Here’s everything you need to know about the new Apple TV, including the latest release date, price, features and spec rumours.
Apple TV 2021 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 in recent years, with Apple unexpectedly releasing new products like the iPad Pro 2020 and MacBook Air 2020 via press release with very little fanfare.
Leaker Jon Prosser claimed that an updated Apple TV 4K was ready to ship back in May 2020 and YouTube channel iUpdate and The Verifier suggested that we should've seen a new Apple TV on the market before the end of 2020, but as we now know, that didn't happen.
New Apple TV 4K with A12X - 64GB/128GB ready to ship. ?— Jon Prosser (@jon_prosser) May 7, 2020
Codename: Neptune T1125
Another one of those things that could drop any time. Apple got no chill right now ??
I’ll let you know if/when I hear a date. Who knows, maybe Apple can keep it a secret from me ?
Not much else was said about the Apple TV in 2020, suggesting that timelines had slipped, but Jon Prosser has claimed in a March 2021 tweet that the new Apple TV is "ready" according to his sources, suggesting that we could see it make an appearance at the Spring event confirmed to take place on 20 April.
Given the fact that references to an updated Apple TV remote have been found within iOS 14.5, rumoured to drop around the same time as the April event, it seems likely that we'll see the new Apple TV then - here's how to watch the Apple event live if you're curious.
Apple TV 2021 price
You can pick up the current Apple TV 4K in two specifications - 32GB and 64GB - 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 new Apple TV 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.
Apple TV 2021 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 (now debunked) Apple TV 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 32- 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.
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.
Jon Prosser, who accurately predicted various details about the iPhone SE and MacBook Pro, confirmed the upgraded storage mentioned above and also claimed that the new Apple TV would feature the same A12X chipset found in the 2018 iPad Pro range, although something more recent - like the A14 Bionic - seems more likely.
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.