In December last year, it was reported by Bloomberg that an Apple TV refresh with a stronger focus on gaming was in the pipeline for 2021. The device will reportedly come equipped with a faster processor and there will be a new remote as well. Now, the folks over at 9to5Mac have spotted the mention of a feature in tvOS 14.5 beta code that hints towards a new Apple TV model with some gaming chops. The feature in question support for 120Hz refresh rate.
“Multiple references to “120Hz” and “supports120Hz” have been added to tvOS’ PineBoard in the latest beta release. For those unfamiliar with the matter, PineBoard is the internal name of the system that controls the Apple TV interface, similar to the SpringBoard on iPhone and iPad. These references strongly suggest that Apple is at least internally testing a 120Hz mode for Apple TV.”
Of course, to take advantage of 120Hz, you’ll need a TV that supports such a high refresh rate for content consumption. The biggest advantage would be in the field of gaming. Apple has lately turned its focus towards gaming, adding more titles to its Apple Arcade subscription service to cultivate an audience. Now, games are obviously the chart-toppers when it comes to App Store revenues, and it only makes sense for Apple to come up with new features that will offer a more immersive gaming experience and keep players hooked to the platform. And that’s where the upcoming Apple TV refresh might play a key role.
And to drive 120Hz hardware, Apple will also have to make the jump to HDMI 2.1 standard. In the past, conflicting rumors have pointed towards an A12 or A14 chip inside the Apple TV refresh for 2021, with 64/128GB of storage in tow. But nothing concrete has materialized, until now. The latest discovery in tvOS beta code is a sign that preparations for a 120Hz-ready Apple TV are underway, and we can expect a launch either in April, or somewhere around September when the new iPhone and Mac hardware arrives.