Why You Shouldn’t Buy a New Apple TV Right Now

Jason O. Gilbert
Technology Editor

Thinking about buying an Apple TV some time soon? Well, put down that remote. Step away from the Apple Store. 

According to reports from both Bloomberg News and the Apple obsessives at the website 9to5Mac, Apple will release a new version of its Apple TV in the coming months. 9to5Mac heard from its sources that the new Apple TV would be released “in the first half of 2014”; Bloomberg hears that it will be here as soon as April. 9to5Mac also discovered references in some Apple code that indicate that a new Apple TV is on the way. 

In other words: If you were planning on picking up a new Apple TV, you might want to wait a few months. You could be rewarded with a newer model. 

The Apple TV is a small Internet-connected box that can plug into your television and stream videos from services like YouTube and Netflix. Apple sells it for $100, and it competes against similar devices from Roku, whose boxes cost between $50 and $100, and the Google Chromecast, a $35 streaming stick that also streams multimedia from the web. 

Predicted features for the next-generation Apple TV include a faster processor, an improved experience for playing video games through the system, and some kind of integration for existing cable subscribers perhaps enabling you to watch live TV through Apple’s box.

Apple has long been rumored to want to get into live TV, though its talks with cable companies have apparently ended up short of a deal. A recent Bloomberg News report indicated that Apple was closing in on an agreement with Time Warner Cable, however, potentially bringing real-time programming to Apple TV for the first time.

But even if you don’t subscribe to cable and you don’t care about video games, the potential speed boost from a new processor should persuade you to wait a couple of months for the upgraded Apple TV. 

How sure are we that a new Apple TV is actually debuting soon, though? Even if you don’t buy into the rumors, the timing is right. The Apple TV was last upgraded in March 2013. Apple has traditionally updated its hardware products, like the iPhone and the iPad, on a yearly cycle; it has been about a year since the last new Apple TV. In some sense, Apple is overdue to release a new one. 

But aside from this calendar-ology, the latest rumors of a new Apple TV come from solid sources. Apple rumors on the Internet can be inaccurate, yes. But both Bloomberg  News and 9to5Mac reporter Mark Gurman have solid reputations for reporting what turns out to be the truth when it comes to upcoming Apple products. Gurman in particular has become somewhat noteworthy for nailing down the specifics of Apple products before they are announced, earning a Fortune profile in 2012

An Apple TV in the near term isn’t a sure thing. But, reading the iLeaves, it is plausible enough that potential Apple TV buyers should hang on for a couple of months before plunking down $100 on what could become an antiquated device.

Our advice? If you’re committed to an Apple TV, wait until springtime to snag one. Your television will thank you later.  

CORRECTION: A previous version of this article stated that the Apple TV hadn’t been updated since 2012. It was updated with a new processor in 2013. 

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