Rumors: Apple TV update super-spendy. Launch date 9/9 (at iPhone 6s bash)

3x price hike shocker, as Cupertino copies Nintendo Wiimote and Amazon Fire remote

The Apple TV 4 will cost $200 (or possibly $150, depending on who you believe). It's now expected to be launched next week at Apple's 9/9 iPhone 6s event, with a release date sometime next month.

Cupertino's new set-top box had better be something special to command that sort of price premium.

A big part of that "special something" is said to be in the remote. However, the rumors point to Apple (ahem) magically copying features from the Amazon Fire and Nintendo Wii.

In IT Blogwatch, bloggers celebrate a slow news day. Not to mention: How does facial recognition work?...

Your humble blogwatcher curated these bloggy bits for your entertainment.
[Developing story: Updated 7:24 am and 8:14 am PT with more comment]

Mark Gurman breaks the bad news:

Sources have provided additional details on Apple’s pricing, availability, and product lineup plans for its set-top devices. [It] will be priced below $200, and is on track to become available in October.

The new Apple TV will come at a premium price compared with the current model, which was originally priced at $99...then was reduced to $69 this March.  MORE

And Nick Mediati mediates the rumor-mongering:

Previous reports indicated a seriously revamped Apple TV is on its way...with a retooled remote, built-in Siri, a new user interface, more powerful innards, and support for third-party apps.

It’s always a good idea to approach rumors with caution...but it seems pretty clear that Apple is up to something with the Apple TV. We won’t have to wait too much longer to find out for sure.  MORE

So John Paczkowski pokes fun at all the release-date rumors:

In March of this year, [I said Apple] planned to unveil it in June at [WWDC]. Two months later [Apple] delay[ed] the device to do a bit more work on it. ... Sources [now say] the company intends to announce its next-generation Apple TV in September, at the same event [as the iPhone 6s].

Expect a refreshed and slimmer chassis and new innards; Apple’s A8 system on chip; a new remote that sources say has been “drastically improved” by a touch-pad input; an increase in on-board storage; and an improved operating system that will support Siri. ... Crucially, the new Apple TV will debut alongside a long-awaited App Store and the software development kit developers need to populate it.

Apple declined comment.  MORE

$69 vs. $199? What justifies that price difference? Mike Flaminio stands on one leg: [You're fired -Ed.]

If I had to guess, a big part of the price hike may be related to a fancy new remote. The rest of the features being held back are most likely software related and Apple simply isn't investing the resources to update. The Apple TV's A5 CPU is the same as in the...4s, and the 4s handles Siri and obviously apps.  MORE

And M.G. Siegler collects his thoughts:

This new remote...seems likely to be one of the keys to both the device and perhaps the SDK itself. [It] sounds like Apple figured out a way to combine...a “magic wand” and a “touch glass” remote.

The vast majority of...remote controls...are pieces of **** with a zillion buttons. The current Apple TV remote...has the opposite problem. [It needs] a microphone for accelerometer and gyroscope.  MORE

Meanwhile, The Common Sense Party canvasses for your vote:

No way, better off with a $25 chrome box or xbox.

Apple trying to get in this is like Google trying to get into Facebook, Facebook trying to get into phones, and MS trying to get into phones, you're too late to the game.  MORE

Update 1: Tony Bradley preps for the 9/9 "iPhone 6s" event with a little light hyperbole:

The world is waiting leaks, rumors and speculation reach a fever pitch.

The surprise star of the Apple event...might be Apple TV. Cord cutting is gaining mainstream popularity and Apple reportedly has worked out arrangements with major networks to allow it to offer a subscription service...for much less than the $100-plus people are used to paying [for] hundreds of useless channels...just so they can watch...10 or 15.

Tune in September 9 to find out. Only ten days and counting...  MORE

Update 2: Jeff "bigger on the inside" Gamet analyzes the truth behind the rumor:

When the price of Apple TV dropped to US$69 and added "starting at" to the...device's webpage, Apple clearly telegraphed a higher priced model would be coming.

The third generation Apple TV will stick around at its current price, and will get Apple Music support [which] doesn't come as any surprise considering Apple...wants to make sure its streaming music service is accessible to as many potential customers as possible.

You still have a few weeks to wait before you can say, "Hey Siri, play the new episode of Doctor Who."  MORE

And Finally...
Ever wondered how facial recognition works?

You have been reading IT Blogwatch by Richi Jennings, who curates the best bloggy bits, finest forums, and weirdest websites… so you don't have to. Catch the key commentary from around the Web every morning. Hatemail may be directed to @RiCHi or Opinions expressed may not represent those of Computerworld. Ask your doctor before reading. Your mileage may vary. E&OE.

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