To help differentiate Apple’s TV products and services, I suggest two new Apple TV hardware models called: “Apple TV Pro“ and “Apple TV Mini.”
These names would better distinguish the hardware from the software app, “Apple TV” and the service, “Apple TV+.”
Apple TV Mini
It should hit the magical $99 price point. It would match the HomePod Mini at the same price and be more competitive with other TV boxes. And even if Apple TV Mini had the least market share, more people would buy it than the current Apple TV box because it would be more affordable. That’s more revenue for Apple.
To hit $99, Apple TV Mini would be like a small streaming stick with one feature: 4K resolution. So no Dolby Vision, Dolby Atmos, Spatial Audio, or HDR. And it would have only 32GB of storage since it would be for streaming not storing content.
Apple TV Pro
This one should start at $199 and be marketed towards the gotta-have-it-all crowd and…gamers. It would feature 4K HDR, Dolby Vision, Dolby Atmos, Spatial Audio, and start with 64GB up to 1TB.
And throw in a free trial subscription of Apple Arcade.
It would be a small box like the current Apple TV hardware and be for storing loads of games or videos.
Apple TV Pro would pair with an all-new Apple “GamePad.”This new device would sell for $99 and would have physical buttons, be shaped more like a modern game controller with analog sticks, and also serve as the remote control.
The GamePad would utilize the W-series and ultra-wide bandchips from Apple for auto-magically pairing (like AirPods) with Apple TV Pro and for finding with Apple’s upcoming (rumored) AirTags product. It would, of course, work with games on iPad and iPhone too.
Marketing for Apple TV Pro and Mini would draw both consumers and developers. For the Pro, “Casual Console” gaming would attract more buyers and also compel game developers to…step up their game.
If Apple really wanted to lean into gaming, they could call their Apple TV Pro device the all-new, “GamePod.”
An Apple TV Pro (GamePod) with Apple GamePad and Apple Arcade would, like Nintendo, differentiate from hardcore gamers (Xbox and PlayStation) and lean towards more casualgaming. And of course, it would have the distinct advantage of a vast library of mobile games from iOS.
Apple could promote Apple TV Pro with Apple Watch and Fitness+ by pairing them together, like how Apple integrates Apple Watch, Fitness+ and Apple TV for video workouts.
It could also enable more interactive games, using Apple Watch, with its fitness and motion sensors, to track movement similar to the Nintendo Ring Fit Adventure.
My wife and I have five sons, and we play Nintendo. Owning two Switches, many 2DS devices, and a Wii U, we enjoy different types of gaming across several age brackets. Of course, Nintendo’s intellectual property, franchises like Mario and Zelda, are the “software that sells hardware.”
Apple can mirror Nintendo as a Family Friendly game distributor and leverage its Apple Arcade service along with a new Apple TV Pro device (GamePod) to sell more of its own TV boxes, peripherals, and third party and indie game apps. Apple is poised with the potential.
Think about it. An Apple TV Pro at $199 plus a GamePad at $99 would basically match the cost of a Nintendo Switch at $299.
Making Apple TV Pro would address the current languished state of Apple’s TV hardware. Pushing into home console gaming via Apple TV would do more for Apple’s overall gaming efforts than has its Augmented Reality gaming push.
If nothing else, a sub-$100 Apple TV Mini would revitalize the platform and be a strong complement to HomePod.