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Revamped Apple TV coming this fall?

Earlier-reported changes to the device, including a smaller footprint, iOS 4, the A4 chip, 16GB of storage, and a $99 price tag, may come to fruition in the next few months, according to a new report.

Erica Ogg Former Staff writer, CNET News
Erica Ogg is a CNET News reporter who covers Apple, HP, Dell, and other PC makers, as well as the consumer electronics industry. She's also one of the hosts of CNET News' Daily Podcast. In her non-work life, she's a history geek, a loyal Dodgers fan, and a mac-and-cheese connoisseur.
Erica Ogg
2 min read

That revamped Apple TV we heard about a few months ago? It might be headed our way shortly.

Apple TV has long been a "hobby" for Apple, a project the company considers a work in progress, not a flagship product like the iPhone or Mac. As such, there have been few changes to the video-streaming set-top box since its introduction in 2008.

In June, Engadget was told by some unnamed sources that a makeover for the device was coming--including a smaller footprint, iOS 4, the A4 chip, 1080p playback, 16GB of storage, and a $99 price tag.

On Wednesday, Engadget released updated expectations, citing the same sources, reporting that the same features are planned, with the exception of 1080p playback. The new Apple TV will not upgrade to 1080p, after all, but will continue to output 720p video, which matches the current capabilities of iTunes video. An iTunes-streaming service is expected to accompany its introduction.

But the report also includes some other interesting tidbits: that the device will have access to apps, like the iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad, something long been rumored and expected.

Perhaps more intriguing: Apple TV is getting a new name, according to the report. Well, an old new name. Apparently, Apple is rechristening the device iTV, which was the original name for Apple TV when it was first introduced.

Apple declined to comment.

While it's safe to say it's unusual for Apple to be so noncommittal on the name of a product that's already been shipped, Apple TV is a special case/"hobby."

Apple TV, in its current incarnation, runs a stripped-down version of Mac OS X, comes with a 160GB hard drive, and looks like a standard set-top box for the living room. And it currently costs $229.

Wednesday's news lines up with what CNET reported in March: that Apple had approached major film studios about enabling iTunes customers to store their content on its servers and is readying a cloud-based streaming service.

The plan included being able to access movies and TV content from a variety of Web-connected devices. We also know that Apple bought streaming Web music site Lala.com in December because it wanted access to the service's streaming technology. And although it's been slow with the rollout of a music-streaming service, video appears to be on a faster track.

As to how Apple will introduce this, the rumored event for September could be a good place, though that has typically been reserved for music/iPod-oriented announcements. But it's possible that Apple could hold a separate event later in the fall timed to coincide with holiday shopping period.