Apple could unveil new Apple TV at next week's event

Bills of lading filed with the Department of Homeland Security show Apple has recently received three shipments described as "set top boxes."

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Steven Musil
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While many expect Apple to introduce a new generation iPhone at a big media event next week, there is some evidence that suggests a refreshed Apple TV could be unveiled instead.

That is the conclusion of Panjiva, a New York-based global trade intelligence platform that laid out its case in a company blog post Tuesday headlined "It's not an iPhone." Through a review of bills of lading filed with the US Department of Homeland Security for shipments Apple received recently, Panjiva found the following trio of "set top box"-related shipments:

  • A shipment described as "Set Top Box with Communication Function" from BYD Precision Manufacture in Shenzhen, China, received on August 25
  • Another shipment, also from BYD, described as "Set Top Boxes," received on August 18
  • A shipment from BYD received August 11 contained "Set Top Box with Communication Function"

The data cited by Panjiva doesn't include the number of units but does list the weight of each shipment, which indicated that the last two shipments Apple received weighed more than 18 tons each.

The blog also notes that the previous shipments described as "set top boxes" arrived last December from Hon Hai and contained Apple TVs like those on the market now.

CNET has contacted Apple for comment and will update this report when we learn more.

Apple sent out media invitations Tuesday to a September 10 event at which the company is widely expected to unveil two new models of the iPhone, both a high- and low-end range. Along with new iPhones, the event is expected to bring a formal release time for iOS 7, Apple's software overhaul which debuted at WWDC in June.

Apple last updated the Apple TV's hardware in March 2012 with a third-generation model that added 1080p playback. A regulatory filing in January suggested that Apple was readying a fourth-generation Apple TV set-top box with a smaller profile.

While the "set top box" description suggests this refresh won't be the much-rumored TV set, Apple is still expected to roll out a full-fledged TV set at some time.

[Via GigaOm]