The upcoming fourth-generation Apple TV set-top box will be priced at $149 or $199 and will be available for purchase in October, according to the latest rumors and reports about the long-awaited devices.
The latest published reports, based on anonymous sources at Apple, say that the new devices would cost at least twice as much as the existing Apple TV units, which sell for $69 after a price drop from $99 earlier this year, according to an Aug. 30 story by AFTVnews. The existing Apple TV models will stay in production as an entry-level model for users, the report continued, but the older units will not receive any updates that will be part of the new version.
The latest Apple TV set-top box was originally expected to be announced back in June at the company's Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC). That didn't happen, and other rumors earlier in August said that the delay was due to a desire by the company to push its release back so it could be ready to run on Apple's latest iOS 9 operating system, according to an earlier eWEEK report.
Apple TV, which hasn't had any major updates since 2013, is expected to get a slimmer chassis, an updated remote and support for Apple's Siri digital personal assistant. The device, introduced in 2007, is expected to receive a wide range of improvements, marking the first major design changes to the product since 2013.
The new Apple TV is expected to receive an improved remote that includes touch-pad controls, as well as additional integrated storage, its own App Store and a new software development kit that the company hopes will encourage developers to build new apps for the device.
Rumors about the expected next version of Apple TV were in abundance before WWDC, but the company instead announced its new Apple Music streaming service with a big splash, again leaving Apple TV without a refresh, at least at the time.
Apple previously made its last significant improvements to its Apple TV devices back in June 2013, when it added HBO Go and WatchESPN programming to the product, according to a previous eWEEK report. Apple also added Sky News, a 24/7 news feed for users in the United States, the United Kingdom and Ireland; Crunchyroll, the leading global video service for Japanese Anime and Asian media; and Qello, an on-demand streaming service for HD concerts and music documentaries.
Apple TV enables iTunes users to download and view video on an HDTV, as well as access their own music, videos and content.
The devices, which have arguably been the most oddball product in the iPhone maker's entire lineup, have never become a huge success and often have received little attention from the company. In March, Apple dropped the price from $99 to $69, hoping to boost sales.
Also in March, reports began circulating that Apple's oft-discussed Internet-based Apple streaming television services, which would be separate from Apple TV, would appear later this year. A recent report said that the new Internet TV services wouldn't appear until sometime in 2016 at least, due to slower-than-expected negotiations with broadcasters, according to an earlier eWEEK story. The negotiations that have slowed the process apparently involve the difference in the $40 a month Apple wants to be able to charge customers, compared with the higher prices expected by TV networks for their content, the report said.
The service would have about 25 channels, including major broadcast networks, such as ABC, CBS and Fox, according to an earlier eWEEK story. The programming, expected to be priced from $30 to $40 per month, would be viewable on the company's computers, smartphones and Apple TV set-top boxes.
In March 2014, Apple and Comcast, the nation's largest cable TV provider, were in talks to build a streaming television project together, according to an earlier eWEEK report. Apple at the time was proposing a service that would let customers stream live and on-demand TV programming while also storing digital video recordings.