This morning, Tim Cook seemingly teased the announcement of a new iPad with a short video highlighting its note-taking abilities. Simultaneously, the online Apple Store shut down with a promise to be back soon.
Surprisingly, it was not the iPad that Apple first announced, but a new Apple TV 4K. While there have been rumors suggesting it would happen in 2022, few expected the announcement would come today.
The new Apple TV 4K, which is up for pre-order today and will be available Friday, November 4, is priced at a new, significantly lower starting price of $129 (the 2021 model, which we called “an uncompromising streaming box” in our review, came to market at $179, although Amazon is currently discounting it to $110). The lower-priced 2022 model will come with 64GB of storage and will have Wi-Fi support, but it drops the ethernet port found on the previous base model set-top box.
The step-up model, priced at $149, will have a gigabit ethernet port and 128GB of storage. Both will feature the A15 Bionic chip—a big bump from the A12 Bionic at the heart of the 2021 Apple TV 4K—giving it the same CPU as Apple’s iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max models. Apple says we can expect 30 percent faster GPU performance and a 50 percent faster CPU, which should mean faster navigation and smoother UI animation.
Also coming to this new Apple TV 4K series is HDR10+ support on both models, which is a first for the streaming device. The new models will ship with a new version of the Apple TV remote with a battery that is recharged via USB-C instead of a Lightning connector. The new remote is compatible with all generations of the Apple TV 4K and Apple TV HD and can be purchased on its own for $59.
Previous Apple TV 4K models have also served as HomeKit hubs—essentially, the brains of any Apple smart home ecosystem—but only the upgraded 2022 128GB model will join Apple’s HomePod mini and the 2021 model of the Apple TV 4K in offering Thread support, so owners will be able to control Matter-compliant devices. The new 64GB model will lack this feature, which is probably the right choice if it keeps the price down. That said, spending an extra $20 to get the 128GB version is likely well worth the upgrade, if only for future-proofing.
The new Apple TV 4K models are available for pre-order now with shipping scheduled for November 4.
Updated shortly after publication to clarify that the 2021 model of the Apple TV 4K is also Thread compatible and to report that the batteries in the latest Apple TV remote are recharged via a USB-C port instead of a Lightning connection.