Six Colors
Six Colors

by Jason Snell & Dan Moren

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By Dan Moren

Apple TV 4K gets a few minor improvements and lower prices

Apple TV 4K

In addition to new iPads, Apple unexpectedly revamped its Apple TV line Tuesday, offering two configurations: a 64GB model with Wi-Fi only for a lower cost of $129, and a 128GB model that also has Gigabit Ethernet and Thread for $149.

Both models are powered by the A15 Bionic chip and support HDR10+, bringing increased high-dynamic range to pictures. The new models are a few millimeters smaller than the old ones in each dimension and, astoundingly, weigh about half as much (7.5 ounces for the Wi-Fi and Ethernet model vs the previous model’s 15 ounces). Also the new model eschews the “TV” embossed branding on top simply in favor of the Apple logo, bringing into line with pretty much every other Apple product.

Perhaps the biggest news, though, is that Siri Remote ditches its Lightning charging port in favor of USB-C. Rumor already has it that Apple is planning on replacing Lightning on next year’s iPhone model, and this change seems to indicate that the writing is on the wall for all of Apple’s accessories, probably sooner rather than later.

It’s interesting to see Apple differentiate models on something other than storage capacity (a spec for which it has never made a very persuasive argument). Many people probably don’t need Ethernet on their set-top box, and Thread—which provides mesh networking largely aimed at smart home tech—remains a technology that most consumers aren’t well informed about.

The lower prices are probably the most welcome aspect of the new Apple TVs, although they’re still at the high-end of the market, where many streaming dongles can be had for $50 or less. But Apple seems to think there’s still a market for a premium streaming box, and Tuesday’s announcements demonstrate that consumers are probably still buying them.

[Dan Moren is the East Coast Bureau Chief of Six Colors. You can find him on Twitter at @dmoren or reach him by email at dan@sixcolors.com. The latest novel in his Galactic Cold War series of sci-fi space adventures, The Nova Incident, is available now.]

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