do with tvOS: It exhibits off stay TV feeds, together with choices to purchase merchandise proper from the Apple TV. Late-night time buying simply obtained a bit extra harmful.
Relating to maneuvering round tvOS, the brand new distant is a dream. Its trackpad presents a degree of fluidity that by no means would have been attainable with a standard directional pad. There are downsides, although, in terms of exact choices. Its straightforward to overshoot or undershoot with the trackpad once you’re aiming for a specific piece of content material, or one thing on the menu. And it is a disgrace that the brand new on-display keyboard feels simply as dangerous as searching and pecking on the previous Apple TV. It contains a single line of characters that it’s a must to swipe forwards and backwards to pick. Even worse, Apple hasn’t up to date its distant app to help the brand new Apple TV but, which was all the time a fantastic fallback for prolonged on-display typing, and there isn’t any Bluetooth keyboard help but. Hopefully you will not need to do an excessive amount of typing after establishing your favourite streaming providers.
It is fairly clear that Apple spent far more time desirous about voice search this time round than it did textual content enter. You simply want to carry down the microphone button on the distant to activate Siri, after which ask it for particular titles, actors or administrators. You’ll be able to even ask it questions naturally, like “present me some new horror films.” Better of all, Siri does not simply fetch you outcomes on iTunes, it’s going to additionally provide you with a warning if one thing is on Netflix, Hulu and HBO Now, along with different providers. Sadly, Siri cannot search your private iTunes library or community shares but, however I am hoping that is added ultimately.
On the gaming aspect, I used to be stunned simply how good some video games seemed on my TV, although every thing I examined like Rayman Adventures and Crossy Street are principally simply cellular ports. Apple requires that each one video games help the distant, which is good for compatibility functions, however tough because the trackpad is not very exact for some video games. It’s also possible to wirelessly join a PC gaming controller to it as properly. however I wasn’t capable of check a type of out but, sadly. There is definitely loads of gaming potential right here, however the Apple TV will not be changing your gaming console anytime quickly. On the very least, it is now on par with Amazon and Roku’s set-prime gaming efforts.
As good because the interface and distant upgrades are, the brand new Apple TV does not help 4K video, which could be deal breaker for many individuals with shiny new TVs. That is a specific disgrace, since 4K is one thing each the brand new Roku four and Hearth TV are touting as key options. I am not dashing to leap into 4K but both, however having it might have been a pleasant option to future-proof the brand new Apple TV. Because it stands, you’ll be able to guess that 4K is one thing subsequent yr’s mannequin will help.
I am nonetheless within the midst of testing out the brand new Apple TV, so verify again in for a full evaluate later this week.
- Key specs
- Sort Audio / video participant
- Video providers iTunes, Netflix, YouTube, Different
- Audio providers iTunes
- Video codec help h.264 / AVC, Movement JPEG, MPEG-four, Quicktime
- Audio codec help AAC, MP3, WAV
- Video outputs HDMI (1&#one hundred sixty;outputs)
- Audio outputs by way of HDMI, TOSLINK (optical)
- Launched 2012-03-sixteen