On September 9, 2015, Apple announced the fourth generation Apple TV, to ship in October 2015. It is the first major update to the platform since the release of the second generation Apple TV on September 1, 2010. Tim Cook took the stage and said “The future of TV is apps”. He also stated that the Apple TV needed a modern OS. While following the form factor of the previous 2nd and 3rd generation models, it is slightly taller in size. Featuring a new touch remote allowing swipe-to-select functionality instead of the old remote’s arrow button, with integrated Siri support with a built in microphone and an accelerometer (IMU). The Siri button on the remote allows several functions, including searching across providers for content, accessing additional metadata, and video/audio controls.
The 4th generation also uses a new operating system tvOS with an associated app store, allowing download of third-party apps for video, audio, games, and other content – initially from a limited range of providers on release, with others able to release further apps using new APIs allowing them to do so. A requirement of these apps and games is that they all must include interfacing with the new touchpad-enabled Siri remote. Craig Federighi said that tvOS is 95% based on iOS 9 with the interface and APIs being tweaked to support the big screen.
Upon launch, there were several unexpected issues which included incompatibility with Apple’s Remote app for iOS and WatchOS, which were fixed by Apple in December 2015. As Amazon.com is in direct competition with Apple with their Fire TV, they have declined to develop an application for the Apple TV and began to stop selling Apple TVs in their Apple products section of their online store. Amazon chose to remove all Apple TV SKUs a month or so prior to the launch of the 4th Generation.