Apple Inc. unveiled a new version of its TV device for delivering movies, shows and other content, seeking to push deeper into people’s living rooms.
The new Apple TV, the first overhaul of the product since 2012, will cost $149 and $199, depending on memory, and will be available in October. In addition to offering a gateway to viewing online videos from services such as Netflix Inc., Hulu LLC and Time Warner Inc.’s HBO, Apple is stepping up the device’s capabilities with its own App Store. Developers will now be able to make games and other content for the set-top box, just as they have with iPhone and iPad. A new remote control for the device has a motion sensor and doubles as a game controller.
“It really is the golden age of television,” Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook said. Still, he added, “the television experience has been virtually standing still while innovation has been thriving in the mobile space. Today we are going to do something about that.”
The new product is part of Cook’s push to have a device for almost every moment of a person’s digital life. From fitness and health monitoring on the wrist, to communications and productivity via phones, computers and tablets, to entertainment in the living room, Apple has been steadily expanding its lineup as Cook chases new markets for growth.
The new TV device has a touch-enabled remote control and integrates Siri voice-activated commands, letting people search for a movie or show by saying the title or an actor’s name. The new search function includes the ability to look for programs across streaming apps including Netflix, HBO and Apple’s iTunes, with more services to come later.
“Our vision for TV is simple and perhaps a little provocative,” Cook said. “We believe the future of television is apps.”
Cook showcased the new products Wednesday at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco. The September gathering is Apple’s most anticipated annual event, and highlights the company’s gadgets and services ahead of the holiday shopping season.
Apple also introduced a new larger iPad targeted at business customers, updated the Apple Watch, which went on sale in April, and is expected to show off new versions of the iPhone, the Cupertino, California-based company’s most important product.
Apple showed off the set-top box’s gaming capability, including existing App Store favorites such as “Crossy Road.” The new remote control works as a game motion-sensing controller, similar to Nintendo Co.’s Wii. Other apps include shopping services such as Gilt Groupe Inc., and a tool for watching live sports.
The redesigned Apple TV joins a crowded market. Google Inc., Amazon.com Inc., Roku Inc., as well as game-console makers Microsoft Corp. and Sony Corp., are attempting to reach customers in their living rooms who are increasingly streaming programming on demand through the Internet.
Competitors already have some of the features that Apple introduced on Wednesday. Amazon’s Fire TV, for example, has a similar voice-activated search feature and an app store that offers games and other content.