Apple TV A new concept in watching TV
I haven’t seen TV in years.
And this is not a comment that pretends to be intellectualoid. I like some TV shows, I love series and cinema is one of my great passions. However, for years something has changed around us for years: we think we are changing habits or setting things aside, but in reality we are replacing them with others, because our time is limited.
It’s not that I don’t like television, just that now there are many other screens that I find more interesting. It’s funny how things happen: the first big screen that came into our houses was the one that dominates all the halls, but technology has propelled others that arrived much later, and had more prominence. Smartphones, tablets, watches. All of this meant that these devices became smarter, providing more degrees of information and user interaction
-SmartTVs we know or are rough, or have mediocre app stores;Apple TV and tvOS are committed to powerful hardware and an ecosystem of developers with iOS experience-
There have been attempts, all these years. And it is to think about it: brands – especially since the time of the SmartTV – were very clear that television should be interactive, a device that brings content and information and learns from the one who sees it. We had to contribute something else, but the execution of what we knew was terrible. More than two years ago I was talking about it: Apple will get something for the TV because everyone knows what to do but nobody’s doing it right.
I’d like to talk to you about what was once an Apple hobby, this feeling I have of being back in 2007 with the birth of something huge for an industry and why – at last – television is again interested.
A moment as important as the launch of this new product deserves to review it in the appropriate detail. To do this, we have prepared a video analysis for its main features, so that you can see how it works and how it behaves in new Apple TV put in the house.
There is also a small set of product images available, so you can review them carefully and observe every detail, not only of the new Apple TV but also of the Siri Remote.
Apple TV, welcome home
There were many ways to do it. We have fantasized and speculated for years even with a tv of the brand, but we forgot something important: television and its shape is something much more measured and calculated – depending on our house – than something that we just carry in our pocket and on the wrist. The pockets, and the dolls of all of us have certain measures that when we talk about furniture increase.
There are already magnificent televisions. So the problem was not the screen, but what I was able to do. Therefore, the logical idea was to update that small hobby called Apple TV, and turn it into something completely different, but at the same time very familiar.
The external appearance is identical to the previous model in dimensions, only higher. It still has the power supply built into the enclosure (something that is very appreciated), Bluetooth 4.0 to connect external devices such as game controllers, infrared receiver and features HDMI 1.43, 802.11ac Wi-Fi with MIMO, Ethernet 10/100Base-T. In addition, 7.1 audio support has been added via HDMI in this generation.
A Gigabit Ethernet connection would have been nice, but the possibilities of the device enhance wireless connectivity in an environment where we don’t usually have cable in every house, but Wi-Fi. The new Apple TV also has a USB-C port, which in theory will be used for technical service, although as we have been telling you in wipelocker, you can use it for much more interesting things, such as emulators.
The controller becomes the protagonist
On my old 2006 MacBook Pro, I loved using the original Apple Remote (included with that computer) to use FrontRow. In my opinion, that controller had the perfect balance between simplicity and power of use, completely moving away from the traditional remote controls with hundreds of buttons that few people use.
The new Siri Remote is arguably the best evolution we could ever imagine from that concept. Maintaining the size, implements the buttons very similar to those of that model: Menu/Start, Play/Pause, Volume Up/Down and of course, the new Siri button to voice commands to tvOS. The top touch pad is built in glass and the controller itself has a dual microphone (at the top) to capture our voice. The total set weighs 47gr and is maintained in a very similar size to its predecessor.
-The new controller evolves the idea of its predecessor and brings not only comfort, but also new possibilities-
It is comfortable in the hand, very light and very pleasant to the touch: it is designed so that the hand can use it without looking at it, and with the thumb we reach all the buttons very easily. It also includes accelerometer and gyroscope, and its hard internal battery – theoretically – several months. The charging system is a Lightning cable identical to the one already have all current iOS devices, which is also included in the package.
How we can use Siri with applications depends on developers deploying their use within them; In this first-day batch of the product market, Siri perfectly controls everything related to iTunes, allowing you to order similar content, to dim the sound, fast forward… Etc. You can also launch new applications, ask for weather, sports information… Speech recognition works very similarly to an iPhone and is a very good way to interact with our TV, whose utility will be increased when developers further enhance their use.
tvOS, the real revolution of the new Apple TV
The great revolution and the real change in this fourth generation is really its operating system: finally we have an authentic version of iOS, taking advantage of the graphic capabilities offered for example by Metal by squeezing the A8 chip to the maximum. It’s this commitment to power that makes everything work better: and i’m not just talking about games and apps, but also the overall feeling when using it and navigating its interface.
As I mentioned at the beginning, I used different versions of SmartTV to manage and use applications of various brands in the market. They were terrible: it is true that they had an app store, but many of them were coarse and poorly presented. The interface moved in many cases to jumps, and although in the latest versions the power of televisions improved that, they were very unusable. That’s not to mention that the main menu desktop seemed like chaos to me: when it was updated, the main applications were changed by the manufacturer at its discretion and without warning, so that I did not have the ones i wanted, but the ones offered to me by the system. Overall, it was in 2006 again, at that time where smartphones had not yet met the iPhone.
With tvOS, Apple has hit the nail on the head for many reasons: first, and most importantly, it inherits the main strengths of a highly thought-out system and a great trajectory of iterations for years. There are many lessons learned that are now put into practice in this new canvas, and where we realize the most of this is in the interface: problement, the best among all that we can find in the market for television.
-The new Apple TV and tvOS present us with a scenario of possibilities similar to that of 2007 with the launch of the iPhone-That’s tvOS on Apple TV
And it is because of something that the company has applied using its DNA: minimal design, focus on content and a new control interface that makes it easier for the user to navigate through the sections. The design is elegant, simple, yet full of options and tremendously intuitive. Look at this last point: we are on a television, with potential users who may not have to understand – or even use – a computer or a next-generation smartphone. With TV users, it’s like we’re starting from scratch.
-The new interface for tvOS is elegant, fluid and effective: without a doubt, navigation with the new Siri Remote touch controller helps to greatly improve the experience-
The UI paradigm drinks from the original interface of the previous third-generation Apple TV to display the apps. Scrolling through the controller is tremendously natural, and we will have at our disposal many actions, among them choose what we want to see when we enter the home screen or a simple – and familiar, way for iOS users – to close background applications.
The important thing about this Apple TV is the incredible start of something like tvOS: the entry into the company ecosystem, which really sets it apart from the competition. Thanks to this ecosystem, Apple already has the best developers in the world who for years have derailed for their operating systems, so the transition from applications to tvOS should occur naturally and easily. With just two months since your announcement – and just a few days to live – we already have the «big» apps ready, and many more on the way that only add value to the product.
The cohesion I’m talking about starts, for example, from the Apple TV setup screen for the most important first step as soon as you plug it in: your network settings and Apple ID, using an iPhone or iPad. You’ll simply have to keep it within bluetooth range and your Apple TV will use the Data from the WiFi to which your iPhone/iPad is connected and you can type the ID password directly on your phone. It is missed that you can use your iPhone or iPad more times as a remote keyboard connected to your Apple TV, especially in the first settings of each application where you have to register with the user of each account. It’s definitely something Apple will probably consider with some software update.
In the operating system, we also have the possibility to use the features of the HDMI-CEC, which allows a single remote control to control the two connected devices. For example, from the Siri Remote you can turn the volume on and down your TV without having its original controller.
Special mention for the magnificent new Aero screensavers, which show incredible aerial views of some of the world’s most famous cities.Special for the magnificent new Aero screensavers, which show incredible aerial views of some of the world’s most famous cities.
Therefore, tvOS is the great promise and the main «gift» that the Apple TV brings us: a quality operating system, governed by the already known 64-Bits A8 (also used in the iPhone 6), with a perfectly thought-out interface, elegant and executed to perfection combined with the Siri Remote. Beyond all this, the big change: apps, which add value every day and the cornerstone with which Apple wants to revolutionize – and with this device can achieve it – smart TV systems.
Apps for Apple TV, we’ve been waiting for you
We’ve been waiting for them for years: app stores have been the Holy Grail of smart devices and one of the main engines of their takeoff. Today, we do not understand such a technology without a good store that foodands and increases its features. In the smart TV market, with other systems – such as the already mentioned SmartTV – attempts to adopt something similar with certain guarantees of success were complicated. Apple has developers on its side and that’s hard to beat.
With the entry of the Apple TV with an operating system as studied as tvOS and a potential development team producing applications for the platform from the moment of its announcement, the limit of Apple’s new product is difficult to measure. Since it was announced in the keynote of September 9 (not even two months ago), we already have applications that in themselves justify the purchase of the Apple TV.
Netflix has its own application for the system and is an application as we expected to find in such a system: spectacular, showing detailed information of each series or movie, and it is very comfortable to handle it with the controller. Playback is fast and the elegant interface works smoothly.
Another essential – for me, elevated to the category of essential – is Plex. Appearing only one day before the time of writing this article, Plex turns our Apple TV into a complete client where we can see the contents of our Plex server. The interface, again, outstanding: spectacular, comfortable to handle, and with the functionalities that we already use in other devices. Again, it highlights the use of the comfortable controller to use it quite naturally.
There are more great apps that are being passed on to the Apple TV, which could become a new medium in itself when it comes to streaming and consuming content. Tripadvisor turns travel planning into something fun from the living room, and Airbnb is even a fresh air in the way you register the user without having to use the on-screen keyboard.
One application that has surprised me to find myself on TELEVISION, is Madefire: a comic reader for the screen of our living room that also brings movement, depth and even sounds. Each vignette occupies the entire screen and is a delight to read in this original way, although they must be the comics that the system itself has for sale in-App, with the appropriate resolution and pre-production that each number needs to suit the system. At the moment, we can’t read any comics that aren’t on the platform, but I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before someone launches on the App Store – if they haven’t come out while I’m writing these lines – a Comic Zeal or similar.
In a quick review of the Apple TV App Store – which I remember is barely two months old, and a few days open to the public – I discovered some less well-known gem, such as Free Classic Movies. It’s a completely free application that allows you to watch some of the more than 90 classic movies available on Archive.org. Classic movie lovers will love the idea like I do.
For access to our files over the network, there are already some good solutions. Plex is definitely my number one choice for multimedia content, but you also have Video Explorer, or NAStify to be able to access through the SMB protocol of your NAS, UPnP or files shared on the local network in a simple and effective way.
Games are moved to the big screen
Actually they already were: on iOS, there are many titles that use the second screen feature to display the main screen on TV, and the controls on the device. Real Racing comes to mind, for example. However, with Apple TV we talk about games designed specifically to be played on a TV, and with the Siri Remote (or external controller). There is no touch screen here, although you can also play some titles from your iPhones, for example if you have a visit at home.
The avalanche of upcoming titles doesn’t stop some of them from being very well thought out for the first week of Apple TV release, I’m talking about Crossy Road (which we’ve already seen in the keynote of Last 9 September), an addictive title, fast to play and perfect adapted for television. A good example of this first batch of casual games with which the brand wants to identify its Apple TV turned into a gaming console, at least at this stage of introduction.
One of the first things you have to do when you purchase your Apple TV, is to enter the purchased section of the App Store and check how many of the apps you have already purchased have a version for tvOS (you can download them for free). Here I had the pleasant surprise to see that one of my favorite games for iOS, Space Age, had a fantastic version for nostalgic 8-Bit eras like me. The use of such a graphic adventure, with the Siri Remote, is very simple: the touch surface to move the cursor and aim by clicking at the same time, just holding the controller and without losing sight of the screen.
In the case of sports games, it is possible to use the controller as if it were a steering wheel, and it works quite well. The controller can give a lot of play because, beyond using controls from third companies (such as the SteelSeries Nimbus, although from Applsphere we have taught you one more), the Remote itself is comfortable and easy to use and we will always have it at your fingertips if we are using the Apple TV.
With all this, the games section may be one of the most future on tvOS: we start with the casuals but it is clear that the future is that companies carry their flagship titles to the new platform. Using the controller will bring extra value and a new dimension to the games we already know on iOS that developers only start to discover. Apple TV has a fantastic future in this field, and in possible new accessories to play, for example, connected by Bluetooth.
What Apple TV do I buy, 32 or 64GB?
The new Apple TV is sold in two models, with exactly the same features, but two storage sizes 32GB or 64GB. And as with every new Apple device, when it comes to buying it, we’ll always wonder: What size to choose? In the case of Apple TV, it’s relatively easy, because even the least capable model has enough to enjoy it to the fullest.
-The 32GB model is sufficient for almost anyone, thanks to the tvOS on-demand download system-
The main reasoning is what you’re going to use it for: if you want it to play, it’s what it takes the most. The big games can consume up to 1.5 or 2GB, but tvOS has a fantastic feature: it doesn’t download the whole game at once, but it downloads it as the operating system anticipates that the user will consume it. In this way, we won’t end up with our memory with apps or games that we don’t squeeze to the fullest. The operating system also helps to control what we store on the hard drive, even the MB that the new Aerial screensavers occupy, in case we prefer to rush that space (600MB) for applications.