Apple announced a bunch of new product features and enhancements, including a new Apple TV 4K with an improved Siri-enabled remote at its first digital event of 2021.
The new Apple TV 4K comes with the A12 bionic chip, high frame rate HDR and Dolby Vision video. Apple TV 4K also works with the iPhone to improve picture quality of any TV for better viewing capability. It will be available bundled with the new remote at $179 for 32GB and $199 for 64GB. Pre-orders open on 30 April and the device launches in the second half of May in more than 30 countries.
The bionic chip will significantly improve video, audio and gaming capabilities on the new TV 4K. The new remote which includes an aluminum body and clickable buttons replaces a frustrating navigation pad and breakable material, and shows that Apple is listening to its consumers.
The remote is redesigned with an iPod-like scroll wheel which will hit all the nostalgia buttons. It is backwards compatible with previous versions of Apple TV and can be purchased separately for $59.
Apple TV 4K has several rivals
Rivals Amazon, Roku and Google’s home media devices are available at multiple price ranges, providing cheaper alternatives for consumers. Amazon’s Fire TV is also differentiating itself by offering offer communication attributes with Alexa video calling at half the price of Apple. However, the new TV 4K is not designed to make a FireTV or Roku customer switch to Apple TV. It is just another vehicle for Apple’s service bundles, designed for loyal iOS consumers to remain within Apple’s ecosystem.
Apple also has a long way to go to compete with Google and Amazon’s voice assistants. Although Apple’s new TV device integrates HomeKit to project smart camera feeds on the TV, Amazon and Google’s smart home products have more choices and a wider consumer reach. Meanwhile, rival Amazon is working on its own-branded smart TV to strengthen its own ecosystem of products.
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Ecosystem is an Apple strength
Apple is also actively finding ways to make its products work together. Apple TV’s enhancements hit on how well the hardware works with the iPhone to balance and check color on any TV. Even customers with older versions of Apple TV can avail of this feature. No other rival offers that.
Apple Card enhancements announced at the same event were about bringing more family users into the fold to get them into the Apple ecosystem. The new iMac announced at the event, while seeing significant hardware developments, also highlighted the ability to hand off capabilities between the iMac and other devices, using the iPhone as an example.
The ecosystem message at Apple’s event was strong. Nearly every product announcement was about how well each product or service works together. That continues to be a significant weakness of rival Samsung.