Like we surmised earlier, since new iPhones are hardly cause for huge press events at this juncture, that unusually large, splashy Apple event being set up at Bill Graham Civic Auditorium for next Wednesday is likely to focus on the fourth-generation Apple TV, which is set to be unveiled along with the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus, and the larger iPad Pro. As SFGate and BuzzFeed report, the new Apple TV is expected to be a lot richer and more user-friendly than previous versions, with a new remote that will feature voice controls and gaming ability.
Apple has taken the unusual move of renting out the 7,000-capacity auditorium in the middle of SF, more than four times the size of their usual digs at Yerba Buena, with the intention of having a much larger-than usual unveiling after the holiday weekend, likely with with as much pomp and press coverage as last September's Apple Watch unveiling.
The details, of course, are all just well informed rumor at this point, but here are the probable Apple TV features that are being widely reported:
- The new Apple TV will have Siri-enabled voice controls, via a bigger remote, as hinted at in last week's invitation to the event. This will free everyone from the frustrating, text-based interface of years' past.
- TechCrunch reports that the new remote will double as a gaming controller with physical buttons, bringing the new Apple TV in direct competition with things like Playstation and Xbox.
- Another big new feature: Universal search. You'll supposedly be able to tell Siri you want to find a movie or TV show, and it will return results across multiple platforms Hulu, Netflix, YouTube, HBOGo, etc.
- And as hinted at by remarks from Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, Apple could be branching out into producing its own original programming now too, directly competing with Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu and everyone else. It's expected to launch its own subscription-based programming service, and therefore the scale of this event could be meant to attract prime attention to this cause, swaying consumers to opt for Apple subscriptions over Netflix or the just-announced, most-expensive-in-the-land, Hulu.
- The new Apple TV console is expected to be priced between $149 and $199, a big leap from the current iteration's price tag of $69.
Got all that? There's plenty more out there on the Apple geek sites if you want to delve deeper into possible specs, or you can wait with the rest of us until September 9 at 10 a.m.