Apple hopes the new capability will help it reclaim market share from cheaper video boxes and dongles sold by Amazon, Google and Roku.
You can argue whether 4K TVs are a niche product that will ultimately go mainstream — or just a niche product. But adding 4K support alone certainly won’t help Apple leapfrog the competition right now, and Apple doesn’t have anything else on tap to help Apple TV stand out.
This isn’t where Apple thought it would be in 2017.
For years, Apple had very ambitious ambitions in TV: Steve Jobs wanted to build an integrated TV set/pay TV service, but he never got close to the terms he would have needed from TV programmers to make it work.