Apple’s HomePod firmware leaks existence of 4K Apple TV

Alex Kidman 7 August 2017 NEWS


The Apple TV set-top box is about to get significantly sharper.

Apple has, historically speaking, been a company that obsesses over secrecy to a level that would make James Bond think they were being a bit overzealous. However, of late, there have been increasing levels of detail slip about upcoming products.

We've already seen details surrounding the iPhone 8 leak via the firmware for its as-yet-unreleased HomePod, and now it appears that the same code is also leaking details about Apple's upcoming Apple TV plans.

Before the rumour mills churn out further thoughts about Apple-branded flat panels, we're talking about Apple TV, the tiny set-top box product. However, what is increasingly likely, is that Apple will adopt both 4K and HDR content for iTunes at some point in the near future based on analysis of the HomePod firmware that Apple has made available to developers.

Specifically, as appleinsider notes, specific strings in the code reference both 4K video resolutions and pointers towards HDR in 10-bit, Dolby Vision and HLG formats.

Apple usually keeps its news around new Apple TV models fairly quiet, with most of the hype going behind iPhone and iPad launches, but it seems that the hardware underlying the current 4th Generation Apple TV couldn't quite cut it for decoding full 4K HDR content.

That means that if Apple does intend to jump into 4K content, it won't be able to deliver it with a simple firmware upgrade to the current model Apple TV set-top box.

Instead, a 5th generation box may be on the immediate horizon. Apple currently only sells and rents content in Full HD (1080p) at maximum, but it's well behind the pace of streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Video that offer 4K streaming for those with a fast enough broadband connection.

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