Rumor: $99 Apple TV Set to Be Unveiled

Engadget is giddily reporting that a “source very close to Apple” has told them that Apple plans to unveil a new $99 Apple TV device — no specific timetable given, but it sounds like it will be available in the near future. The new device will run iPhone OS 4, be powered by an A4 processor, include 16GB of flash memory (current model is $229 w/ a 160GB HDD), and be packaged in a compact shell (thinking… about the size of an AirPort Express) with only power and video out ports. It’s also rumored that the next-gen Apple TV will be able to output 1080p video and tap into time capsule and “the cloud” for storage and media streaming. It’s unclear how third-party apps — particularly TV-optimized apps — will play in this new setup (if it all), but you can bet the next Apple TV will integrate tightly into the iTunes ecosystem (and possibly its rumored cloud media locker). Will it revolutionize the way we watch TV? Short answer: No. The next-gen Apple TV is still a digital media player with a few new tricks and welcome upgrades (though TV-optimized apps, or possibly iPad integration, could be a game changer for the platform). What say you? One person who I respect already said: “if the new AppleTV doesn’t allow Netflix ‘Watch Now’ it’s DOA.”

Aside: Notice anything missing from the leaked details? No mention of USB or Ethernet. Huh? Guess that means 1080p video will have to stream over Wi-Fi. Also, say bye-bye to Boxee/XBMC on future Apple TVs.

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Filed in: Industry Buzz, Streaming Media Devices