It’s not clear exactly what will change about a new model of Apple TV except for its size. An Apple TV 1469 model was discovered by Engadget as having been filed with the FCC.
As is standard with these kinds of documents, there is a request for confidentiality that has prevented many details from coming through, but a few interesting bits still surface. First, the new Apple TV is just over 4mm smaller on both dimensions than the current model, clocking in at 93.78mm square.
Next, there is an uncharacteristically detailed note in one of the testing documents that indicates that this new Apple TV is using the new low-power dual-band 40nm Broadcom BCM4334 chip that is present in new iDevices like the iPhone 5. This means that the wireless profiles of the new Apple TV are slightly different, but not much else will likely change in its capabilities.
Because there is a switch in size and chip, and because there is now a single antenna, vs. the previous model’s two antennas, the board is likely to be different. That hypothesis is supported by the fact that the firmware also points to a new processor.
Anandtech’s Brian Klug took a peek inside the firmware and noted that the new Apple TV will be using the s5l8947x ‘A5x’ processor, an upgrade over the old model’s A5 ‘revision 2′. This should provide a performance boost for apps and whatnot.
The fact that these details are leaking out like this points to a nearly imminent release, either in stealth (replacing the existing model) or as an upgrade. Honestly, if it’s a full upgrade, it feels like there must be more to the story than what we’re seeing.
Perhaps this new model will just be a stealthy update, but if it is a full-on update, it would be interesting to see it come with some sort of new remote device that could deliver on the long-awaited ‘breakthrough’ control method for the device. Perhaps that’s why Bluetooth keyboard support was added in the recent software update.