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Apple TV a no-show, in any respect, at iPhone event

Despite initial hopes for new hardware, and then tempered hopes for a software update, Apple continues to tread water on its set-top box.

Sarah Tew/CNET

A lot of big names showed up at Apple's event Tuesday -- Al Gore, Marissa Mayer, Elvis Costello -- but one that was conspicuously missing was Apple TV.

Apple held an event at its Cupertino, Calif., home base Tuesday. Headlining the presentation was its introduction of a new budget smartphone, the iPhone 5C, and its new flagship iPhone 5S, as it seeks to attract more customers and revitalize interest in its devices.

Dueling reports last week first stoked anticipation that Apple had a new set-top box on deck for Tuesday's event after long neglecting the device in terms of any significant refresh. But later, the company's TV plans for the event were said to be limited to a simple software update that might, among other things, let one person's Apple-purchased content stream on another person's Apple TV.

After starting out as a glorified Netflix streaming box, Apple TV has bulked up with some desirable channels, recently adding Hulu Plus, HBO Go, Watch ESPN, and Sky News. Though the addition of HBO Go in June made good on one content stream that was rumored to be in the offing, Apple has also been said to be working on a deal for Time Warner Cable channels, and CW President Mark Pedowitz earlier this year said the network would be on Apple TV imminently -- but an app for the channel had yet to materialize.

And neither did updates -- to hardware, software, or otherwise -- for the device itself Tuesday.

This is a developing story. Follow our CNET live blog, check out the latest on the iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C, and see all of today's Apple news.