Why Apple Should Make a Cheaper, Streamlined Apple TV ➝

Dan Moren, writing for Macworld:

I’m skeptical we’ll see any major changes to the Apple TV line this fall, but what I’m hoping for is this: a return to a lower cost Apple TV, somewhere in the $70-$99 range, with a modicum of storage, and perhaps a traditional remote with buttons. Instead of building Siri functionality into the remote, the Apple TV should have built-in mics that support “Hey Siri” (or, if you prefer to avoid collisions, “Hey Apple TV”). The Amazon Echo, Google Home, and yes, HomePod, have proved that both technology and people can handle this kind of functionality. If you prefer the Siri Remote, no problem: just buy it as an add-on.

I think Apple will offer a lower priced Apple TV soon. There’s already historical precedent for reducing the price of the previous model when a new model is introduced — the third-generation Apple TV was available for $69 for a period of time after the current Apple TV was released. I think they’ll do the same when a more powerful, 4K-capable Apple TV goes on sale this fall.

I don’t think they’ll reduce the price of the current Apple TV to $69, but maybe they could if they listen to Dan Moren’s advice and no longer include the more costly Siri Remote with this model and bundle their inexpensive Apple Remote instead. Even with that change, though, I think $99 would be more likely.

This would give Apple a fairly robust lineup — the current, fourth-generation Apple TV with the older Apple Remote for $99 alongside a more powerful, 4K Apple TV with the Siri Remote for $149. This would give customers a more affordable offering while continuing to position the Apple TV as premium products.

I’m not sold on Moren’s idea of integrating a microphone into the Apple TV, though. I’d certainly have to see how it was implemented before passing judgement on it, but it doesn’t seem like an elegant solution to me. Quietly speaking directly into the Siri Remote is so much less abrasive than yelling at your TV from across the room. I don’t know, maybe it would be great, but my initial reaction is that it would be worse in almost every way.