apple tv

There’s been a lot of talk this week regarding the next-generation Apple TV. First, an unknown AppleTV 3,2 device popped up in Monday’s iOS 6.1 release. And then yesterday, a slightly smaller ATV surfaced in some FCC documents.

So now that we know that Apple is readying a new set top box for release, the next question is: what improvements has it made? Well for starters, it looks like the device is going to get a performance bump with an A5X processor…

screenshot of ios 6.1 atv

The smart folks over at AnandTech did some digging around and found some interesting things regarding the new Apple TV (model A1469). In addition to the A5X SoC, it will also sport the iPhone 5’s single WLAN+Bluetooth antenna.

“Inside however from what we can glean from the FCC documents there’s no longer a two antenna solution for the BCM4330 WiFi+BT combo, but rather a single antenna solution with different gain and utilizing a BCM4334 combo instead…

…Instead of the A5R2 SoC (S5L8942) inside the Apple TV 3,1, this new device contains an A5X SoC (S5L8947) as shown in the screenshots I’ve taken of the Restore.plist file, though there are numerous others. It’s entirely possible that Apple is again using different bins of the A5X, it’s not possible to tell whether CPU or GPU cores are fused off at this point from my digging through the IPSW.”

Apple first introduced the A5X chip in the third-gen iPad last Spring. It only has two processing cores, but it has quad-core graphics, which the iPad 3 needed to push its Retina display. It’ll be interesting to see how Apple uses it here.

I’m not sure what to make of any of this just yet. The Apple TV 3, released last spring, only offered a processor bump and better video output over its predecessor. So it’s hard to believe that doing this again would prove very effective.

But what else could Apple have up its sleeve? The most common answer tends to be apps. Users have long been calling for Apple to open its App Store to the set-top box, allowing developers to take a console-like approach to design.

Will this year be the year it finally happens? Hopefully we’ll find out more in the coming weeks.