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Apple today announced the first hardware update for its Apple TV set-top box since 2017.
The most significant upgrade to the Apple TV 4K is the addition of the A12 Bionic chip, the same processor used in the 2019 iPad Air, iPad mini, and the 2020 iPad. It’s hardly Apple’s newest system-on-a-chip (that honor goes to the A14, currently on the iPhone 12), but it’s a significant step up from the A10X processor on the previous Apple TV 4K. The upgraded processor should mean faster loading and switching between apps and generally smoother performance.
The new Apple TV 4K also features a redesigned remote. Its aluminum body sports a circular navigation pad and a side-mounted Siri button for using voice commands.
Apple also introduced a new color balance tool for the Apple TV 4K. It uses the camera of a compatible iPhone aimed at your TV to measure color levels, and adjust the media streamer’s output for better accuracy.
All of the previous Apple TV 4K features are present on the new media streamer, including support for 4K video with high dynamic range (HDR) compatibility in HDR10 and Dolby Vision, Apple AirPlay 2 media streaming (along with a new high-framerate HDR video-streaming mode), Apple HomeKit hub functionality, Apple Arcade access with wireless gamepad compatibility, and the Siri voice assistant.
Prices also remain the same: $179 for the version with 32GB of storage and $199 for the 64GB model. That’s still high compared with other media streamers, though. Most 4K-capable streamers like the Chromecast with Google TV, Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K, and Roku Ultra, are between $50 and $100.
The 1080p-capable Apple TV HD will also be available with the new Siri Remote for $149, and the remote will be sold separately for existing Apple TV owners for $59. The new Apple TV 4K ships in May, but you can pre-order starting April 30.
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