10 Reasons I'm Excited About the New Apple TV

Apple introduced the new Apple TV at their Hey Siri event on September 9th, and at the end of the Apple TV segment, Eddie Cue announced late October availability.  So far we haven't heard any further details, but I'm incredibly excited about this thing, and since it is October now, I thought I'd write up a Top 10 about what's stoking my excitement.

(Update: You can now order the new Apple TV with delivery dates starting October 30th.)

10. 3D Images / Useful Parallax

3D images, technically multi-layer images that enable the parallax effect, are an integral part of the reimagined Apple TV experience. iOS has supported the parallax effect for a while (on the lock screen, for example) but there it was a bit of a gimmick. On Apple TV, 3D images are a signaling mechanism to highlight what you've selected with the touch surface. Check out Jen Folse's demo:

 

9. What Did She Say?

Siri voice commands on the new Apple TV are capable of so many useful things, but this is probably my favorite: if you miss what a character just said in your favorite TV show or movie, you can ask Siri, "What did she just say?" and Apple TV will back up 15 seconds, and then temporarily enable closed captions—so you see in text right on the screen what you missed! Amazing, check it out:


8. Apple Music

On my iOS devices and my Mac, I get a full-strength Apple Music experience. But my two second-generation Apple TVs are cut off from all that goodness, so I've very excited that the new Apple TV has a full-strength Apple Music experience. In my opinion, it's even better than iOS. Check it out:

 

7. Cinematic Screen Savers

Apple actually went out and filmed gorgeous, exclusive-to-Apple-TV slow-motion HD video to use as the new Apple TV's screen savers. They even adapt to your time of day. This is truly breathtaking cinematography:

(Update: at least temporarily, you can view all of the Cinematic Screen Savers here.)

6. New "Home" Button on Remote

The new Siri Remote adds a Home button, which takes you all they way back to the Apple TV home screen, no matter where you start. The new remote still has a Menu button, which does what it always has, taking you back a level. There's a subtle and important difference in the Menu button behavior, though: apps retain their level state, so if for example you return to the Movies app after having jumped to Home, you'll be exactly where you were—browsing documentaries, say—when you return. Also, if you double-press home, you get a multitasking view where you can easily switch between apps. Very nice!

5. Remote Over Bluetooth

The old Apple TV remote used traditional line-of-site infrared technology, meaning that the remote only worked when you could actually see the little black Apple TV box. With the new Apple TV, feel free to hide that black box deep in your electronics cabinet, because the Siri Remote talks over Bluetooth.

 

4. Universal Search

On today's Apple TV, I often have to slog my way from one content app to another (Movies, HBO Go, Netflix, etc.) to find a particular title. With the new Apple TV's Universal Search, I can search for content across all the major sources—iTunes, Netflix, HBU, Hulu, and Showtime—with a single search. The search results show me exactly which sources have the title I'm after. Awesome! 

 

3. Apps and App Store

The new Apple TV has a fast A8 chip and its own iOS-like high-powered operating system, tvOS—all to support full-bore apps and a full-scale App Store. Apple TV apps are a game-changer, and not just for games. Chad Evans' demo of the MLB At Bat app shows what's possible—just incredible:

 

2. Siri Remote Voice Control

I'd can only imagine that Apple invested tens of thousands of effort-hours getting Siri to work so seamlessly through the Siri Remote, and to provide such an incredibly useful voice repertoire. Jen Folse shows it well:

 

1. Siri Remote Touch Control

In a recent episode of Horace Dediu's Critical Path podcast, he made a great point: the Siri Remote is the first-ever "thumb-touch" interface. Before the new Apple TV, touch interfaces have been all about using our pointing fingers to navigate around. Again, I can only wonder at the tens of thousands of hours that it had to take to get this so right, so perfect.