Is a new Apple TV box on the way?
James R | On 12, Apr 2014
A new Apple TV set top box may be on the way.
Apple have previously downplayed their set top box, describing it as a “hobby”.
Now, though, Apple have hinted that they are not so dismissive of the streaming device sector.
“It’s a little more difficult to call it a hobby these days,” Cook said at the company’s annual meeting in February.
The company’s set top box, which costs £99, allows users to stream content from iTunes and Netflix and other providers. It has been on the market for years, but never quite caught the public attention in the same way that the iPod, iPhone and iPad have.
Nonetheless, Apple sold more than $1 billion worth of the boxes last year and is now investing heavily in the next generation of products, Chief Executive Tim Cook said at the meeting. Those products may well include an update to Apple TV, judging by new documents.
A regulatory filing from Comcast and Time Warner Cable to US Federal Communications Commission revealed that the company is considering “development of an Apple TV set top box”.
The document was filed ahead of Apple’s partnership with Comcast in the US – and follows Google and Amazon entering the streaming device market with their own set top boxes or dongles.
“You can see we’re getting ripped off left, right and sideways,” said Cook.
There have been rumours that an update to Apple TV is on the way since 2012, while one report from the Wall Street Journal this year said that Apple’s partnership with Comcast would involve a box to stream TV, although licensing issues were delaying the product’s release.
Apple is also expected to add games to this set top box, which would rival Google’s Android TV and Amazon’s Fire TV, both of which will be based on the Android operating system and be compatible with gaming apps.
Amazon’s box was unveiled in the US last week – no UK release date is confirmed – and sees the online retailer’s transaction video on-demand service enter into more direct competition with Apple’s iTunes store.
Whether Apple respond to these new wave of products or not, one thing is certain: the streaming device market in the UK is only just warming up.