Apple TV 4 set to launch in October


Michelle Clancy

| 01 September 2015

Apple is reportedly prepping the release of the fourth-generation Apple TV box.

The all-things-Apple blog 9to5Mac said unnamed sources at the company have confirmed that Apple TV 4 will launch in October with Siri voice navigation, an app store and a software developer kit. Unlike the existing $99 version, the new streamer will go for $199.

Both Apple TV 3 (which will see its price reduced to $69) and the shiny new version will support Apple's upcoming over-the-top (OTT) service, the blog said.

Of course, tighter integration across devices and a vertical stack of closed-ecosystem software and hardware is something that defines Apple's playbook. It's how the company drives demand for its content and services, so it would make sense to include Apple TV in any feature strategy that drives that further.

Apple watchers expected a refresh or update in the October timeframe last year, but it was not forthcoming. Apple is lagging far behind in functionality compared to Google Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV devices and Roku, but has managed to hang onto market share as one of the market leaders.

Internet set-top boxes (iSTBs) such as Apple TV and Roku are now present in 21% of US broadband households, up from 13% in early 2014 - an increase in penetration of 63% over the last year.

According to analysis from TDG, iSTBs are particularly popular among adult broadband users between 25-44 (29% penetration). By contrast, only one-in-five late Millennials (18-24s) use an iSTB, with viewers more likely to turn to game consoles than newer platforms.

"20 million US households now use an Internet set-top box to access streaming TV services," notes Michael Greeson, founder and director of research at TDG. "As Apple prepares to launch its new Internet set-top box, it does so knowing demand for such platforms have significant headroom, and will be driven by not only greenfield purchases, but multi-unit and replacement sales, as well."