Apple is to launch an all-new Apple TV streaming box in the coming months, a new report claims, and it could be just weeks away.
Reliable analyst Ming-Chi Kuo from TFI Securities has just tweeted that the new box is coming in the second half of this year, that is, any time from July 1.
And the new box will have something that no previous Apple TV has had: a low price. It’s not that the Apple TV is prohibitively expensive as such, but compared to rival products such as the Amazon Fire Stick, it stands out as the most expensive on the block.
Amazon’s Fire TV Stick 4K costs $49.99, for instance, and if you don’t need 4K compatibility or TV controls in the remote, you can get it for as little as $29.99.
The latest Apple TV 4K box, in comparison, costs $179 for the model with 32GB storage, and $199 with 64GB capacity. Without 4K, the HD version (with 32GB storage) is cheaper but still $149.
Quite the price difference, then.
Let’s be clear, the latest Apple TV is the best version yet, by a long chalk, mostly down to the superb new remote which is the best on the market, I’d say, with an excellent, highly intuitive interface, system-wide Siri, and a pleasing simplicity of buttons.
But as Kuo says, there’s a need to become more competitive, so the promise of a model “that improves cost structure” could make a big difference.
Is that the Apple way, though? After all, Amazon is open about the fact that it sells its hardware for about its cost, while Apple seeks to make a profit on each device.
That’s true, but there’s a recent release that changed things completely and serves as a useful precedent here: HomePod mini.
While the HomePod was a relatively expensive device, costing $349 when first released in February 2018. That dropped a bit but it was never a cheap device. On the other hand, it sounded better than the competition.
However, when Apple introduced the smaller version in late 2020, the price was one of the things that surprised people: it cost $99, a price that still applies now.
This meant that it was the same price as the just-released fourth-generation Amazon Echo. Matching Amazon’s price was a surprise and contributed to the success of the HomePod mini.
Apple’s little speaker also sounds much better than Amazon’s, I’d say, which also helped.
So, could Apple pull off a similar coup with Apple TV and deliver a new box that’s similarly aggressively price-matched to rival streamers?
Apple TV+, the streaming service, is keenly priced already at $4.99 a month, and is building a strong reputation for excellent, high-quality programming. Adding an affordable box could drive sales of both the hardware and the subscription service. As Kuo says, it “will help close the gap with its competitors.”