What to expect from the new Apple TV 2014
We've been talking about the possibility of a new Apple TV for a long time now. The last time Apple updated the Apple TV was way back in January 2013, and even that was just a minor update. Therefore, speculation about a fourth-generation Apple TV is mounting fast, and it's certainly possible that Apple is gearing up to launch a new Apple TV this year.
In this article, we're bringing you a preview of the Apple TV based on the rumours, speculation and evidence we've seen. It should give you an idea of what to expect from the new Apple TV, and help you decide whether to wait for Apple to launch it or opt for the current Apple TV, or one of the Apple TV's alternatives.
When we find out more about the new generation of Apple TV, we'll update this article to reflect the new information. It'll also be the place you'll find out full review once the new Apple TV launches, so check back regularly for the latest news. See also: Apple TV review.
Plus, find out what's instore for next year: Apple rumours and predictions for 2015
Apple TV 2014 preview: When is the new Apple TV coming out?
Apple is bound to know that its customers are getting pretty impatient when it comes to the Apple TV. With more than a year since its last minor up date and more than two years since a significant update, it's starting to get rather frustrating.
In those two years since Apple's last Apple TV update, competing products from many rival companies have launched, so Apple really needs to get a move on if it wants to dominate the set-top box market. See: 13 alternatives to the Apple TV
Apple TV 2014 preview: Design
We don't expect the design of the Apple TV to change much from the current model, but there are some theories that it might look more like the Roku Streaming Stick or the Google Chromecast, which both come in a stick-like form that plugs into the television.
It's certainly likely that the Apple TV will be smaller, whether it becomes an Apple TV stick or not, and it's possible there will be new colour options.
There's talk of a new remote for the Apple TV, too. In fact, it's been dubbed the 'magic wand' after mention of such device was spotted in a Steve Jobs email being used as evidence in the Apple vs Samsung case.
Additionally, the Apple TV could have some form of motion control like the Xbox Kinect, thanks to an Apple TV camera. This camera could also be used for FaceTime calls if Apple adds a microphone.
With a microphone, the option of voice control (presumably Siri-based) for the Apple TV would also be present.
Apple TV 2014 preview: Channels
Apple is continuously adding new channels to the Apple TV, but there is still a distinct lack of UK on-demand content. It's possible that the reason Apple still hasn't released a new Apple TV is because it hasn't yet come to agreements with all of the providers behind the content it wants to introduce.
We are hoping for BBC iPlayer on the Apple TV, as well as 4OD and iTV Player.
See also: Apple TV vs Android TV
Apple TV 2014 preview: iOS 8
Apple unveiled iOS 8 during WWDC 2014 in June, and with it comes some new features that could lend themselves nicely to a future Apple TV.
iOS 8 will connect closely with OS X Yosemite, Apple's next version of its Mac operating system, thanks to a new feature called Continuity. Continuity is rumoured to be coming to the Apple TV, too.
This would mean that a user who's been watching a movie on their iPhone during their commute home could walk into their home and see that movie automatically begin playing on their television thanks to the Apple TV.
Apple's new Homekit smart home platform could also be part of the next Apple TV. It's designed to make use of connected home appliances such as lamps, locks and more for an easier and more seamless experience. Apple could use the Apple TV as a central hub for Homekit. Apple TV owners could say 'Hey, Siri, turn out the lights' while in the same room as the Apple TV, for example.
Apple TV 2014 preview: Games
Apple TV owners are keen to see Games come to the device. Amazon's FireTV has 133 games available, while Roku also offers games on its devices. With so many developers already making games for iOS, it would be a great way to bring some of those games to the big screen without the need for iPad mirroring, though presumably you'd need to use an iPad or iPhone as a controller for the game.
Apple TV 2014 preview: App Store
If games do come to the Apple TV, it's likely we'll get an Apple TV App Store, too. This means other apps such as Facebook, Twitter, news, weather and more.
We've got lots more speculation about the Apple TV over in our Apple TV rumour round up.
There are also rumours about a fully-fledged Apple television, dubbed iTV. You can find out everything there is to know about the iTV here.
We'd love to know what you want from the next Apple TV. You can let us know in the comments section below or on Twitter.
Concept images by Martin Hajek.
We'll be providing a full review of the new Apple TV when it is released, so watch this space.