9to5Mac is citing „reliable sources familiar with Apple’s upcoming product release” that claim Apple is launching a new Apple TV alongside the iPad 3 on March 7. This is not a long-rumored Apple TV set but an updated Apple TV set-top box.
Deep inside the iOS 5 file system 9to5Mac has found an evidence for a next-generation Apple TV being in the works – a reference to ‘Apple TV 3,1’ (current model is listed as 2,1). According to 9to5Mac, the number changing from 2 to 3 should signify a major upgrade. What changes can we expect? Most likely, the device will get a dual-core A5 processor that would open door to true 1080p. In July AppleInsider reported that Apple may be preparing to begin supporting 1080p movies in its iTunes Store later this year. True 1080p would be a nice update for iPhone 4S owners since the device allows to shoot 1080p videos and then stream it to Apple TV via AirPlay. Games mirrored in 1080p, like Real Racing 2 HD, would also be awesome. The current Apple TV’s A4 processor only allows 720p playback.
Mark Gurman and Sonny Dickson at 9to5Mac found that Apple has included hidden bluetooth support in their second-generation Apple TV. Bluetooth support is not present within the current Apple TV OS, but the device does currently ship with a Wi-Fi/Bluetooth chip installed and, according to 9to5Mac, Apple’s next major operating system, iOS 5, will turn on this bluetooth support.
Gurman’s guess is that Apple is positioning this bluetooth support mainly for keyboards (this could mean the company is working on Safari for ATV2) but perhaps this would also make it possible to hook up your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch (having more controllers would make bringing games and apps to Apple TV simpler).
Firemint has just announced that its Real Racing 2 HD will be the “first title to support full screen wireless gaming over AirPlay”. According to the developer, this won’t be just mirroring – the players will be able to play Real Racing 2 HD on their big screens without a cable, while their iPad 2 displays racing telemetry in real-time. “No black borders, no wires – just iOS racing at its finest,” the company promises. The new release of Real Racing will take advantage of Firemint’s dual-screen technology, allowing a console-style gaming experience similar to Nintendo’s Wii U.
“We’ve sold a lot of them but it’s never been huge hit,” Jobs said last week. How could we not agree: Apple TV wasn’t a game changer for the living room. But hey, there are hundreds thousands of users completely satisfied with the existing ATV (according to the analysts, Apple might have sold 3 million Apple TV devices worldwide) and most of them never even thought of hacking this mysterious box! That’s why here at Apple TV Hacks, we think Steve has figured it out very well: what the average customer wants from his/her HDTV in the living room is to play latest movies, popular TV shows, family vacation photo slideshow and maybe some music from time to time. We, geeks, need more, that’s obvious, and that’s why we are so disappointed with the new device. The only thing we can do now is to try to squeeze as much as we can out of this hockey puck when we put our hands on it sometime at the end of September.
But before that happens, let’s focus on what we know about the second generation Apple TV so far.