The Apple TV has been around since before smart TVs were in every household, and whilst a lot of functionality within this magical little box now exists in most TVs, there’s something really special about everything it has to offer in its new form.
It’s very rare that Apple products come down in price (especially in this economy), but that’s exactly what’s happened with the Apple TV 4K (2022) model. The 64GB (Wi-Fi) is now double the storage of last year’s model at $219 (down from $249 for 32GB last year) whilst the brand new 128GB model (Wi-Fi + Ethernet) will set you back $249 ($279 for 64GB last year).
I can’t think of a time where the value of Apple TV has ever been better at launch, especially if you’re all-in on the Apple ecosystem. I feel relatively confident that this will be the box that Apple stick with for at least a few years, as it feels feature complete and in-line with the rest of the current product lineup.
Not only has the price of the new Apple TV dropped, it also now comes in a brand new 20% smaller, fanless design which results in 30% less power usage. It also incorporates the new A15 Bionic chip which is what powers the brand new iPhone 14 and last years iPhone 13 line, which is great for gaming (we’ll talk about that more later).
Last year’s Apple TV model brought with it a brand new Siri Remote which was miles better than the one from a few iterations ago. It not only feels a lot more solid in the hand, but it now allows you to use either tactile buttons or glide your thumb across the touchpad in order to browse content. It also features a Siri button on the side for easy access. This year, it now also features USB-C charging instead of lighting, which is great news as we’re that little bit closer to the entire line of Apple products being USB-C.
This was my first time setting up a new Apple TV out of the box in at least 2-3 years, and I was more than pleasantly surprised just how easy it was to get going. I simply had to bring my iPhone close to the Apple TV and there wasn’t much else before my iCloud account was connected and everything was ready to go. I do wish that it had pulled across signed in experiences for streaming apps (outside of Apple TV+), but I assume there’d be some privacy issue for why this isn’t the case, and thankfully most easily allow you to enter a code from your phone app for easy integration.
I was quickly able to use the colour balance feature which basically uses the light sensor in your iPhone to adjust the colour of your image to provide a more accurate picture. I was really pleasantly surprised with the before and after results as someone who loves a great image, but isn’t too clued into accurate colours and how to achieve them, so taking the guess work out of it in this magical Apple way is perfect.
What is abundantly clear immediately after launching into the new Apple TV 4K (2022) home screen with tvOS 16.1 is just how much the entire Apple experience is unified across the entire ecosystem. Whether it be wanting to view your photos, do a work-out, listen to music, the experience is largely the same across iPad, iPhone, Mac and now the Apple TV, with nothing feeling as though it’s missing or wildly different to how it works on those other platforms.
This is also evident with the implementation of Siri in tvOS 16.1 which is not only more helpful than ever, but also shows information such as the weather or takes you directly to certain shows in a much more easy to digest pop-up, and also feels more in-line with the improved Siri experienced we’ve come to know on other Apple devices.
I’m a big, big smart home person. Every single light in our house is smart controlled, as are other everyday items such as our air conditioner and driveway gate, and we’ve also got a number of smart home enabled cameras, which I was pleasantly surprised to see are easily accessible on the Apple TV, with picture-in-picture mode or notifications able to be accessed as well. Being able to quickly use the Siri button on the remote, rather than open my phone was also super handy. The brand new Matter smart home standard is also supported in the new Apple TV 4K (2022), although I haven’t converted my system over yet, but adding another Home hub to the mix, is never a bad thing.
Whilst last year’s Apple TV 4K had Dolby Vision support, as a Samsung QLED owner, that didn’t do much for me, but they’ve now added HDR10+ with the new model, which is super helpful for those of us whose TV manufacturers aren’t utilising Dolby Vision standards.
I spoke about how I feel that Apple Arcade gets glossed over when it comes to discussing games in my recent iPhone 14 Plus review, but it’d be really hard for anyone to gloss over Apple’s efforts into the gaming space on the Apple TV 4K (2022) model.
Firstly, you can now sync up to four PS4/PS5 controllers, Xbox Series X controllers, your Nintendo Switch Pro/Joy-Con controllers as well as classic Nintendo 64/SNES/NES Nintendo Switch controllers. Not only can you sync any of these controllers, but you can use any combination of them together, to play the great array of games on offer both on Apple Arcade and the App Store.
Now, even with the A15 Bionic chip, which does provide really solid performance, you’re still not getting a full AAA console experience, but if you’re somebody who wants to experience a wealth of fantastic indie games or more well-known franchises such as the NBA 2K franchise or the several household names such as Sonic or Pac-Man in Apple Arcade exclusive adventures, there’s more than enough here, and everything on offer runs really, really well.
The beauty of Apple Arcade is that there are no in-app purchases, so you can trust your kids in front of the TV, without them hitting any paywalls or making accidental purchases. There’s a load of great games on there, and even if you’re a seasoned console or PC gamer, I can guarantee there’s still more than a handful of titles that you’ll get a kick out of, with more being added weekly.
Something that Apple is doing better than any of the big three as well is cloud saves. Being able to literally put down a controller (or the remote) with my Apple TV and jump back into a game on my iPhone or iPad and have the progress there is even better than what I’ve found on Xbox.
I think it’s a fair criticism to say that the Apple TV wasn’t being realised to its full potential for a few of the earlier iterations, but it feels like it’s firing on all cylinders now and fits perfectly into Apple’s suite of products. If you’re in the ecosystem and want a much better way to explore the digital age of TV, it’s really hard to go past the Apple TV, especially at this new, lower price point.
The Apple TV 4K (2022) is the complete package and perfect control centre for the home. It brings all of Apple's services and offerings together and delivers big on not only entertainment but a very functional smart home hub. The new, lower price point makes it a no-brainer for those already in Apple's ecosystem.