Apple TV finally gets a hardware refresh — and a new remote control

Apple TV 4K remote for 2021
(Image credit: Apple)

Apple today finally took the wraps off an upgraded Apple TV 4K, which we've long called the best streaming hardware you can buy. The new version has upgraded internals, just as you'd expect, powered by Apple's own A12 Bionic processor.

But the biggest feature undoubtedly is the mostly redesigned remote control. The previous (and much maligned) Siri Remote was infamous for having a confusing and hard-to-use trackpad. That's been redesigned into a sort of hybrid trackpad/d-pad/click wheel. And while it's too early to say whether it's a marked improvement over the previous models, it also can't be much worse.

The new Siri remote also features a power button — something that wasn't necessarily missing on the previous Apple TV controllers, but it was an omission that confused most normal folks who are used to turning things off when you're not using them.

Otherwise you're mostly going to get the same Apple TV experience — just better. Newer internals mean that this one should last for years to come. And Apple is making it smarter than ever, working with your iPhone as well as your TV to help balance colors to your liking, and for whatever environment you're watching in. It also supports HDR and Dolby Vision at 60 frames per second, and Apple says it's working with content and video providers to support that feature. (You'll also be able to play back videos shot on iPhone in that high frame rate Dolby Vision.)

“Apple TV 4K is in a category of its own, leveraging a deep integration of Apple hardware, software, and services that delivers a massive upgrade to any TV for the very best cinematic experience,” Bob Borchers, Apple’s vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing, said in a press release. “With the A12 Bionic and the all-new Siri Remote, Apple TV 4K lets customers enjoy their favorite shows, movies, and more in the highest quality, with simple and intuitive controls. And of course, Apple TV 4K offers easy access to Apple services, along with thousands of apps on the App Store for even more entertainment options.”

Apple TV 4K 2021 and new Siri remote

Apple TV 4K 2021 and new Siri remote (Image credit: Apple)

The body itself of the new Apple TV 4K, from what we can see thus far, appears to be the same as previous models. 

And for the first time, you'll be able to purchase AppleCare+ for Apple TV, which will provide technical support and additional coverage on the hardware for 12 months.

Older Apple TVs aren't left out in the cold, though. The previous models will be able to use the upgraded Siri Remote, too.

The new Apple TV 4K will retail for $179 for the 32-gigabyte model, and $199 if you want 64 gigs of on-board storage. (For a $20 difference, just go ahead and get the bigger one.)  You can preorder on April 30, with the new devices shipping in mid-May in more than 30 countries.

Phil Nickinson

Phil spent his 20s in the newsroom of the Pensacola (Fla.) News Journal, his 30s on the road for and Mobile Nations and is the Dad part of Modern Dad.