Updated Apple TV4K Adds Thread Support

Apple made a series of product announcements earlier today in their first event of 2021, which included the long-awaited AirTags, new colourful iMacs with M1 chips, a new iPad Pro, and an update to the company’s flagship streaming box, the Apple TV 4K. The new update adds a slew of updates, some of less general interest, like an updated processor (A12 Bionic)for better streaming and performance, along with more immediately recognisable changes, like the new Apple remote, which has been totally redesigned, but still with a nod to the original Apple TV remote from way back.

What’s more relevant to us HomeKit users, however, is the inclusion of Thread support, which brings the new Apple TV into the same realm as last year’s HomePod Mini, which became the first device to support Thread within the Apple HomeKit ecosystem. Until this announcement, if you weren’t in possession of a HomePod Mini, you wouldn’t be able to take full advantage of the slow but steady release of Thread enabled devices, including the Essentials light Strip and colour bulb, from Nanoleaf, or any of the many devices that have been updated with Thread from industry leader Eve, who incidentally announced the release of the first Thread enabled light switch yesterday (currently only the EU version).

Although the Apple TV has received what could in some ways be described as a significant upgrade, the device itself hasn’t really changed externally, which is no bad thing (if it ain’t broke…). But when it comes to Thread, this is yet another step in the direction that Apple – and others – have taken towards this new standard in wireless communication for smart home devices, something that is also part of the larger connectivity standard that revolves around CHIP (Connected Home over IP), which Apple is a founding member of, alongside Google, Amazon, Comcast, and the Zigbee Alliance.

So, if you don’t already have a HomePod Mini, maybe due to your investment in the original HomePods, then the Apple TV could be just the device to get you into the Thread world of devices.

Here are the specs for the forthcoming Apple TV 4K with Thread;

Apple TV4K

  • Height: 1.4 inches (35 mm)
  • Width: 3.9 inches (98 mm)
  • Depth: 3.9 inches (98 mm)
  • Weight: 15 ounces (425 g)
  • HDMI 2.1
  • 802.11ax Wi‑Fi 6 with MIMO; simultaneous dual band (2.4GHz and 5GHz)
  • Thread
  • Gigabit Ethernet
  • Bluetooth 5.0 wireless technology
  • IR receiver
  • Built-in power supply
  • A12 Bionic chip with 64-bit architecture

Siri Remote

  • Height: 5.4 inches (136 mm)
  • Width: 1.4 inches (35 mm)
  • Depth: 0.36 inch (9.25 mm)
  • Weight: 2.2 ounces (63 g)
  • Bluetooth 5.0 wireless technology
  • IR transmitter
  • Lightning connector for charging
  • Rechargeable battery providing months of battery life on a single charge (with typical daily usage)
  • Charging via USB to computer system or power adapter (sold separately)
  • Control your TV or receiver via IR or CEC.

The Editor

Editor - Musician, graphic designer and HomeKit aficionado.