According to developer Benjamin Mayo, his “sources familiar with the matter” have notified him that a new generation of Apple’s TV box is on the horizon and will be launching “immediately” after next week’s iPad 3 event. Mayo asserts that the new TV will debut on either March 7th or 8th, the former being the day that Apple’s next-generation tablet is to be announced. Much more on this after the break.
Apple has recently been delaying shipments of the current generation Apple TV 2, most likely because they’re getting everything ready to launch a new generation in about a week. In addition to this, 9to5Mac reported yesterday that Apple would be releasing a new Apple TV alongside the iPad 3, citing “reliable sources familiar with Apple’s upcoming product release.”
9to5Mac also spoke of a “mystery accessory” which was to be launched at the same time as the next generation of Apple TVs and iPads, noting that the accessory could be a new audio remote that communicates over Bluetooth 4.0. (As you may remember, a previous report by 9to5Mac claimed that the upcoming TV set would include support for Bluetooth 4.0, hinting that it may have a special high-tech remote accompanying it.) The current generation of Apple’s little black TV box does not sport Bluetooth at all and it could benefit from employing it because then there would be no need to point the remote in a certain direction as you must do with IR.
It is also possible that this new TV will include support for voice control using Siri, as Matthew Panzarino of The Next Web points out:
In his biography, Steve Jobs alluded to the fact that he had figured out how to solve the problem of an ‘integrated’ television.
“I’d like to create an integrated television set that is completely easy to use,” Jobs told Isaacson, “It would be seamlessly synced with all of your devices and with iCloud.”
Jobs went on to elaborate that “it will have the simplest user interface you could imagine. I finally cracked it.”
It’s not clear when Jobs said this, so it is hard to say if he saw Siri’s voice control as a part of this solution, but it’s easy to imagine that he did.
Panzarino thinks that this upcoming refresh could include a special touchscreen remote that looks like the the Magic Trackpad, though with a home screen like iOS has — the mockup above, for instance, shows this idea. This proportioned remote would provide the user with full access to apps on the TV and also allow for multi-touch control of the box wirelessly via Bluetooth 4.0. While this isn’t all that practical in this juncture, it may very well be the future.
However, Panzarino does note that the “mystery accessory” could merely be something more insignificant like a new dock for iOS devices or something of this nature.
In any case, it is highly possible that Apple will release a new TV set that will have special feature enhancements which are designed to work only with the new iPad 3. These include full-HD video streaming over AirPlay, as opposed to the maximum output being 720p as the current model offers.
Apple TV image via Soonshyang