Everything You Need to Know About the 4K Apple TV

Apple may not have as large a presence in the streaming game as it does in the world of computers and smartphones, but the Apple TV streaming box is still a popular choice, especially for those with a vested interest in the tech giant’s patented ecosystem. If you want to turn your dumb TV into a smart one, the Apple TV offers much of the same functionality as streamers like Amazon’s Fire TV and Roku‘s suite of devices — plus, it’s got iOS-specific features like AirPlay support.

It’s been two years since Apple released the most recent iteration of the streaming box, however, and even then it didn’t exactly boast the best specs or the newest tech. By now, the current model is hopelessly outdated, leaving Apple devotees high and dry when it comes to features like 4K and HDR support. At long last, rumors have begun to fly regarding a brand new Apple TV model. While details are still in short supply at this point, we’ll be collecting all the news and rumors about the new box below.

Keep reading to find out everything we know about the new Apple TV.

4K and HDR support imminent?

According to a report released on August 24 by Bloomberg, the rumors were true: Apple is going to unveil a new iteration of the Apple TV, one with support for 4K Ultra HD playback and HDR, finally catching up with its rivals in the streaming space.

The report suggests the tech giant plans to officially announce the new set-top streamer in September, alongside three new iPhone models and a new Apple Watch. The news comes on the heels of a report by Parks Associates, which revealed that Apple held only a 15 percent share in the streaming device market, trailing Roku (at number one), Amazon, and Google, respectively. Since the most recent Apple TV released in 2015, those companies have continually updated their offerings, adding support for 4K and other cool features, while Apple has not.

Apple will need to strike deals with 4K content creators and, according to Bloomberg, the company has been in contact with movie studios about offering 4K Ultra HD films via iTunes.

iTunes tells the tale

In February, reports swirled that Apple was in the process of testing a new Apple TV — one capable of supporting 4K Ultra HD resolution and High Dynamic Range (HDR). Modern televisions have all but abandoned lower resolutions, and HDR has also become commonplace in all but the lowest-priced models. Streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Instant Video have increasingly rolled out 4K content for those with compatible devices and TVs, making the current Apple TV look more archaic by the day.

A recent report from MacRumors suggests that 4K and HDR support may be on the way, though (and for Apple’s sake, they had better be). Reader Tomas Jackson noticed that some of the movies under his “Purchased” tab in iTunes  were listed as “4K” and “HDR” under the Type category. Movies like 2016’s Passengers and Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them had these tags, even though users are currently unable to download any content from iTunes above 1080p HD resolution.

Interestingly, the tags may be region-specific; Jackson lives in the U.K., but when American readers looked in their libraries, Passengers didn’t have the same labels attached.  It’s possible that Apple plans on officially launching 4K content within iTunes alongside a new Apple TV packing 4K and HDR support.

Gamer hints

Earlier this year, game developers from Firi Games told MacRumors they had noticed a device labeled “AppleTV6,2” in their logs, running “tvOS 11.0” and registered to a Cupertino, CA-based IP address (where Apple’s world headquarters are located). The current Apple TV has a model identifier of “AppleTV5,3.”

This could mean that someone at Apple was using the new Apple TV to play one of Firi’s games, which include Phoenix 2, Phoenix HDPocket Quest, and Flare Elite. In addition, Apple’s current Apple TV runs on the company’s tvOS 10 software, so the pieces all seem to be falling into place.

We can’t confirm the information at this point, but if a new Apple TV is indeed on the way, we expect an announcement in the coming months. We’ll be updating this piece regularly, so check back with us for all the latest on the new Apple TV.

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