How Apple is future-proofing your TV and why its new distant management is impressed by the iPod

Apple revealed some of the inspirations for the Apple TV remote (Image: APPLE)

Apple’s brand new Apple TV 4K is out in stores this week, and the Cupertino-based company is pretty confident that its latest streaming box will future-proof your TV for a few years to come. Like its predecessor, this new set-top box can handle 4K resolution with high dynamic range, but this time around, there’s the added benefit of watching shows, movies, and live sports at a high refresh rate – up to 60 frames per second to be precise to be.

This means that content not only looks razor-sharp and saturated with rich colors, but that every movement appears silky smooth: perfect for an action-packed game in the Premier League.

Well it would be … unless you are going to have trouble finding Premier League games that are currently broadcast in 60 fps HDR. Fortunately, Apple is aware that the broadcasters behind your favorite content are lagging a little while their hardware pushes the boundaries of TV technology.

This is nothing new. While Apple has been supporting the 4K output of its Apple TV programming since 2017, some UK broadcasters, including the BBC and ITV, still do not regularly provide their programs in the updated resolution … let alone HDR and high frame rates.

Fortunately, Apple isn’t impressed with the fact that it’s ahead of the curve. Tim Twerdahl, Apple vice president of product marketing for home and audio, recently sat down with to tell us that Apple TV 4K is “ready for the future”.

“There’s a little problem with chicken and eggs: why produce the content when nobody can see it?” Said Twerdahl. “I think we are taking a big step forward with Apple TV 4K, which has high frame rate support, and it will be an incentive to create more and more of this content.

“For example, here in the US they started producing the Super Bowl in high frame rate HDR a few years ago. And we’re seeing more and more. We really want the product to be ready for the future and the great news that we’re working on partnered with all of these top providers around the world to deliver high frame rate content, especially for sports.

“I think, as a customer, the fact that you can buy the Apple TV 4K now and that it is essentially future-proof is great.”

READ MORE: Apple iMac 2021 Review: New design, bigger screen, better performance … but was it worth the wait?

Apple TV update

The new remote control has a click wheel that is similar to the original iPod (Image: APPLE)

In addition to the future-proof graphics, Apple has completely redesigned the remote control. When the design team sat down to come up with a new way to scroll through menus, quickly scroll through displays, and more, Apple’s Tim Twerdahl tells us that some of the inspiration came from the most iconic Apple device of all: the original iPod.

The revolutionary music player had a circular click wheel that you could use to navigate through long lists of songs, rewind to your favorite verse, and play games. And now Apple TV 4K has something identical.

With the updated remote control, you can both physically tap the outside of the circle like a D-pad, as well as use the swipe gestures from the previous remote control design on the touchpad in the center. As with the original iPod, dragging your finger across the circle acts as a jog control and is designed to make scrubbing through video more precise.

Twerdahl explained more to us, “If you think about it, since it was the first time we had on-demand formats like VCRs and DVDs, we’ve been sticking to these 2X, 4X, 8X control speeds and it’s just not very intuitive or useful, you always overshoot and then try to get back to a point.

“When we came up with this circular design, we thought it looked a lot like the iPod speed wheel. So what could be done to really help people with their TVs use such an interface? Scrubbing video was a natural thing. ” Professional editors often use these jog style controls which are very powerful and they are really nice to bring into people’s living rooms.

“It’s very accurate and I can’t wait for customers to get their hands on it.”

Apple TV update

The Apple TV is now compatible with 4K HDR content at 60 fps (Image: APPLE)

Apple introduces its new AirTag tracking device

Also new to the Apple TV remote control – a power switch that acts as a universal remote control and turns on your TV and any soundbar connected to your setup. That might sound pretty easy, but it’s not as easy as you think.

“There is a lot of complexity there,” says Twerdahl. “There are some standards for HDMI. There are some standards that use infrared. So we need to negotiate and figure out how this works best for a particular TV. The key is that simplicity is all about customers. We will do the whole thing doing hard work and heavy lifting in the background. “

The last big change to the new Apple TV 4K remote, which is also available for older Apple TVs in the Apple Store, is the new Siri button on the right. For iPhone owners, this placement is instantly familiar – something Apple hopes will seamlessly switch between your smartphone and TV.

Box sets, films with a specific actor or entire genres can be called up with simple voice commands to Siri. You can even ask Siri to show content captured in 4K HDR to test out your new TV box. This is often much faster than typing with the on-screen keyboard. But does Apple think enough of us have gotten used to barking commands into a remote control?

“It’s an interesting point,” agreed Twerdahl. “We want to make it easy for you to get in touch with Apple TV regardless of your level of comfort. If you press the Siri button on your remote and don’t say anything, a few suggestions will appear on the TV screen to help you understand the types from Apple TV to facilitate. ” Things you could say. If you move the Siri button to the side – where it is on your iPhone – we hope that amplifies it in people too, since you can do exactly the same things on your iPhone as you can on your Apple TV remote. “

In our Apple TV 4K test, we were delighted with the new remote control. But with the channel changer that’s been redesigned so drastically this year … why is the set-top box the same? This current Apple TV design has been around since 2015 and there’s no sign of the colorful new options on the iPad Air, iPhone 12, and even the relaunched iMac.

“Lots of people stash the box themselves, and it’s the remote that people interact with on a daily basis. That’s why we put an effort into designing the new Apple TV 4K and making sure there really was one.” magical experience with the primary user interface. We think we’ve done a great job and we’re really excited about the remote, “says Apple’s Tim Twerdahl.

Apple is clearly proud of its brand new Apple TV 4K. And it’s not hard to see why – although you may not be able to take advantage of the fantastic new high frame rate format currently supported by Apple TV 4K, you stand at Premier League games, F1, Hollywood, in the first place blockbusters and more are starting to use HDR 60fps.

Meanwhile, Apple TV 4K continues to support 1080p, 4K, Dolby Vision, Dolby Atmos, and more – all of which are supported by Netflix, Disney +, Amazon Prime Video, and of course Apple’s own TV + streaming service.

With the Apple 4K TV now on shelves around the world, broadcasters are under pressure to keep up to date.

You can read our full Apple TV 4K review here.

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