Rumored details of Apple TV’s new iteration, which will make its debut at the Apple event on September 9, continue to trickle out. Given what we’ve heard thus far, the company is essentially infusing Apple TV with functions already found in competitors like Roku and Amazon Fire TV, all while putting Siri’s contextual technology and Apple’s marketing muscle behind the product.
As BuzzFeed confirmed on Wednesday, the new Apple TV will have a steeper price tag of $149 and feature both universal search across different streaming platforms and a high-powered chipset designed to browse huge streaming video libraries. Apple is thought to be using Apple TV as a way to rapidly acquire customers for its upcoming subscription video streaming service, as well as expanding its foothold in the “connected home” market.
TechCrunch reports that another big change will be Apple TV’s remote control; it is expected to have a microphone for Siri integration, physical buttons on the lower half, a top touchpad, and motion sensors embedded throughout the remote control. This should allow Apple to position its remote control as something similar to a Wii controller, expanding the market for casual iOS gaming onto your television screen.
But all this new functionality–at least in terms of capability, not execution–is rather close to features already offered by competitors. Notably, Roku introduced motion-sensing remote controls that also function as game controllers starting in 2011. But despite the inclusion of an Angry Birds game, Roku’s effort stagnated due both to a limited game catalog and poor marketing on the company’s end. In terms of Apple TV’s forthcoming Siri functionality, Amazon’s Fire TV Stick has voice-centered smart search capabilities that are believed to be similar. Universal searches of content across platforms like Netflix and Hulu are largely available through Apple’s competitors, as well.
Until final details are revealed on September 9, it seems Apple is planning on a time-honored strategy for Apple TV: offer the same features as that of competitors, but with better design and a sleeker user interface.