Apple's massive new stuff event is rolling away tonight, with the company moving on from enormous iPads to the much-rumoured refresh of Apple TV -- and yes, it is going BIG on the gaming ideas.
Made for TV
"We believe Apple TV is the future of television," said Tim Cook while demonstrating the new system, with the idea being to create a completely new frontend for all of Apple's services. It's also one big push for Siri, with the personal assistant powering a search engine for TV, letting users rummage through available listings by looking for specific title and actors.
And it doesn't just search Apple listings -- everything's included in its umbrella coverage, so if something's on Netflix you get linked to the Netflix app. How very open and welcoming of Apple. There's more to apps and listings, too. Apple TV is now powered by its own standalone TV OS, that comes with built-in Apple Music features and obvious support for third-party media apps.
"Siri, find me something with Sarah Michelle Gellar in"
Voice control features are prominent too, seeing as no one ever likes them or uses them, with Apple TV and Siri having the ability to rewind the action should you ask it the question "What did she say?". Plus pop-up overlays will give you facts about what's currently being shown, should you want even more distractions while watching stuff.
And the Siri Touch Remote is clearly there for one big reason -- games. We'd rather press buttons, but clearly the kids raised on iOS touch screen titles are happy enough with vague swipe controls and motion features popularised by Nintendo's Wii and the many iOS screen-moving novelties, so that's what Apple's offering here. And Crossy Road.
It also looks annoyingly nice and substantially more stylish then the crappy remotes that come with most media dongles, which is great news -- if you can live with voice control.
It's all powered by the decent enough A8 processor as seen in the iPhone 6, so ought to work well enough as an everything-doing box -- a chipset that's quite the leap from the A5 in the neglected former Apple TV box. 32GB and 64GB models will go on sale in late October, for US prices of $149 (£100) and $199 (£130).
A pretty comprehensive refresh of Apple TV, then, albeit one that rather goes against Apple's war on sitting down, but still. We'll all die in front of a screen one day, so it may as well be an exciting one that does everything.