Last weekend we decided to watch a movie. I had an iTunes gift card so we fired up the Apple TV for the first time in quite a while. Man, is that thing showing its age at this point. Between the increasingly cluttered dashboard (full of apps I'll never use), the tiny remote that can be hard to use in a room darkened for movie watching (if you're not used to it) and the need to restart it to coax it to connect to my account, it wasn't a great experience.
It was just a couple days later that I read a report about a new Apple TV over at 9to5Mac. Perfect timing! Their sources aren't specified so it's hard to say how much of the post is speculation and how much is confirmed, but I'm hoping it is accurate since they describe a nice bit of kit. Still for now we need to treat this all as rumor.
One of the highlights (for me at least) is a new, larger remote that includes "more tactile keys," touch-based input and gesture support. Hey, two out of three ain't bad (they can keep the gesture stuff, as far as I'm concerned). The remote will connect to the new Apple TV via Bluetooth but will also include an IR emitter to let us control other components of our systems. If you've never used a Bluetooth remote, let me just say it is a joy. No more need to aim the remote or even have line of sight. You can pause playback from the next room if you need to.
The new Apple TV is also supposed to include Siri support, which implies a microphone in the remote, and 9to5Mac says it might include a headphone jack as well. We've seen both these features in other streaming devices (like the Fire TV and Roku) and both are pretty useful.
Last, the new Apple TV runs an optimized version of iOS 9 and will have a dedicated app store. That means no more having new channels just appear on the dashboard whether you want them or not.
9to5Mac has a lot more info and you should head over there for more details, or you could just wait for September 9th. That's the leaked date of the next Apple media event. Here's hoping Apple keeps that $100 price tag intact.
Sign up for Computerworld eNewsletters.