Thanks to Apple’s upcoming smart speaker, the HomePod, its firmware has been a well of information for iOS developers, and this is the next valuable nugget they’ve picked up from the code: Apple TV’s next major update could come with 4K and high dynamic range support.
Earlier, developers examined and confirmed the next iPhone’s (iPhone 8/iPhone X/iPhone Edition) all-screen design and face unlock feature. On further probing, it also revealed the icon used to represent the D22 device and the name of the new feature – Pearl ID for Face Recognition.
One developer, Jeffrey Grossman, discovered that the next Apple Watch was likely to come with LTE support, which means it can be used without being tethered to an iPhone all the time. LTE also means support for phone calls, so that’s pretty exciting stuff. Read more about it here.
All this started when Apple seeded an over-the-air firmware update for the HomePod, mentioning that it will run a modified version of iOS. The pre-release software corresponds to iOS 11.0.2 and contains the references to several unreleased features that would normally be censored ahead of a public release.
Looks like the developers didn’t stop with this. They continued to examine the code even deeper, and discovered that 4K and high dynamic range support is on its way for Apple TV. Guilherme Rambo, iOS developer, reported that Apple is testing a fifth generation Apple TV capable of streaming 4K resolution video. It comes as great news to Apple TV users who have been waiting for quite a while for Apple to adopt the ultra-high definition format; the existing Apple TV set up box does not support 4K and HDR.
Guilherme Rambo also reported that Apple is not only working on 4K resolution and high dynamic range videos, but it also includes a Dolby Vision Premium HDR solution and the HLG version of HDR set. At this point, the only thing missing is the HDR10+ format, a dynamic layer of additional data to the core HDR stream to help TVs display much crispier resolutions, like its rival Samsung does. It is worth noting that Samsung TVs are the only products to support HDR10+ until now.
Bloomberg first reported back in February that Apple was working on 4K HDR, though nothing was confirmed at that time and it just became another rumor in a slew of tidbits that we have been hearing of Apple’s new efforts. Now that the HomePod’s firmware confirms this, we can probably expect some major changes on the fifth generation Apple TV.
Netflix and Amazon already support 4K and HDR, and Google Play recently started streaming in 4K and HDR. iTunes has also started categorizing movies that support 4K and HDR.