A new rumor says Apple is planning a big overhaul for tvOS this year, paving the way for an updated Apple TV unit with a completely new design.

Apple TV – the device, not the TV+ streaming service – has a very slow update cycle in comparison to Apple’s other products. We’ve not seen a big update to the box in years, and even the last two annual software updates were minor. It’s in dire need of a refresh.

Sources point to tvOS 15 making big changes to both the design and capabilities of the set-top box. Personally, we’d like to see improvements to the mess that is the native TV app. The idea of collating shows from every network in one place sounds good on paper, but Apple’s implementation is lacking.

However, the exact layout changes aren’t specified here. Instead, the rumors suggest we’ll see more robust parental controls, including a Screen Time feature and a kids mode.

The 6th-gen Apple TV, expected later this year, is said to considerably beef up the storage capabilities while upgrading the processor to the powerful A12 Bionic chip found in the iPhone XS and XR range.

This, along with a rumor that Apple is developing its own game controllers, could make the next Apple TV a genuine gaming console in its own right – something we also saw rumored last year. Perhaps not a PlayStation killer, but certainly a viable way to enjoy Apple Arcade on the big screen.

It will be interesting to see how Apple pitches its next TV box. The current generation is too expensive to compete with Roku or Amazon’s budget streaming sticks, but not capable enough to compete with consoles from Sony, Microsoft, or Nintendo. It’s in a middle ground that only really appeals to Apple die-hards or those for whom money isn’t a concern.

Perhaps the best option is for Apple to split the product in two – a bare-bones streaming stick called Apple TV Mini and a powerful machine capable of running beefy apps called Apple TV Max. But what do we know?