Similar to Amazon’s FireTV stick and Roku’s stick, Apple has been contemplating a more affordable TV dongle to help launch its video streaming service, according to a report by The Information.
Apple TV dongle?
It is not clear from the report whether Apple has made a decision or not but the company has apparently been exploring the concept of bringing tvOS – the company’s TV operating system – to a TV dongle. The Apple TV is currently sold in a box form factor.
The dongle form factor has helped competitors such as Amazon, Google, and Roku sell more affordable media players for TVs. These have less capable hardware but are typically good enough for casual use or second rooms. Google’s Chromecast dongle is a video receiver, whereas Amazon and Roku’s dongles have a full user interface with apps.
The Information claims that Apple has been “contemplated going downmarket on its TV hardware”, citing people familiar with the project, in a move to help sell its upcoming video streaming service that is expected to launch globally next year.
Apple TV 4K is one of the most powerful media players on the market. The GPU is faster than the previous generation of game consoles (measured in Gigaflops) such as PlayStation 3 and Xbox One. The company recently launched a new iPad Pro with an A12X processor that matches Xbox One S, the company claimed.
Apple would probably have to sacrifice some of that power to fit the hardware into a dongle form factor.
The launch of Apple TV 4K in late 2017 has led to a surge in adoption of Apple’s TV platform but Roku is still leading the pack.