(Pocket-lint) – After a lengthy hiatus, Apple has revealed a new version of the Apple TV 4K with improved hardware upgrades including a beefier processor, this time taken from the iPhone XS, and a new remote to make controlling it easier than before.
The new Apple TV 4K seemingly offers it all. Dolby Vision, Dolby Atmos, HDR, access to pretty much every streaming service going, access to Apple’s growing library of own-made content, and of course games and apps via the accompanying Apple Arcade service and App store.
Apple’s so-called “hobby” sits very much at the top of the streaming device tree when compared to the likes of Amazon, Google, and Roku – certainly in terms of price – and that’s okay.
Apple, it seems, is happy for the Apple TV to sit there and do what it does without worrying about making a huge impact on the market in the same way the AirPods have come to dominate for example.
But, like the now discontinued Apple HomePod speaker that was replaced by the smaller and cheaper model, there’s a similar opportunity within the Apple TV range.
The Apple TV 4K Mini
Apple should launch an Apple TV 4K Mini.
Look beyond Apple TV and over the last couple of years the competition has gone from a small set-top boxes to a more simplified, cheaper, TV stick that you plug directly into the HDMI socket on the back of your television set instead.
Amazon, Google, Roku and others might have all started with a larger devices, but they have quickly moved to primarily offering devices that sit behind the TV, invisible except for the remote.
With the advent of Bluetooth and accompanying remote apps, the need to have an IR Receiver with line of sight is long gone and so the need to have the box on display or on a shelf is gone too.
Just TV streaming
One of the main ways Apple could deliver an Apple TV 4K mini experience is to reduce what the box offers.
The current Apple TV 4K can easily be seen as in parallel to the HomePod speaker: it’s a full experience offering and delivering the best it can.
But, just as Apple introduced a much cheaper HomePod mini by reducing the size and performance of the speaker, Apple could perform the same trick with the Apple TV 4K.
By reducing the size of the box, the processing power included, and even by turning it into a stick that plugs straight into your TV, Apple could potentially reduce the price and that would mean getting it into more homes without damaging any potential sales of the original model.
Apple TV 4K Pro
By creating a more affordable mini version just for TV, it would also allow Apple to create a Pro version of the set-top box too, not differentiated by picture quality or TV standards, but by things like connectivity. It could keep the Ethernet port, boost the processing power, and even go as far as offering a controller in the box for more immersive gaming experiences.
Every TV becomes smart
As we’ve seen with Google’s Chromecast, Amazon’s Fire TV and Roku’s collection of devices, there is a heathy appetite for a small stick that empowers your TV with new capabilities, but doesn’t need to be on show to do it.
Apple’s success with the HomePod mini could easily be replicated with an Apple TV mini device allowing it to open up the user base for its streaming offering, and bring in more potential customers for Apple TV+.
Writing by Stuart Miles.