Apple TV allows consumers to use an HDTV set to view photos, play music and watch video originating from limited Internet services or a local network. The first generation (white) offered iTunes, Flickr, MobileMe/.Mac and YouTube. The second generation added Netflix. Both models supported downloading/streaming podcasts.
On September 9, 2015, Apple announced the fourth generation Apple TV. It is the first major update to the platform since the release of the second generation Apple TV on September 1, 2010. Tim Cook took the stage and said “The future of TV is apps”. He also stated that the Apple TV needed a modern OS. While following the form factor of the previous 2nd and 3rd generation models, it is slightly taller in size. Featuring a new touch remote allowing swipe-to-select functionality instead of the old remote’s arrow button, with integrated Siri support, and motion sensor. The Siri button on the remote allows several functions, including searching across providers for content, accessing additional metadata, and video/audio controls. The 4th generation also uses a new operating system, tvOS, with an associated app store allowing download of third-party apps for video, audio, games, and other content – initially from a limited range of providers on release, with others able to release further apps using new APIs allowing them to do so. A requirement of these apps and games is that they all must include interfacing with the new touchpad-enabled Siri remote. Craig Federighi said that tvOS is 95% based on iOS 9 with the interface and APIs being tweaked to support the big screen.
The fourth generation device will ship in October 2015.