Apple gets Siri-ous about television with Apple TV

New operating system, improved hardware and your own personal assistant.

Applications form the foundation of Apple’s television strategy as the company births a TV-only operating system and bundles it with a remote control inspired by its smartphones in the latest version of Apple TV.

Apple has forged partnerships with content makers. Its Apple TV will aggregate content from iTunes, Netflix, Hulu, HBO and Showtime in the US. Local Australian partnerships have yet to be announced.

A tailored operating system based on iOS powers the Apple TV. It is called tvOS.

Support from developers, along with the versatile remote control, makes it possible to use the Apple TV for gaming, in a move that will put pressure on the dedicated consoles from Sony and Microsoft.

Inspiration for the remote control has been taken from Apple’s iPhone. The remote has a glass trackpad fluent in gestures and a microphone so that the interface can be browsed using Apple’s Siri.

Siri can be used to contextually qualify search selections. Here’s an example:

  • “Search for James Bond movies”
  • “Only the ones with Daniel Craig.”

The personal assistant can be used to perform split-screen searches or to streamline navigation. Asking Siri “What did he/she just say” will rewind a movie by fifteen seconds and temporarily switch on captions.

The Apple TV has grown 10mm in size, is powered by a 64-bit A8 chip and is versed in connectivity technologies. It supports dual-band Wi-Fi 802.11ac and works with the remote control over Bluetooth 4.0.

The remote benefits from motion sensors, such as an accelerometer and gyroscope, features a lightning port and will last for 3 months between charges, claims Apple.

Two models will be made available in addition to the current offering. The 32GB variant will retail for $US149 and a 64GB model will cost $US199. Local pricing and availability has yet to be revealed.

More to follow.

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