Roku has launched a new remote control for its set-top boxes sporting a dedicated Apple TV+ button, and the company's new operating system adds HomeKit and AirPlay 2 support for more products.
Roku unveiled a number of product launches on Tuesday, covering both hardware and software in its streaming set-top lines. While the product updates are straightforward, the changes also unusually include something directly related to Apple TV+.
In images of the Roku Express 4K and the Roku Voice Remote Pro spotted by The Verge, a number of dedicated buttons towards the base of the controllers are labeled for various streaming services, with one showing the Apple TV+ logo.
Typically these buttons are dedicated to specific streaming services, giving a quick way for users to access certain streaming services without needing to navigate the device's menu system. These can vary from market to market, as demonstrated by some of the promotional images showing a remote with blank dedicated buttons.
It is highly likely that Apple paid Roku to include Apple TV+ in the roster. In a 2019 Bloomberg report, it was estimated that Roku charged in the region of $1 per button, per device sold.
The Roku Express 4K+ is a $39.99 device with an upgraded quad-core processor, dual-band wireless, and extra storage for faster channel start times. It will ship in mid-May with a Voice remote that can be used to verbally launch channels, and to manage the television.
The Roku Voice Remote Pro, priced at $29.99 and available now, is an upgraded form of the existing remote that is compatible with all existing Roku TV models, as well as select streaming players. Equipped with a months-long battery rechargeable over USB, the remote includes personal voice command shortcuts, a private listening mode using headphones, a Push-to-talk mode, and a remote-finding function.
The company also announced Roku OS 10. The company says that the update will add AirPlay 2 and HomeKit to HD Roku streaming devices, and select HD Roku TV models.
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