Apple may be gearing up to launch a simplified version of its Apple TV box, in a bid to claim more viewers for its forthcoming streaming service. A Wednesday report states that the company’s entry-level stick would work in a similar way to the Amazon Fire TV Stick, which plugs into the HDMI port at the back.

The Information report charts a possible new outlook for Apple’s TV plans. Until now Apple has focused on providing premium experiences, with the basic version starting at $149 and the 4K version at $179. Apple plans to launch a Netflix-like video streaming service, with rumors pointing to a March 2019 launch in over 100 countries and plans for a 128,000-square-foot center for producing original programming. The service may only run on Apple devices, which gives a good reason to introduce a cheaper TV device.

Smart TV
Apple TV in action.

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The company released the first Apple TV after the 2007 MacWorld event, a reveal overshadowed somewhat by the announcement of the iPhone. While it originally came with a hard drive and acted as an iPod for the TV, in 2010 Apple repositioned the device to focus more on streaming. Apple has stuck to the box format, charging $149 minimum for a basic box even as Google’s Chromecast launched with a price of $35 and the Fire TV Stick at $39.

It’s unclear how Apple may bring the price down for its box, considering its support for an iPhone-like model of releases. When CEO Tim Cook released the fourth-generation Apple TV, he said that “the future of television is apps.” The Apple TV comes with an A8 or A10X processor, the same as found in its iOS devices, to power big-screen apps and games. Releasing a cheaper streaming stick would mean creating a differentiator with these models, while also providing a high-quality experience for the user.

Apple may release more details about its hardware plans when it takes to the stage for the annual Worldwide Developers Conference next summer.

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