What can we expect from a new Apple TV?

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Date: Friday, February 14th, 2014, 08:26
Category: Apple, Apple TV, Rumor, Television, wireless

appletv_2ndgenAs we reported last month, speculation on the next revision of the Apple TV has begun. Now the Apple TV is back in the news with some speculation more focused on what kind of content Apple might be bringing along with the new hardware. The discussion has popped up smack in the middle of Comcast’s intention to buy up Time Warner Cable, which may be playing a part in how Apple moves forward with its plans for the Apple TV. It has been reported that Apple has been in negotiations with several content providers to serve up their programming directly to Apple TV users, but the media companies keep pulling out of talks fearing a loss of revenue. This leaves Apple with no choice but to deal with the cable companies for content.

Last year, Time Warner was in talks with a number of companies, including Apple, that have media streaming products who could deliver programming to audiences who do not subscribe to cable services. This means Apple may have had a Plan B that they were working out with Time Warner. Last July it was even reported that the two companies were close to a deal. Now the problem for Apple, if they were planning to move forward with a deal with Time Warner, what happens to that deal now that the latter has been swallowed up by Comcast? If the deal goes through, the model may change to resemble something like Hulu Plus subscriptions on the Apple TV, or if Comcast allows Apple to replace their set-top boxes with the Apple TV, the model may resemble current Cable TV subscriptions.

I’m sure we’ll hear more about it soon, since Apple has plans to introduce the new device as early as April in preparation for a holiday release. What hasn’t been talked about much are the possible changes to the hardware itself. I have to wonder what justifies new hardware. The last model already brought us 1080p, the A5 processor, and additional built in memory, and it seems to serve up current content just fine. Why not just upgrade the software? One reason could go back to the early rumors that a new Apple TV would, at some point, add gaming to it’s list of capabilities. This might justify a jump to the A7 processor and additional internal memory to store game files. And then there are the wi-fi router features that have been rumored, which would go hand-in-hand with an update to add the 802.11 ac protocol. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see how ambitious Apple plans to get with the Apple TV now that it’s no longer a “hobby”.

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