WWDC [2015 4th Generation] ATV Prediction Thread

Lord Hamsa

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jul 16, 2013
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We're only a handful of weeks away from WWDC, where the current rumors indicate Apple is likely to announce significant changes to the AppleTV platform.

So, time for the community to get their pundit hats on and prognosticate!

Let's see what everyone thinks is 1) likely to be announced (or released unannounced as seen in developer APIs), 2) might be announced/released, but is not likely, and 3) will definitely not be announced. Hardware and/or software predictions are fine.

What WILL be announced/released:

  • 4th-generation ATV hardware with an A8 processor and a minimum of 32 GB on-board storage, available fall 2015
  • Revamped ATV platform that turns each "channel" into a separate "app" that can be added to or removed from the base platform indpendently.
  • With the above, an "App Store" where users can select the channels/apps they want to have on their device.
  • Existing channels (other than a handful of default channels) will be migrated to "App Store" apps.
  • Apple streaming television service (bundled channels, U.S. only)

What MIGHT be announced/released:

  • Multiple storage tiers (e.g., 64GB, 128GB) at different price points.
  • Developer APIs to create "App Store" apps in time for fall product launch
  • Single sign-on for cable/satellite providers that can be used for all channels/apps that require cable/satellite authorization
  • iOS gaming support
  • UI overhaul
  • Siri integration
  • HomeKit integration

What WON'T be announced/released:

  • 4k support
  • HDMI pass-through port
  • Integrated OTA tuner
  • Ability to directly mount a USB or network drive to serve local media
  • Universal search across all channels/apps
  • ala carte channel subscription options outside of existing choices

Bonus Prediction:

  • If third-party apps will be possible for fall launch, expect Amazon Instant Video and Hulu Prime to launch on or near day 1
 

oneMadRssn

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I agree with nearly everything, except for the storage tiers. I think Apple has been working hard to make this "spec" invisible to the user. The first-gen AppleTV came in different storage tiers, and was replaced by second-gen and third-gen devices where storage was invisible and the device itself manages the cache. The Apple Watch is taking a similar approach, where the device itself manages what is stored/cached on the device, to a certain extent, and therefore the user doesn't need to concern themselves with that. I don't expect Apple will move backwards and re-introduce storage tiers in the AppleTV.
 

Childs

macrumors member
May 28, 2010
48
4
  • If third-party apps will be possible for fall launch, expect Amazon Instant Video and Hulu Prime to launch on or near day 1
Amazon Instant Video and Plex (or something similar) are the only reasons I use the ATV the least out of my streaming boxes. I'm using it more because of HBO Now, and if there is a real app store for the ATV there probably wont be any reasons to use another box.
 

d21mike

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Jul 11, 2007
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Torrance, CA
I agree with nearly everything, except for the storage tiers. I think Apple has been working hard to make this "spec" invisible to the user. The first-gen AppleTV came in different storage tiers, and was replaced by second-gen and third-gen devices where storage was invisible and the device itself manages the cache. The Apple Watch is taking a similar approach, where the device itself manages what is stored/cached on the device, to a certain extent, and therefore the user doesn't need to concern themselves with that. I don't expect Apple will move backwards and re-introduce storage tiers in the AppleTV.
What about the iPhone and iPad Storage Tiers? Not sure I would consider it going backwards. If you have a true App Store and you want to download a lot of Games but I don't then maybe you would want more storage them me. Why would you want to download a large game every time you decide to play it. Also, I would like to be able to download and store locally movies I watch a lot. Like a local Cache. I think there may be many reasons for local storage. Also, if I watch every episode of a particular tv show and as it comes out they could download to my local storage overnight. I would consider a lot of this forward thinking.

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What is Hulu Prime. We already have Hulu Plus. Is there something New?
 

oneMadRssn

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What about the iPhone and iPad Storage Tiers? Not sure I would consider it going backwards. If you have a true App Store and you want to download a lot of Games but I don't then maybe you would want more storage them me. Why would you want to download a large game every time you decide to play it. Also, I would like to be able to download and store locally movies I watch a lot. Like a local Cache. I think there may be many reasons for local storage. Also, if I watch every episode of a particular tv show and as it comes out they could download to my local storage overnight. I would consider a lot of this forward thinking.
Sure, totally. I agree there are many reasons for local storage. I'm saying I think Apple is moving away from having the amount of local storage as a distinctive spec for consumers to choose.

First, it would be going backwards because the current AppleTV doesn't have different storage tiers, and the previous one did. So it would be going back to how it was before the current generation. I can't think of a single time Apple has done that. It would be like if the next iPod nano went back to having a click-wheel.

I also doubt gaming will be a serious part of AppleTV (at least, I hope it won't). However, if gaming is a big part of AppleTV, I predict it will pull the game files from your iPhone/iPad, and not bother with permanent local storage. It will be more of an extension of your iPhone/iPad games. Sort of like DirectX + Airplay; Airplay with less lag, better framerates, etc.

Second, I think Apple would love to get rid of storage tiers on the iPhone and iPad as well. However, due to the mobile nature of those devices, they aren't always connected to a reliable internet connection and thus having the device decide what to cache isn't realistic yet. However, I bet as soon as Apple can, they will get rid of storage tiers on those devices too.

Also, look at the competition. Amazon Fire TV, Roku, Chromecast, Nexus TV. Those don't come in different storage tiers.
 

matrix07

macrumors 603
Jun 24, 2010
5,259
1,895
  • If third-party apps will be possible for fall launch, expect Amazon Instant Video and Hulu Prime to launch on or near day 1
And Plex.

I'm in two minds about Channel being App. On one hand it means game, which I'd very much like to see. On another hand I will not be able to watch HBO NOW anymore.

My prediction is if we don't have a way to use SIRI to interact with Apple TV it would be very very strange. But what I'd like to see the most is global search. Like if I wanna see this movie. Just tell SIRI and she will show me where I can find it (not only from iTunes but from 3rd party like Netflix and HBO as well), and how much it'll cost with free option on top. Or if it's not released yet she will be smart enough to tell me it will be released a month from now and I can make a Wist List right there.
 
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Che Castro

macrumors 603
May 21, 2009
5,695
525
are they going to have time to announce and show all that, is usually an hour show

apple tv hardware and os
ios 9
new mac os
new music service
apple watch os update?
maybe new macbook pro
new keyboard?
new trackpad?
new 4k thunderbolt display ?

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I agree with nearly everything, except for the storage tiers. I think Apple has been working hard to make this "spec" invisible to the user. The first-gen AppleTV came in different storage tiers, and was replaced by second-gen and third-gen devices where storage was invisible and the device itself manages the cache. The Apple Watch is taking a similar approach, where the device itself manages what is stored/cached on the device, to a certain extent, and therefore the user doesn't need to concern themselves with that. I don't expect Apple will move backwards and re-introduce storage tiers in the AppleTV.
they could have a service like playstation now where you stream the games, no hard drive needed
 

Nosauce

macrumors newbie
Mar 13, 2015
3
0
The big guess

Here's a prediction for you. I have no way to prove its veracity (without creating risk), so I guess you'll just have to take it with the same weight and skepticism as any other "guess."

My "guess" is...

A8 (which is yes, dual core 64b...)
2 GB RAM
16:9 HD (Sorry 4k fans)
Dynamically adjusting touch remote (which as of today is not as much of a surprise)

New Flat OS w/ a light white look
Separate SDK (universal purchase)
All 64 bit apps, incl games
Which means yes, availability of some iOS frameworks such as cloudkit, avkit, gamekit, spritekit, metal...
But no access to homekit, healtkit, mapkit, uiwebview, etc...
Two-up menus (like iPad/iPhone 6+)
Some universal content searching functionality, ability to interact with queues/recommendations directly from OS

...And yes, June. Which is when you can come back and see how accurate my guess is ;)
 

bounou

macrumors 6502
Jun 6, 2012
354
108
How about we finally see homekit support for something? Hue and August promised support for it last year and still no integration.
 

laurim

macrumors 68000
Sep 19, 2003
1,917
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Minnesota USA
If they turn my TV into a big light box at night I would be very very angry.
Exactly. No one in their right mind would design a white interface for a tv product.


If it doesn't have some kind of live local channels, channel guide and dvr functionality I will be very disappointed. They just need to add an OTA antenna port and a Tablo-like function with channel guide. It just occurred to me that it could be awesome to have an app that lets me be my own programming director so that I set up my day's entertainment from all my possible channels and then just sit back and let my choices just play on. I tend to watch the same shows from day to day so I could easily create an auto watch list by day and stop having to change the channel for each show.

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How about we finally see homekit support for something? Hue and August promised support for it last year and still no integration.
Yes, the TV is supposed to be the center of home automation. I have an automated garage door I can operate from my iPhone and the lights and projector in my living room are also on remote-controlled outlets. I should be able to operate them from the TV too, especially from a home theatre perspective.
 

Lord Hamsa

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jul 16, 2013
597
445
And Plex.

I'm in two minds about Channel being App. On one hand it means game, which I'd very much like to see. On another hand I will not be able to watch HBO NOW anymore.
I can see Plex being there as well. I just called out Amazon and Hulu (Plus, not Prime as I said originally, oops!) as being the ones most likely to be of importance to the general market, as opposed to enthusiasts. I wouldn't be at all surprised to see stuff from Elgato and SiliconDust as well to work with their hardware.

Channel/app is just two different ways of saying the same thing. HBO Now would still be there, the difference being that it would be an optional channel/app you choose to download as opposed to being built in to the ATV software, as channels are delivered now.

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they could have a service like playstation now where you stream the games, no hard drive needed
If games are coming, I can see having a hybrid approach of both local storage and streaming. What would be really cool is to have iPhones/iPads be able to stream games on the device over to the ATV so that they're running directly on the ATV (instead of using Airplay or Airplay mirroring to display what's going on on the other device) and then using the iPad/iPhone as the controller.

As for the multiple storage tiers discussion, that was the main reason I put it under the "might happen" category - I think the desire would be a single configuration, but that's going to depend on a lot of factors, with the most important being how much storage are "power users" with lots of apps of any type are going to need vs. the typical consumer who would be just fine with less storage. If I had to guess, I'd say there's going to be two tiers - a base model probably destined to replace the current 3rd-gen units at the $69 price point and a model with upgraded storage somewhere in the $99 to $199 range.
 

JeffyTheQuik

macrumors 68020
Aug 27, 2014
2,468
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Charleston, SC and Everett, WA
You forgot one:

It will be Thinner (TM)!

Nice list, BTW, and I'm already saving my pennies for this one!

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Will new ATV 4 sell for same $69? I hope so! :apple:
Yes! (per month...)

(sorry, couldn't resist...) ;)

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As for the multiple storage tiers discussion, that was the main reason I put it under the "might happen" category - I think the desire would be a single configuration, but that's going to depend on a lot of factors, with the most important being how much storage are "power users" with lots of apps of any type are going to need vs. the typical consumer who would be just fine with less storage. If I had to guess, I'd say there's going to be two tiers - a base model probably destined to replace the current 3rd-gen units at the $69 price point and a model with upgraded storage somewhere in the $99 to $199 range.

I hope you're right, but I can see an all in one (games, video, storage) going for the $350-$450 range, like PS/4, Wii U, and XBOX One, plus the :apple: Tax.
 

oneMadRssn

macrumors 603
Sep 8, 2011
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While I hope there will be a proper app store, an alternative possibility is there might not be a distinct AppleTV app store, albiet I think this is worse but it would more closely follow Apple's trend recently. Instead, it will function sort of like AppleWatch apps function. Apple could introduce a "tvKit" API that allows iPhone or iPad apps to also come with an ATV extension, and allow them to install that extension on available ATVs.
 

rhett7660

macrumors G5
Jan 9, 2008
12,531
2,494
Sunny, Southern California
.
What MIGHT be announced/released:

  • Developer APIs to create "App Store" apps in time for fall product launch

  • If third-party apps will be possible for fall launch, expect Amazon Instant Video and Hulu Prime to launch on or near day 1
This is what I am hoping for. Heck I am hoping they have the Apple TV and or software upgrade available within a few weeks of the announcement.
 

cal6n

macrumors 68000
Jul 25, 2004
1,936
32
Gloucester, UK
It'd be nice to see HD audio from iTunes on my Mac, or at least 16 bit 44.1 kHz AIFF, ALAC and WAV, passed to the optical out without recoding to AAC format.
 

entropyfl

macrumors 6502
Oct 12, 2009
292
134
I really hope they allow syncing from a computer like they did the first gen.

I use my apple tv everyday and in a average year my Internet will go down for about a week which renders the apple tv useless as I can't use any content at all.

Even if my wireless network is up it won't let me stream purchased tv or moves because it has to authorise.

I imagine a lot of people will have this issue at some point in the year.
 

d21mike

macrumors 68040
Jul 11, 2007
3,317
356
Torrance, CA
I really hope they allow syncing from a computer like they did the first gen.

I use my apple tv everyday and in a average year my Internet will go down for about a week which renders the apple tv useless as I can't use any content at all.

Even if my wireless network is up it won't let me stream purchased tv or moves because it has to authorise.

I imagine a lot of people will have this issue at some point in the year.
My internet is really solid so I do not have this problem. But have you considered setting a Personal Hot Spot on your iPhone? If it is only authorizing then should not take much Data.
 

dgalvan123

macrumors 6502a
Feb 16, 2008
677
12
Other than the ability to process 4k video, I don't see much benefit to most of the proposed additions here.

Why do we need an app store?
There are several dozen "apps" already on the Apple TV. I get that people would rather have an "opt-in" basis rather than "opt-out" (that is, we'd rather choose what we want to add rather than spend time "hiding" apps we don't want). But I don't see how having an ATV app store would be much different than the current situation. Either way, there are more apps or "channels" than most people are interested in. Would the only difference be opt-in vs. opt-out?
 

oneMadRssn

macrumors 603
Sep 8, 2011
5,136
11,975
Europe
Other than the ability to process 4k video, I don't see much benefit to most of the proposed additions here.

Why do we need an app store?
There are several dozen "apps" already on the Apple TV. I get that people would rather have an "opt-in" basis rather than "opt-out" (that is, we'd rather choose what we want to add rather than spend time "hiding" apps we don't want). But I don't see how having an ATV app store would be much different than the current situation. Either way, there are more apps or "channels" than most people are interested in. Would the only difference be opt-in vs. opt-out?
It's more than opt-in. The purpose of a proper app store for Apple to clearly define what is required of an app to be allowed on the AppleTV, and to allow third-party develops to submit their apps that comply with those requirements through some official channel. Currently, it seems like Apple refuses to work with some developers, works with others, and has no clear guidance or explanation as to why it picks one and not another. Put another way, right now Apple's process seems arbitrary, and an app store would allow it to be clearer and predicable.
 

Lord Hamsa

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jul 16, 2013
597
445
Other than the ability to process 4k video, I don't see much benefit to most of the proposed additions here.

Why do we need an app store?
There are several dozen "apps" already on the Apple TV. I get that people would rather have an "opt-in" basis rather than "opt-out" (that is, we'd rather choose what we want to add rather than spend time "hiding" apps we don't want). But I don't see how having an ATV app store would be much different than the current situation. Either way, there are more apps or "channels" than most people are interested in. Would the only difference be opt-in vs. opt-out?
It's more about how the Apple TV actually works. Today, for all practical purposes, Apple TV is a single application that runs on top of iOS. Every "channel" within the Apple TV is actually built into that one application, which means not only is there the opt-in vs. opt-out issue, but Apple HAS to limit which channels make it into the system to avoid bloating it to the point where it takes up too much space.

The presumption is that the new ATV would work more like other iOS devices, with the core ATV software acting as a platform from which to invoke other more-or-less independent applications. This would allow an arbitrary number of channels/apps/whatever, to exist, with an App Store type model allowing users to choose which apps/channels they want on their device.
 
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