Most notably, Twerdahl highlights the potential capabilities of the HDMI 2.1 port including the high-frame rate 4K HDR output and support for eARC, which allows sound from all TV sources to output to a connected HomePod. Twerdahl says Apple is committed to “making great audio products for the home”, an important note given that the eARC feature currently only works with the 2018 HomePod, a product Apple has discontinued.
Right now, the ARC functionality does not work with HomePod mini. Twerdahl’s comments line up with reporting from Bloomberg that Apple is developing more ambitious set-top boxes that include cameras and speakers.
O’Rourke asked about the absence of Find My functionality for the new Apple TV Remote. Twerdahl downplayed the need for such a feature, and said that the thicker design of the remote chassis means it won’t get lost in couch cushions as much as the previous generation.
O’Rourke remarked that in his few days of testing out the new Apple TV and remote, he is using the trackpad swipe gestures more than he thought giving that basic D-Pad buttons are now available. In fact, he said that to him the swipe gestures feel more accurate compared to the previous Siri Remote. Twerdahl says Apple refined the touch algorithms as part of the clickpad redesign, and he expects users will use a combination of swipes and button presses.
Separately, Twerdahl said the A12 Bionic offers about a 50% increase in gaming performance. He says the new Apple TV gives a lot of headroom to Apple Arcade developers to push Apple TV games further.
The new Apple TV 4K is available today, starting at $179 for a 32 GB model. The new Apple TV Remote is also available separately.
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