Designers render beautiful future Apple TV using Apple Watch, iPhone 6 design cues


What would it take to evolve the Apple TV from a plastic $69 puck into a covetable device worth a premium asking price? A design collaboration between designers Martin Hajek and Andrew Ambrosino provides some compelling answers, borrowing Apple Watch and iPhone 6 design cues to re-imagine the Apple TV as a two-tone, metal-clad box with a matching color touchscreen remote. The remote can be used for basic icon-based navigation of the Apple TV’s apps, or flipped over to reveal a basic game controller.

While completely different from the actual fourth-generation Apple TV expected to debut tomorrow at Apple’s special event in San Francisco, Hajek and Ambrosino’s renderings suggest an alternative reality where Apple could convince people to pay $300 for a set top box. Black and silver or white and gold versions are shown in the gallery below, each with interesting button designs…

The basic concept behind Hajek’s hardware design is a return to the “aluminum ring, glossy top” design originally seen on the first-generation Apple TV, but resized and reshaped to mimic the curvy look of the Apple Watch. A glowing Apple logo and Touch ID button are equally improbable top features, nonetheless giving the set top box a distinctive exterior.

Hajek’s remote borrows design elements from the iPhone, including everything from a FaceTime camera to a color touchscreen, a Touch ID sensor, and metallic edge buttons, while its back has the circular directional controller of the second- and third-generation Apple TV and four game controller-like action buttons. Like the Apple TV box, Hajek’s mix of metal, plastic, and glass elements (and twin control surfaces) is a huge stretch, but looks very cool, regardless.

Ambrosino’s iOS 9-influenced Apple TV UI concepts, which debuted before Hajek’s hardware renderings, are expanded to show a touchscreen with a scrolling list of icons, scrolling lists, and a Lock screen. The icon list looks similar to the iPad app selection feature in iOS 9’s split-screen multitasking pane, and suggests — despite Apple’s many prior remote control design decisions to the contrary — that being able to see things on your remote rather than just swiping through lists on the TV would be beneficial.

The actual fourth-generation Apple TV is expected to be revealed tomorrow, with specs and features detailed in our exclusive report. Apple will reportedly keep the current-generation Apple TV available for $69.

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  1. PhilBoogie - 7 years ago

    Yes, dreamed up renders look really great. Though in all honesty I’d rather read up on what the device can do, how it all works and the tech specs, rather than a nice looking device without knowing much else.

    edit: both their sites elaborate on it all:

  2. Robert Stukenbroeker - 7 years ago

    Sorry but design alone is not worth a premium price for something that is going to sit behind my TV or in an entertainment center. This device better have some killer useful features.

    • crichton007 - 7 years ago

      Good point but look at the materials. If this is how it looks and it does sell for $149 I’m not sure how they can justify the price of the iPhone. It’s not as if cellular radios cost THAT much.

  3. Catherine Rot - 7 years ago

    This screams the lack of imagination. The button is especially painful. Then again, I guess this guys wanna display his rendering rather than creative skills.

  4. bdkennedy11 - 7 years ago

    Just placing the button on the left corner shows just how much no this is.

  5. Joe - 7 years ago

    Can we just wait for the actual device instead of getting these horrible renders? Is that TouchID ON the actual AppleTV? Those buttons on the remote are ugly. This is just a designer trying to get his name out there to get some jobs.

    It’s one thing if Gurman saw the AppleTV and is getting someone to create a mockup based on what he saw, like with the new Macbook, but just some random designers take on the AppleTV is just annoying. What have the Apple logo glowing? That will be great when you are watching a movie in a dark room. Good luck losing that remote, a replacement is only $199!

    • rogifan - 7 years ago

      Agreed. This is not based on any rumors and this guys previous renders were aluminum with chamfered edges. Based on the leaks it’s a pretty good guess the new TV will be the same black box only slightly bigger. And no it won’t have a glowing Apple logo on it.

    • bpmajesty - 7 years ago

      This is hilarious! I was going to say all of the exact same things. Additionally, the problem with stories like this is it places a RANDOM image in our minds, then when we see the actual product, we risk being disappointed b/c it doesn’t match the renders that we saw (which, lets not forget, were completely random).

    • Jeremy Horwitz - 7 years ago

      Martin’s been doing these renders for years, and he’s really quite good at creating photorealistic (if not ID-realistic) concept art. I’ve never spoken with or met him, but he’s talented, and seems to have no problem getting work.

      In any case, Mark already told you what this year’s device is going to look like: just like the prior one but bigger, made from black plastic, and bundled with a black remote. That doesn’t make for particularly interesting photos or renders. So why does concept art “annoy” you? It’s just there for thought and discussion.

      • Joe - 7 years ago

        Of course they’re photo realistic, but that doesn’t matter. I just think it’s a filler article this close to the actual announcement. I don’t see the point in showing a concept just because it “looks cool”. They wouldn’t put touchID on the actual AppleTV, they wouldn’t put a screen on the remote (we have one, it’s called an iPhone) so why show it? I don’t see the point if we KNOW it’s not going to look like that, especially this close to the actual announcement.

        I’m “annoyed” because I used to work Apple Retail and we used to have people come in every day saying, “I thought the AppleTV was going to have touchID and a remote with a screen. What happened?” Some people see these and think it’s actually going to look like this.

        I just don’t see the point of it outside of “it looks cool”. It doesn’t add anything to the discussion. We can find thousands of designer that can make something look photorealistic.

  6. taoprophet420 - 7 years ago

    I do like the gaming controller. Other then that I agree with everyone’s else’s comment.

  7. Paul Beasi (@seqiro) - 7 years ago

    The last thing I want near the TV is a giant, glowing logo. Just one more thing I’d have to cover with gaffer tape.

  8. daniel13336 - 7 years ago

    Matte black and minimal light is best suited for watching TV in a dark room.

  9. Tomy Moyano - 7 years ago

    This is horrible. As a designer myself, my thoughts:
    – Why do you need a screen on the remote? You have a giant screen to look at. It’s a tv. And if you still want a screen in your hands, why wouldn’t you use your iphone or even watch with its tiny remote app? You are making an expensive remote, and useless.
    – Why do you need a glowing light in the device? It might annoy in a dark cinema-like environment when we want to watch a movie.
    – If you include touch ID, you want to do it in the remote, not in the box! If it is a turn on and off button, it shouldn’t look like touch ID, cause you are canfusing the users.
    – You do not have to make it look like a giant apple watch. Every apple product has is own design language and it responds to different needs.
    – This is pretty much what samsung could make.

    • xials - 7 years ago

      Remind me not to hire you as my designer. You should go back and watch the 2007 launch for the answer to your first question.

      #2 I kind of agree with, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t sell well.

      #3 Touch ID is both places. It also looks cool.

      #4, you don’t have to, but it looks incredible.

      #5 Samsung wouldn’t do that until apple did. Remember, they copy apple for anything decent.

      • dcperin - 7 years ago

        I don’t know why you’re saying you wouldn’t hire him. Everything he said has a point, and good ones at that. And honestly, if you think having TouchID on the box (that I literally NEVER touch unless I’m moving it to a different TV) is cool, then I’m not sure you could pay him enough to even agree to design for you.. I wouldn’t want my name on this ish just bc you think it looks cool. Seriously, I go so long without touching my Apple TV box that it has an inch worth of dust on it b4 I clean it off….. Secondly, if touchID is on the remote, why would you EVER use it on the box? Makes no sense…. You have horrible taste.

      • Tomy Moyano - 7 years ago

        Thanks for your comments. I studied over 5 years and I worked over 3 years to date to have a point behind my opinions. If you are not involved in a product development career or profession, i guess your thoughts are just from the user perspective. Design is subjective, but it’s easier when you think before you do.

        Martin Hajek is a GREAT 3D modeller, and an AMAZING 3D artist with those renders almost looking like photos, but it doesn’t mean he is a good designer.

      • r00fus1 - 7 years ago

        #2 – you’re simply wrong to argue it.
        #3 – What point does TouchID do on the unit at all? IN fact, I see no reason for TouchID on the remote even. Just require auth for purchases on a linked computer or iPhone (which could auth with TouchID). Or do what the current one does – have no auth/password on purchases.
        #4 – disagree it looks ugly. Just like #2.
        #5 – I agree with you here :)

    • gkbrown - 7 years ago

      Agree with everything you said. I had the same thoughts. There’s no need for Touch ID on the box itself – or are we expected to get up to change channels as well?

      Also, there’s no way that the remote will have a touch screen. That would drive up the overall price way too high, and would kill the battery life in the remote.

      And yes – there’s no need for the Apple TV to look like the Apple Watch. In fact, I think Apple went a bit too far trying to make the watch look like the iPhone 6. I would have preferred it to look more like a watch (like some of the other smart watches we’ve seen coming out over the past few weeks).

  10. Ilko Sarafski - 7 years ago

    Personally, I liked the designs. Maybe they are not the best but surely they are attractive! :) We’ll see in about 24-28 hours! :)

  11. Ocula (@oculadev) - 7 years ago

    Many are saying that it’s useless to them.. Some people rather rely on the Apple TV rather than normal cable services. For those of whom who do that, this is a great step up from 3rd-gen Apple TV.

  12. joe smith (@joe815smith) - 7 years ago

    That is fugly

  13. Tinny - 7 years ago

    Very nice concept! A remote that can be used as controller… I hope they are going to present something like this!

  14. incredibilistic - 7 years ago

    No doubt difficult to render but let’s not forget about Force Touch and what that could mean for the remote. There could be far fewer tactile buttons because the Force Touch feature will make way for new ways of communicating input.

    Imagine a racing game where acceleration is based (optional obviously) based on how hard/deep you press onto the controller or, based on TV usage, pressing harder to see more information on a show/movie.

    Anyway. Super stoked for Wednesday’s keynote. These renders are completely unnecessary but good, clean fun leading up to the real stuff tomorrow.

  15. modeyabsolom - 7 years ago

    Now that is what I’d like the ATV4 and its remote to look like!! Dream on aye?

    • modeyabsolom - 7 years ago

      With the exception of the glowing logo and Touch ID interface on the ATV itself that is…they’re unnecessary.

      • arwynnfcffxiv - 7 years ago

        I like The glowing logo the most! Love it on my MBP and would love it on my iPhone too. I understand about he dark room thing so maybe ambient light sensor will dim it down to almost nothing when it detects the lights are off?

  16. kjl3000 - 7 years ago

    No more round edges, please!!!

  17. Ty Belisle (@Pifman) - 7 years ago

    Giving space on 9to5Mac to concept art is disappointing. Don’t confuse good rendering with good design predictions. The iPhone and Apple TV are two very different products which serve very different functions. One does not need to resemble the other. If Apple had actually released these products it would be very worrying.

  18. Chris Denny (@dennyc69) - 7 years ago

    Do not like the remote, don’t like,don’t like.

  19. Branon Santos - 7 years ago

    I don’t understand why there has to be a remote when they can easily create an app for the system. It’s pointless having another “device” with a screen. Thoughts?

  20. Salvador Sanchez - 7 years ago

    The thing that concerns me the least about Apple TV is the way it looks, it could go hidden behind the TV for all I care as long as it works properly, as long as it has better features, as long as it’s on the edge of technology. 4K? Gaming? AppStore? Siri? HardDrive to load content? And as beautiful as it is, a better remote control. I really miss my 17in 2011 MacBook Pro’s ability to use the IR Remote.

  21. Paul Andrew Dixon - 7 years ago

    This is hideous…the box looks beefy and not sleek at all…it looks like its from the 70’s (or somewhere in the past)

    i like the idea of the remote… but i think it will ship with a basic remote with the option of linking to your phone for keyboard and track pad…

    If this became the design i would stay far away