We’ve been hoping for a new Apple TV since Apple began transitioning its iOS device lineup to dual-core A5 processors, and we now have some compelling evidence for a next-generation Apple TV being in the works. Deep inside the iOS 5 file system is a reference to a Apple TV 3,1. This would be an upgrade from the current Apple TV’s 2,1 marking. The number changing from 2 to 3 represents major changes, and with the Apple TV recently gaining a fully re-designed case, we expect this upgrade to mainly consist of internal changes.

In all likelihood, this new Apple TV will gain some of internal power from the iPhone 4S and iPad 2: the dual-core A5 chip and maybe a boost in the RAM department. The Apple TV 3,1 reference comes from a file that Apple uses to activate unreleased devices that are in testing; furthermore this Apple 3,1 is already in testing stages. A dual-core Apple TV will likely mean 1080P video playback, a current restriction due to the current model’s A4 processor. We will also likely see some 1080P iTunes content to come along with this next-generation model’s new abilities.

Although this model has turned up in the iOS 5 file system, we must warn that devices that never have come to fruition have also shown up in the iOS file system; namely an iPhone 3,2 and an iPod touch 4,2. These devices have been characterized as internal development units, but with previous rumors pointing to an A5, 1080P capable Apple TV, we’d say this Apple TV 3,1 becoming a reality is very likely. Also lookout for an Apple TV with bluetooth in the near future.

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