During its sweeping annual presentation of new products Wednesday, Apple introduced a new version of its Apple TV set-top box that offers an app-focused experience with a new user interface, remote and box.
"The television experience has been virtually standing still," said Tim Cook, Apple's CEO. "Today, we are going to do something about that. It starts with a vision. Our vision for TV is simple and perhaps a little provocative. We believe the future of TV is apps….. When you experience TV through an app, you realize just how much better it can be."
The Siri-driven device boasts enhanced search and discovery features, driven by a glass-coated remote that enables smoother swipe-searching.
Apple said the new box would be available for $149 for 32GB, and $199 for 64GB sometime in late October. For users unwilling to pay those prices, the company said older models will continue to be available.
The new Apple TV, which offers some intriguing updates but falls short of the game-change that could result from the company's still-rumored skinny-bundle distribution offering, will include a new user interface, the new tvOS operating system and a new remote with a touch screen for easier navigation.
The company said it had been working with developers for new apps that would soon be available. During the presentation, it shows apps from Netflix, HBO, Hulu, MLB.com and others in the TV arena.
As expected, gaming, particularly for multiplayers, were highlighted, with a video showing one player using the new remote and another an iPhone.
Apple’s voice controller Siri is moving to the Apple TV for the first time. During the presentation, Apple executives showed off its capabilities, which included some intelligent searching that allowed the user to search when they didn’t know the show name by describing it.
The upgradse to Apple TV were the first in three years and in some ways marked Apple playing catch-up. Roku, for example, already offers universal search and has had casual gaming features for some time.
Pricing was also much higher than other devices on the market, with Roku, Google and Amazon all offering streaming devices for under $50.
Dade Hayes contributed to this report.