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Apple: Don't get excited about that new Apple TV box

The company says its updated Apple TV model, which showed up in regulatory filings this week, is a behind-the-scenes component change that won't bring new features.

The current Apple TV model next to two of Roku's boxes.
The current Apple TV model next to two of Roku's boxes. CNET

Less than a day after a schematic of what appeared to be the fourth-generation Apple TV set-top box appeared in a U.S. regulatory filing, the company says it's not a new version at all, but a minor behind-the-scenes hardware change.

In a statement today provided to The Verge, the company said it had to file new paperwork with the Federal Communications Commission following a change to one of the internal components.

"We sometimes make component changes which require an updated model number for regulatory approval," an Apple spokesperson said. "The component changes we made don't affect product features and Apple TV customers will continue to have the same great user experience."

The component in question appears to be an updated A5X processor, as well as antenna technology, according to AnandTech, which yesterday went through both the FCC filings and the iOS 6.1 firmware file, which contained references to the hardware.

Not mentioned was the apparent size difference, something originally spotted by Engadget, that suggested the updated hardware was slightly smaller than the second- and third-generation models. A person familiar with Apple's plans says these updated models are the same size, and are headed to stores soon.

Apple's last big Apple TV hardware update came last March with a third-generation model that added 1080p playback. Since then, Apple has put out a handful of interim software updates that added new features, including compatibility with iTunes Match and more recently, Bluetooth keyboards. The company is still expected to roll out a full-fledged TV set, possibly as soon as this fall.