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A Curious Father’s Guide To The New Apple TV

Yesterday, Apple CEO Tim Cook described the new Apple TV, with a significantly upgraded operating system, voice control, gaming suite, and split screen capability as “the future of TV.” And, at $149 for the 32GB version and $199 for the 64GB, it’s really not a huge investment to find out if Cook is right. But before you do, consider the following round up of opinions from the tech media.

There seems to be one consensus, which is that the biggest revelation with the little black box isn’t the box — it’s the remote. The iPod-era wheel has been replaced with a slick touchscreen, which makes a lot of the most annoying things about interfacing with the original Apple TV a thing of the past. And its new Bluetooth connection is far stronger than the old infrared one. That is, indeed, awesome.

Less awesome? It’s a remote, which in your home means that it’s primary function will be as a teething toy, or a tantrum enhancement device, or just your kid’s new favorite “thing” to use in their endless games of “Hide Daddy’s Thing.” Oh, and it has a glass top. So … good luck with that. If you do decide to take the plunge, be sure to pony up for the remote wrist loop (which is, of course, sold separately).

New Apple TV And Parents

David Pierce, Wired
“(The remote) is about the size of an iPod Nano, and is so light it feels like it’s missing its battery … It’s almost too light, honestly—I’d lose this thing everywhere … [The Apple TV] is fast, it’s as straightforward as the last one (which is to say, straightforward enough but a little overly spartan), and the remote works well. As it stands, it doesn’t feel like much more than a souped-up Roku.”

Nilay Patel, The Verge
“Overall, it’s a welcome — and meaningful — upgrade to the Apple TV, but there’s nothing in this first look that makes it seem like it’s going to usher in a massive TV revolution.”

Jeffrey Van Camp, Digital Trends
“The faster you swipe (the touchpad), the faster things will scroll. We found the new touch interface very intuitive, allowing us to perform normally horrid tasks, like hand-picking letters to type, with much greater speed. Is it as intuitive as a Nintendo Wii Remote? No, but it’s a lot better than the normal direction pad that comes on boxes like Fire TV and Roku.”

Owen Williams, TheNextWeb
“An offshoot of iOS, tvOS is basically what we’ve come to love about using iPhones and iPads, just on the bigger screen … the parallax buttons that react to your touch on the remote are hypnotic, beautiful and fun to watch.”

The New Apple TV And Parents

John Teti, The AV Club
“A demo video showed off Siri’s new moves – she can search across multiple apps to find the content you want, as long as it features somebody named ‘Jason.'”

Philip Michaels, Tom’s Guide
“One of my great frustrations with Apple’s current set-top box is constantly clicking my way through menu items and having to angle the remote so that it can send a signal to the set-top box. That’s not a concern with the new Apple TV, which uses Bluetooth 4.0 to connect to the Siri Remote … Yes, the search features look solid, but they also replicate what other streaming boxes — most notably the Roku 3 — already offer.”

Jay Yarrow, Business Insider Tech
“… At the risk of being hyperbolic, it has the potential to change everything about the TV industry. If the platform works, then the traditional cable box will be relegated to the second input. And if it’s relegated to that, then people will eventually start to wonder why they’re even wasting their money on pay TV. And when they start doing that, TV as we’ve known will be over.”

Joseph Bernstein, Buzzfeed Tech
“Harmonix, the makers of Rock Band, introduced Beat Sports for Apple TV. It takes advantage of the new remote’s motion sensing capabilities to combine rhythm-based gaming and sports gaming. It’s the kind of cute and loud casual game that could addict kids to Apple TV and drive parents insane.”