Apple appears to be putting its ducks in a row ahead of major Apple TV changes. Alongside last night’s changes to the Apple Online Store to promote Valentine’s Day specials, Apple added an entire Apple TV section.
The Apple TV is now promoted as a full product line alongside Macs, iPads, iPods, and iPhones. Previously, the Apple TV did not have its own section, and it was simply tucked away as an accessory in the dwindling iPod department.
Not only does the Apple TV now have its own section, but it now has promoted and dedicated accessory, AppleCare, refurbished, and community question/answer sections.
Of course, the timing of the Apple TV’s “graduation” is interesting. Last week, we reported that Apple is working on a new version of the Apple TV set-top-box that will integrate new content (such as apps).
If Apple were to launch such a product in the near-future, it would make sense for it to have a dedicated, unhidden spot on Apple’s online store. And, based on what we’re hearing, the new Apple TV will certainly deserve to be called more than a “hobby.”
And we have some more information on why…
Since our previous report, we’ve learned a few additional details about new versions of the Apple TV in development. It is currently not clear or confirmed if the following specifications will be placed in the shipping product, but we understand from solid sources that they have been considered and/or tested in prototype versions of the device.
We’re told that Apple has considered combining the Apple TV and AirPort Express products. Versions of the new Apple TV in testing are said to include an integrated 802.11ac wireless router.
Although our sources were unspecific on the reasoning behind this, it’s likely that video quality and stability would be improved versus older versions of the device, which have needed to connect to a separate wireless router, often in another room.
Putting everything in one box could make the overall experience simpler, while allowing the router to deliver peak video performance for the Apple TV and de-prioritizing other wireless traffic as necessary.
Many people already get their internet connection and cable TV (And phone) from the same wire, so putting everything in one box could make the overall home peripheral experience easier and simpler – an Apple trademark.
We’re also told that the new Apple TV will likely feature a focus on gaming, and this lines up with a recent iLounge report. We’re led to believe that the game integration will utilize existing iPads, iPhones, and iPod touches as controllers. It’s likely that there, too, will be some integration with Apple’s physical controller MFi program.
Lastly, Apple has been testing versions of the Apple TV with a built-in TV tuner component so it has the ability to control your existing cable boxes/TV stations much like the since canceled Google TV. It’s likely that a user will be able to connect their existing set-up to this Apple TV and get an Apple-designed user-interface atop their content.