The Apple TV 4K is a great bit of kit, offering a way for Apple fans to enjoy the likes of Apple TV+, Netflix, Amazon Prime, YouTube and more in 4K HDR, but with every tvOS upgrade, it gets a little bit slower. Combine that with the fact that the A10 Fusion chipset struggles to run the majority of Apple Arcade titles in 4K at a playable frame rate, and it’s clear to see that the Apple TV is due for a refresh soon.
It looks like that’ll be the case, with references to the so-called “Apple TV 6” spotted in tvOS 13.4 beta code and recent reports claiming that it’ll pack an upgraded processor and increased storage. Here’s all you need to know about the new Apple TV, including the latest release date, price, features and spec rumours.
Apple TV 2020 release date
Apple last updated the Apple TV back in 2017, but unlike the iPhone, Apple doesn’t tend to stick to the same release schedule with the Apple TV. That has been ramped up further recently, with Apple randomly releasing new products like the iPad Pro 2020 and MacBook Air 2020 via press release with very little fanfare, and although some expect this is to do with Coronavirus, it’s something Apple has been doing for a couple of years now.
With that being said, joint reports from YouTube channel iUpdate and The Verifier suggest that we should see a new Apple TV on the market sometime before the end of this year. We’d take that with a pinch of salt right now, with the Coronavirus outbreak having an effect on supply chains and retail stores worldwide, but it’s good to know that a release should be on the cards soon.
Apple TV 2020 price
You can pick up the current Apple TV 4K in two specifications - 32 GB and 46GB - for £179/$179 and £199/$199 respectively. This puts the Apple TV comfortably at the high-end of the market, with key rivals like the 4K HDR-enabled Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K retailing at £49/$49, and you can pick up a Google Chromecast Ultra for £69/$69. In fact, the only real high-end competitor to the Apple TV is the £149/$149 Nvidia Shield TV.
While we’d love to say that the Apple TV 2020 will be cheaper than the current range, we highly doubt Apple will drop the price. After all, it offers the fourth-gen Apple TV for £149/$149 and that, in Apple’s eyes, is the budget-friendly option.
Don’t expect Apple to drop the price of the Apple TV 4K when the new model comes out either - we fully expect Apple to drop the current 4K from its lineup, keeping the older fourth-gen Apple TV as a cheaper alternative. After all, it’s what Apple did with the Apple Watch range when the Series 5 was released, ditching the near-identical Series 4 but continuing to offer the older Series 3 alongside the Series 5.
Apple TV 2020 features and spec rumours
The first hint about the existence of a new Apple TV came with the release of the tvOS 13.4 beta code. As reported by 9to5Mac, the beta code revealed a new Apple TV with codename “T1125”, with the T representing an internal model - probably a prototype - that isn’t quite ready for prime time just yet.
While the code didn’t reveal the specifics of the unannounced Apple TV, it did suggest that the new hardware would be based on the arm64e architecture - the same as what’s used in the A12 and A13 Bionic chipsets, representing a huge step forward from the ageing A10 Fusion chip found in the Apple TV 4K. The resolution will stay at 4K, suggesting that the upgraded power will be used to improve Apple Arcade game performance - an issue that plagues the current-gen hardware.
As well as predicting the Apple TV 2020 release date, iUpdate and The Verifier jointly reported a few key details about the upcoming set-top box. The storage is set to be upgraded from 23- and 64GB to 64- and 128GB respectively, offering more space for users to download Apple Arcade titles, and although it won’t be exclusive to the new model, the upcoming Apple TV will launch alongside a new Kids Mode. The idea is that parents can create separate accounts for the kids with finer controls over the apps that can be accessed.
The reports also claim that the new version of tvOS, said to be released at the same time as the Apple TV, will introduce Screen Time to the range. It’s also claimed that Apple is working on a “redesigned Apple TV+ with a greater focus on content” but key details of the redesign are unclear right now.
A separate report from 9to5Mac claims that a new Apple TV remote is in the works, as discovered via leaked iOS 14 code, but details about new features are scarce right now.