I feel like we've been chewing this proverbial rumor cud for what feels like years now, but a big part of me really wants to believe that we're closer than ever to an Apple TV that can play games and a recent report by 9to5Mac hints at a new Apple TV on the way which could be the one. Rumors have been increasingly in strength lately in regards to a mid-2014 release of a new Apple TV, but this mention inside of a .plist in iOS 7 is the first we've seen of any kind of "official" confirmation:

appletv4

This raises the question of why would Apple release a new Apple TV when there's absolutely nothing wrong with the existing Apple TV for what 99% (or greater) of what people are buying it for: To play iTunes audio and video content. It outputs 1080p, 4K is still a super niche market, and arguably the only downfall of the device is that it doesn't support 3D without getting creative with the super-janky side by side 3D which halves the video resolution. Additionally, one could make a compelling argument that 3D content is just as niche as 4K.

This leads us to the hopeful conclusion that the Apple TV is getting a rework with a beefier GPU and some kind of onboard storage to play games. The pieces are all starting to come together, particularly as more iOS 7 controllers are released. Rumors have been pointing that way for a while, and I'd love to play some awesome iOS games full screen on my TV without the lag of Airplay or the Lightning to HDMI adapter.

Fingers crossed there's something to this.

  • Kane

    R.I.P. Consoles

    • ikari_paul

      disagree. they still have their market, and if we compare iphones/ipads to another handheld like the 3DS, apple devices address a different audience. crap like flappy-something are the proof of that.
      the audience is splintered into different groups, that have different needs in terms of hardware. an machine that suits everybody is unatainable. a appletv4 will find its audience, but itll be a particular one, and wont be for everybody. if it suits your needs though, great.

    • anon_coward

      unless this thing comes with PS4/xbox one specs and storage, no.

      Nintendo might have screwed up with mobile games aren't going to replace console games until their production values go up along with the depth. for now its a way to kill some time.

      i was going to buy a second ipad and bought an xbox one instead. my kids can't get enough of skylanders and the ipad collects dust most of the day now

      • Ph0lly

        As well it should, might as well trade it in and get some real games.

    • crunc

      Well, if consoles go 90% FTP, I'll be fine with dropping the hobby (or, rather, sticking to the "old" stuff).

  • iAjent

    This would be awesome. Especially if it means Apple end up releasing their own MFi controller in support, that works universally with all iOS/Apple devices.

    • ikari_paul

      they definitely need to launch a controller, one to which people can look up to as the standard. the same way they released the remote, a apple branded MFi needs to come packaged with the AppleTV4.

      a bit like the steamboxes, that have a valve branded controller, yet allow later everybody to propose their own design

  • deviladv

    I would argue that the statement "there is nothing wrong with the "Apple TV" is not entirely accurate.

    Mirroring on the Apple TV is a bit choppy once in a while, seemingly at random. Also it seems to "forget" subscriptions from time to time. Now, granted, this has to do with finding ways to watch internet content. My wife loves hulu but rather than pay for hulu plus we simply mirror from the Mac we already have. We also have been streaming the live TV events that have been offered up as of late. There were times there was a problem with the stream, but there were times the computer was chugging and the Apple TV decided to stutter.

    And saying "there's nothing wrong with the current Apple TV" is very un-Apple. Was there anything wrong with the original iPhone? Why aren't we all carrying around that device? It's nice to speculate that this is the console games update, but don't be sad when Apple releases something entirely different that has nothing to do with games, if that happens.

    • http://toucharcade.com Eli Hodapp

      My point was more along the lines of the fact that most of the things the Apple TV is "lacking" could be almost entirely addressed via a software update or three.

  • crunc

    Well, you won't be able to play Flappy Bird on it. ;)

  • Wolfcoyote

    Do we really have to speculate on this issue every week? It's February. WWDC isn't until the summer. Apple will announce new hardware when it's time, and to be honest TA already covered this same speculation last week.

    • nini

      Hi, you must be new to tech blogging.

    • http://toucharcade.com Eli Hodapp

      Well, pack it in folks. It's been a good run.

  • Maggot

    Dolby DTS audio would be extremely welcome.

    • Grits n Gravy

      Would like that too, but doubt Apple would go that route.

    • http://toucharcade.com Eli Hodapp

      Apple TV already does Dolby Digital, I'm not sure many people can identify the difference between that and DTS? Is iTunes content even encoded with DTS?

  • IAmTheNightRider

    "I'd love to play some awesome iOS games full screen on my TV without the lag of Airplay or the Lightning to HDMI adapter."

    Totally available now, with an iPad 3 and HDMI adapter.

    • Stustaff

      Yup and use a dual shock controller with it too equals much gaming awesome when travelling.

  • blackbear219

    Too little, too late for this guy.

    Week after week I would follow this site trying out all the hot, new, recommended games. More often than not, I'd walk away bored and disappointed by unpolished games and wonky controls.

    I've since bought a Vita and the next gen consoles and I feel like I am home again. The Sony ecosystem in particular is fantastic (Remote play, PS+, trophies across three consoles)

    • blackbear219

      (I hit Post by accident so, part 2!)

      I am really enjoying the premiere games again. After a couple years of raising kids and searching for that casual iOS game to fill the void in my busy schedule, I put my money where my mouth was and went out and bought the games I wanted.

      It's been great.

      I'll always be a TA reader though. Great job day in and day out guys, even with all the tween haters :)

      • iammane

        Amen! I'm in the same boat the Vita remote play for PS4 was the clincher. With a 1 year old it's been an absolute life saver. The Vita has some good games itself too :)

        I'm still enjoying ios gaming, I'll pass on this if it's a mack daddy Apple TV game device since it's a bit too late for me too but it's still exciting

  • Inaba-kun

    I'm not so sure games would be a good idea. Even an iPad Air is massively underpowered when compared to a PS3, let alone a PS4. Android micro consoles have all failed. They're cheap, but who really wants to play mobile quality games on a 50" HDTV?

    An App Store though, would make enormous sense, especially for very country in the world which isn't called USA. (The current non-US app line up on ATVs around the world is utterly laughable)

    • anon_coward

      ipad air CPU/GPU is about as fast as a PS3. they have x-com in the ios store
      big issue is only 1GB RAM and not enough storage for a decent game

      • Inaba-kun

        The iPad Air's GPU runs at around 50gflop. The PS3 is 300gflop. The PS4 is 1800gflop.

        XCOM was massively downgraded to run on iOS, and had all of it's shaders cut back from per pixel to per vertex, with just a basic diffuse map. The character rigs were also stripped way back. The cut scenes are movies of the PC version, which shows you what the game should look like all the time.

        That said, XCOM was very far from state of the art even on PS3.

        The performance gulf is vast, which is hardly surprising given the raw wattage difference between a desktop class GPU and a mobile chip.