CEO Tim Cook announces a tantalising price for Apple’s streaming service

Apple surprised delegates at its Spring Forward event in San Francisco by kicking off with a price drop for Apple TV.

Cook promised the audience that “Apple TV will reinvent the way you watch television” and revealed three major updates that “are just the beginning.” So, let’s break down what we know and what the above tease may mean.

The company’s media streamer has long been the poor relation of Apple’s hardware, receiving little in the way of updates or marketing.

Despite this, Apple TV has still sold 25 million devices and it seems the company is hoping to increase uptake with new services and a £40 price reduction.

Apple TV Price Drop

Apple also announced a new partnership with American broadcaster HBO, which will see the latter company’s new streaming service, HBO Now, delivered exclusively on Apple TV. For those not in the know, HBO is the newswork behind Game of Thrones, Sex and the City, the Wire and the Sopranos.

Sadly, we Brits won’t be able to benefit from HBO Now, as it will be a US-only service, but our pockets will benefit from the price of Apple TV dropping from £99 to £59.

While this is still twice the price of the Google Chromecast, it’s only £9 more expensive than the Roku streaming stick, which could make it quite a tasty proposition.

Apple TV is available to buy at the new price of £59 immediately, although, as far as we know, nothing has changed apps or channels wise for the UK, so you should still pause for thought before splashing out.

[divider]The Tease[/divider] Though the above updates are great, they certainly will not “reinvent the way” we watch TV. Cook assured the crowd that today just marked “the beginning of many changes coming to the world of television.” Let’s quickly revisit what some of these changes have been rumored to be:

[divider]Gaming Capabilities[/divider] In 2013, CNET said that adding games and a console to the Apple TV is a “no brainer.” Two years later, and users still cannot access basic gaming apps via the device. This functionality would basically convert the Apple TV into a gaming system, opening the device up to a whole new market segment.

[divider]A Streaming Service[/divider] In February, Recode reported that Apple is in talks with content providers regarding an internet-based pay TV service, similar to Dish’s Sling TV. The over-the-top streaming service would bundle certain programming and sell it directly to users through the internet. This way, Apple TV users could use the device as a near substitute for cable. (In other words, HBO Now is just one of many future partnerships).

[divider]4K and a New Model[/divider] 4K, or Ultra High Definition, is the latest in TV technology, providing a better quality picture and higher resolution. It’s like HD, but Ultra-er. In order for the Apple TV to stream 4K, we’d need to see new hardware – a brand new Apple TV box. (It’s been three years since there’s been an update, so one’s definitely coming).

[divider]The Long-Anticipated Apple Television[/divider] Many industry insiders still believe that 2016 will be the ‘Year of the Apple Television.’ Though Cook just addressed the Apple TV this afternoon, you’d have to assume that “changing the world of television” would involve revolutionizing the actual device itself.

Apple’s next big event will be June’s World Wide Developer Conference (WWDC) and we expect to hear more about the Apple TV then.

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