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Apple TV goes on sale, begins shipping next week

Apple's latest set-top box, the 2015 Apple TV.Apple's latest set-top box, the 2015 Apple TV.
Apple's latest set-top box, the 2015 Apple TV.Image Courtesy Apple

Speaking with The Wall Street Journal’s Gerard Baker on Monday night, Apple CEO Tim Cook revealed the highly anticipated Apple TV will be available for purchase starting Monday, Oct. 26. Meanwhile, the device is expected to begin shipping later that week.

Apple (AAPL) originally unveiled its solution for “fixing” the broken TV experience at its Sept. 9 event in San Francisco. The new set-top box includes a faster processor and will cost $149 for a 32 GB model, or $199 for 64 GB.

The fourth-generation Apple TV is the company’s first new model in nearly three years. In recent years Apple has faced stiff competition from Amazon (AMZN), Google (GOOGL), and Roku. Over the years, each competing TV service has added new games and content providers, along with voice search capabilities to their respective platforms. Moreover, each company has also released new streaming products within the past month, putting even more pressure on Apple to upgrade its TV services.

In August, research firm Parks Associates placed Apple TV in fourth place for most popular media streaming devices based on U.S. sales. According to the report, Roku led the pack with 34% of the market.

In the WSJ live interview Cook was optimistic about Apple’s plan to revolutionize the TV experience, referring to next week’s release as the “foundation of the future of TV.” The revamped TV features new applications, which users will install on the small black box from a special app storefront, similar to what’s currently found on iOS devices.

Instead of hand-selecting content providers, as Apple has previously done with the Apple TV, developers will now have the ability to create and publish their own apps for the platform.

Furthermore, Apple has incorporated Siri (the company’s digital assistant) into the new set-top box. Moving forward users will only need to push a button on their remote in order to ask questions, search for content, or launch applications. The company has also managed to snag Disney, which has committed to bringing its Disney Infinity 3.0 gaming platform to Apple TV, and Major League Baseball, which demonstrated its app during last month’s event, for its new device.

Cook hopes that by creating more demand via content providers the Apple TV will eventually become an all-in-one source for over-the-top content. Perhaps, one day, if the foundation Cook is so fond of is strong enough, we’ll even have the option to purchase content directly from ESPN.

All of this is conjecture, of course, as we don’t yet know what the Apple TV will become in the future. We only know what it will be next week as users begin powering it up for the first time.

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