Apple announced two variants of the Apple TV at its event, earlier today. The Apple TV comes in two variants - 32GB and 64GB, priced at $149 and $199 respectively. Directly converted, that’s about Rs. 10,000 and Rs. 13,500 respectively. Now that we’ve gotten the price out of the way, lets get to the point. Why is the Apple TV such an attractive offering? The last time Apple updated the Apple TV, it was in January 2013. It had the Apple A5 processor, 512MB RAM, 8GB built-in storage (no expandable options), and you could finally watch 1080p videos with it.
This version of the Apple TV is still available, and is priced at $69. But this is not the one you should care about. The reason I started with this is so that you can see how significant the update is, to the new Apple TV. To begin with, the new Apple TV is powered by an A8 processor and PowerVR 6XT GX6450 graphics. The new remote that looks like the lovechild of the Apple TV remote and the Nintendo Wii controller. It has a microphone so you can command the TV with your remote, a glass touch surface and the standard array of buttons including Home, Menu, Siri, volume controls and play/pause. The remote can be charged with a standard lightning cable, and Apple says that the battery will last for up to three months of average usage.
Now, the big deal is that the Apple TV runs on Apple's TV OS. Apple says, “what iOS does for your iPhone and iPad, TV OS will do for your big screen”. So, what will this enable? TV OS will ensure that you have a large library of apps at your disposal, including games.
Lets look at this from the Indian perspective. What are your favorite interactive, media or entertainment apps on the iPhone? HotStar? Gaana? News apps? Live TV? With TV OS, service providers and app developers will be able to cater to specific markets. India just became a very lucrative market for Apple TV.
Moving on, if you like playing games on your iPhone, you can do so with the Apple TV, too. Use the motion controller to control your games. Apple says that third party MFi-based controllers will also be compatible with the Apple TV. Sounds like you have an iOS-version Nintendo Wii in your living room.
If you are an iPad, iPhone or Mac user, the new Apple TV looks like a really good proposition to add to the arsenal, especially if you have invested heavily in the apps ecosystem. Apart from the standard AirPlay mirroring, watching movies and other on-demand content, you can now use your Apple TV just as you would use your Android TV.
We have seen in the past that to be the best, you need to ape the best, and that’s what Apple has done (with a little more style, of course). For the uninitiated, the new Apple TV takes elements that made the Nexus Player (Android TV) very attractive.
Before you think that we have sold our souls to Apple, here is the catch. The only reason why Apple will succeed with the new Apple TV and TV OS is because of its large library of apps that already exist. Alongside, with Apple adding universal app support for its different platforms, you will already get an extensive array of apps to use, if you decide to buy one as soon as it releases. Once developers start making new apps specifically for the platform, it will become an even more promising gadget.
On the other hand, the Nexus Player (Android TV) has been available in the market for quite some time. Not officially in India, of course. The Nexus Player has content apps where you can purchase movies, play games and more - similar to the features offered by the Apple TV. The Nexus Player remote is similar to the Apple TV without the glass track pad. You can press the microphone button on the Nexus Player remote and ask for romantic comedies, specific content etc., and going by the demonstration, it seems to work.
Here is where we think that the Android TV has an edge over the Apple TV. The NVIDIA Shield is priced at $200 (Rs. 13,500 approx.). It is powered by an NVIDIA Tegra X1 processor, and the Shield supports 4K as well. So, if you have a UHD TV, the Shield looks like a great proposition.
With the launch of the new Apple TV, the war for the box under your TV got very interesting. The consumer is spoilt for choice, with the number of options out there. From the Apple TV and the Android-powered TVs being obvious choices for consumers in India, there are other devices available too, such as Roku 3, Amazon Fire TV, NVIDIA Shield and more. Which smart box do you want sitting under the idiot box?