Want CNET to notify you of price drops and the latest stories?

Apple TV wishlist: 5 things we'd like to see on Sept. 12

We don't expect any new Apple TV hardware this time around, but there's still room for improvement.

David Katzmaier Editorial Director -- Personal Tech
David reviews TVs and leads the Personal Tech team at CNET, covering mobile, software, computing, streaming and home entertainment. We provide helpful, expert reviews, advice and videos on what gadget or service to buy and how to get the most out of it.
Expertise A 20-year CNET veteran, David has been reviewing TVs since the days of CRT, rear-projection and plasma. Prior to CNET he worked at Sound & Vision magazine and eTown.com. He is known to two people on Twitter as the Cormac McCarthy of consumer electronics. Credentials
  • Although still awaiting his Oscar for Best Picture Reviewer, David does hold certifications from the Imaging Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Standards and Technology on display calibration and evaluation.
David Katzmaier
4 min read
Sarah Tew/CNET

While  Apple's event on September 12 should be packed with new iPhones and a new Apple Watch, rumors don't point to a new Apple TV . Nope, no Apple TV 8K, not even any Fortnite.

I hope Apple doesn't ignore it completely, however. The Apple TV 4K is one of my favorite streaming devices already, thanks to its industry-leading format support, superb polish and useful Siri voice options. The non-4K version is just as slick, but both could be better.

Beyond 4K YouTube -- which I doubt will ever be available on the current 4K box, because it lacks YouTube 4K's required VP9 video decoding -- here are a few things I'd like to see Apple roll out for its venerable streamer.

Dolby Atmos support beyond iTunes for Apple TV 4K

We already know the next Apple TV operating system, TVOS 12, will add support for Dolby's best surround sound format to Apple TV 4K when it comes later this year. Apple says its iTunes service will have the world's largest library of Atmos titles, and that if a user owns a title that later adds Atmos, that title will get upgraded free of charge.

Only movies in iTunes will get Atmos initially, however. Regardless of whether Atmos is a big deal in the first place, it would be be nice if other services with Atmos titles, like Netflix , Amazon and Vudu for example, update their Apple TV 4K apps to add Atmos too. Other 4K HDR streamers, like Roku and the Xbox One, offer Atmos for those services, and Apple should too if it wants to claim streaming supremacy for the Apple TV 4K.


The menu on the new Apple TV 4K.

Screenshot by Alexandra Able/CNET

New menus with universal browse and watch list (with Netflix)

A new patent describes an updated menu system for Apple TV that's focused more on TV shows and movies as opposed to apps themselves. Sounds good; Apple TV's current interface looks dated and feels trapped by the iPhone legacy. The new menus, according to the patent application, would provide a central place for users to continue watching current videos, find new ones and get recommendations from multiple apps, without having to go into the individual apps themselves.

If you think that sounds a lot like the current "TV" app on Apple TV, you're right. That app is great, and numerous video services are included, but not Netflix. It also lacks popular apps including Plex, YouTube, Vudu, Movies Anywhere. Live TV apps are also absent like Sling TV, DirecTV Now and YouTube TV . Hopefully Apple gets wider participation for its new interface than it does for its TV app.


The Apple TV remote is still easy to lose.

Óscar Gutiérrez/CNET

'Find my Apple TV remote'

Roku has put remote finders on its boxes for a couple years, and I love the feature. It works like this: tap a button on top of the box and the remote emits a noise, allowing you to find it from among your couch cushions or wherever.

I love the Apple TV's touchpad remote, in particular the scrub action of its touchpad, but it's super-thin and super-easy to misplace. It lacks a speaker so it can't make noise itself, but there should be some way to get an iPhone to locate the remote in a room. Right? If not, Apple should offer a new replacement clicker with a finder feature.

Upcoming TV service bundled with Apple Music

This isn't technically restricted to Apple TV, but worth mentioning nonetheless. Apple will reportedly launch its video service in 2019 to compete against Netflix, Hulu and the rest. It's investing $1 billion and has already announced over a dozen shows and multi-year developments.

Why not let it ride the coattails of the increasingly successful Apple Music ($10, £10 and AU$12 per month)? You know, kind of what Google did with YouTube Premium (aka YouTube Music with the previous Red service) but with stuff you might actually want to watch. Maybe Apple could throw in the lowest tier of iCloud storage ($1, £0.79 and AU$1.49 per month for 50GB) and offer a discount on the whole bundle.

I know the words "Apple" and "discount" go together like "peanut butter" and "lobster," but in today's ultra-competitive streaming world it might need the help. The video service will reportedly be priced below Netflix, which for HD streaming starts at $11, £8 and AU$14 per month, which to me reads like it could be $10 per month. If that's right, a bundle of Apple's TV, music and storage services could be pretty tempting at $15 per month.

A price cut

Speaking of peanut butter lobster, the good old $179, £179 or AU$249 Apple TV 4K could use a permanent markdown a year after launch. $150 sounds right to me, especially if paired with the non-4K version, which debuted in 2015, being chopped to $100 (read: $99). Superb 4K streamers like the Roku Streaming Stick Plus and Amazon Fire TV are $70 in the US, so the Apple TV still feels "premium" at those prices, but at least it would get back in the conversation for the middle price point.

And while I'm dreaming, why not a new Apple TV Stick that lacks 4K and the fancy remote for $50? Once upon a time, the older Apple TV box sold for $69, £59 and AU$109. Maybe we could see those days again.

Apple's little box is an expensive buddy for your big 4K HDR TV

See all photos

Watch Apple Sept. 12 iPhone XS event: We'll be live right here Wednesday at 9 a.m. PT.

New 2018 iPhone XS, iPhone X Plus, iPhone 9, iPhone XS Max: All the rumors from price to specs and release date.