Apple stalls Apple TV shipments ahead of iPad 3-compatible refresh

Posted:
in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited January 2014


While Apple's much-anticipated foray into the connected television segment is unlikely to materialize until 2013, moves by the company in recent weeks point to an intermediate refresh of the existing Apple TV product to coincide with the release of new iPad models early next month.



For three consecutive weeks, the Cupertino-based company has failed to make good on its promissory to restock indirect channel partners with fresh inventory of the existing $99 Apple TV product, say people familiar with matter.



Instead, partners and channel members have seen Apple push back deliveries each consecutive week by one additional week -- a practice that almost always foreshadows a formal discontinuation of a product ahead of new models.



Concrete evidence that the Apple TV set-top box is set for a refresh began to crop up this month, when the online store of retailer Best Buy suddenly stopped selling the $99 device. Since then, availability has been scarce at the company's largest resellers, including as Amazon.com, MacMall and MacConnection, though the Apple TV has remained readily available at Apple's own online store.



The new Apple TV model -- referenced in pre-releases of Apple's iOS software as both Apple TV 3,1 and J33 -- is expect to feature the same or similar components to Apple's imminent third-generation iPad. One leak from earlier this month claiming to show an "iPad 3" logic board indicated the device will be powered by a new processor known as "A5X," suggesting it is an enhanced version of the A5 CPU currently found in the iPad 2 and iPhone 4S.











The current Apple TV, however, still runs off of an A4 CPU, which originally debuted in the first-generation iPad in 2010. An upgraded Apple TV processor could allow for greatly expanded functionality with the set-top box, namely the ability to stream and play back true high-definition 1080p content. Currently, the Apple TV is restricted to 720p resolution for high-definition content.



The Apple TV was last updated in late 2010 with a completely redesigned model based on Apple's custom processor and a heavily modified version of its lightweight iOS operating system. While the device streams movies, TV shows, music and other content from iTunes, its defining ability has been AirPlay, which allows iOS device users to wirelessly stream content and even mirror the screen of a device on their HDTV.



AirPlay will play an even greater role with Apple TV later this year with the launch of OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion. Apple's new Mac operating system will include built-in support for AirPlay, allowing users to mirror their Mac display on an HDTV.











Any upgrade to the Apple TV is likely just a stopgap to keep the device current before Apple dives in to the highly competitive television market. Numerous rumors have pointed toward a full-fledged Apple television set being unveiled no earlier than late this year, and potentially going on sale in early 2013.



Even if Apple does release a television later this year, it could coexist with the Apple TV set-top box. Analyst Gene Munster with Piper Jaffray said in a note to investors Tuesday that even with the launch of an updated Apple TV, he still expects a true Apple television to debut as early as the end of 2012 and cater to a different market segment.



"Apple could sell both products given very different price points and value propositions," he said.



[ View article on AppleInsider ]

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Comments

  • digitalclipsdigitalclips Posts: 15,205member
    Or there never was anything but an Apple TV 3 .... just saying it first Hopefully all there will be though.
  • atashiatashi Posts: 57member
    I'm probably not the typical customer Apple's targeting with the ATV2 or rumoured ATV3, but I would love to see an ATV3 that had some onboard storage again. I primarily use my ATV for viewing my own content, and it's annoying to have to leave my computer turned on, logged on, and with iTunes running. Particularily as they made a big deal about the ATV2 being such a low-energy device, yet for me at least it's useless without an iMac chugging away in the background.



    I also have an original ATV which I keep loaded up with some movies, tv shows. and lots of music and photos. I tend to use the original a lot more simply because I can use it without having to remember to go and start up the iMac and launch iTunes.



    Photos is another thing - when MobileMe galleries go away, I'm wondering how we can run photo slideshows... once again, a bit of storage on the ATV would go a long way.



    Personally, 16GB would be fine for me, 32GB would be great. I could see streaming still being the main schtick but it would be nice to have the option of using the thing without having to fire up the computer as well.



    Cheers!
  • cory bauercory bauer Posts: 1,286member
    Really hope the new Apple TV hardware doesn't pack one new killer feature that Apple won't provide to previous generations, like they did with Airplay and TV rentals with the last hardware refresh. I had an original Apple TV, and had to buy the new one to get those features; then they killed TV rentals.
  • joelsaltjoelsalt Posts: 827member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Atashi View Post


    I'm probably not the typical customer Apple's targeting with the ATV2 or rumoured ATV3, but I would love to see an ATV3 that had some onboard storage again. I primarily use my ATV for viewing my own content, and it's annoying to have to leave my computer turned on, logged on, and with iTunes running. Particularily as they made a big deal about the ATV2 being such a low-energy device, yet for me at least it's useless without an iMac chugging away in the background.



    I also have an original ATV which I keep loaded up with some movies, tv shows. and lots of music and photos. I tend to use the original a lot more simply because I can use it without having to remember to go and start up the iMac and launch iTunes.



    Photos is another thing - when MobileMe galleries go away, I'm wondering how we can run photo slideshows... once again, a bit of storage on the ATV would go a long way.



    Personally, 16GB would be fine for me, 32GB would be great. I could see streaming still being the main schtick but it would be nice to have the option of using the thing without having to fire up the computer as well.



    Cheers!



    I think if they can ever coordinate the deals then movies/tv shows on iCloud via iTunes Match could solve this for ripped content, and for iTunes content that one purches it should be easy to stream it on the Apple TV and d/l it to a computer/iDevice later on.



    I agree its a bit odd to talk about energy efficiency of the product while the "invisible" energy required is higher than it probably needs to be
  • tikimantikiman Posts: 68member
    "For three consecutive weeks"



    "Concrete evidence that the Apple TV set-top box is set for a refresh began to crop up this month"



    Where's the "Breaking" news in this article?
  • aizmovaizmov Posts: 987member
    A5X for updated AppleTV

    A6 for iPad 3

    ???
  • 11thindian11thindian Posts: 181member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Cory Bauer View Post


    Really hope the new Apple TV hardware doesn't pack one new killer feature that Apple won't provide to previous generations, like they did with Airplay and TV rentals with the last hardware refresh. I had an original Apple TV, and had to buy the new one to get those features; then they killed TV rentals.



    Unfortunately, I'd be inclined to think that if iTunes content receives a 1080 upgrade, the aTV2 will be left behind.



    If Apple is going to start delivering 1080p content, it will be using a new, more processor intensive codec to deliver it. Under the current codec, an average movie might be 10-12GB.
  • robogoborobogobo Posts: 373member
    Everytime the hype about the Apple TV television/ iTV dies down, I realize how silly the idea is, and doubt that Apple is actually going to ship it. It doesn't make sense to integrate into a television when everyone already has dirt cheap tvs. The current Apple TV black box config is perfect: plug and play. All that's needed is better content. The hardware doesn't matter in this case.
  • cory bauercory bauer Posts: 1,286member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by 11thIndian View Post


    If Apple is going to start delivering 1080p content, it will be using a new, more processor intensive codec to deliver it. Under the current codec, an average movie might be 10-12GB.



    Wouldn't even those numbers be conservative? A 1080p blu-ray is 18-45GB for the movie alone.
  • paxmanpaxman Posts: 4,084member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Atashi View Post


    I'm probably not the typical customer Apple's targeting with the ATV2 or rumoured ATV3, but I would love to see an ATV3 that had some onboard storage again. I primarily use my ATV for viewing my own content, and it's annoying to have to leave my computer turned on, logged on, and with iTunes running. Particularily as they made a big deal about the ATV2 being such a low-energy device, yet for me at least it's useless without an iMac chugging away in the background.



    I also have an original ATV which I keep loaded up with some movies, tv shows. and lots of music and photos. I tend to use the original a lot more simply because I can use it without having to remember to go and start up the iMac and launch iTunes.



    Photos is another thing - when MobileMe galleries go away, I'm wondering how we can run photo slideshows... once again, a bit of storage on the ATV would go a long way.



    Personally, 16GB would be fine for me, 32GB would be great. I could see streaming still being the main schtick but it would be nice to have the option of using the thing without having to fire up the computer as well.



    Cheers!



    I'd like to see either the ability to attach an external HD to the ATV or else the ability to access content stored on an AirDisk or AirCapsule on the network.
  • cxc273cxc273 Posts: 46member
    I think a new Apple TV would almost certain have to be 1080p capable.



    My question is, what else will it have? I agree with some other folks who miss the onboard storage with the original Apple TV. I'm not really sure, though, if Apple will ever revive that. I'd love to hook up an external hard drive to the device instead of having to run an old Mac Mini constantly.



    I've got three of the current generation Apple TVs and don't know if I'll replace all three of them. If 1080p is the only difference between the current and new one, I'll probably only upgrade the one hooked up to my 55" HDTV, as 1080p doesn't really do a whole lot for my other 32" TVs.



    What I'd love to see is more content choices beyond YouTube and Netflix. It's probably a lot to ask, but getting Hulu and Amazon Instant Video would make it worth my while to upgrade all of my units. I doubt that Apple would let competing content provides in, though.
  • charlitunacharlituna Posts: 7,068member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by robogobo View Post


    Everytime the hype about the Apple TV television/ iTV dies down, I realize how silly the idea is, and doubt that Apple is actually going to ship it. It doesn't make sense to integrate into a television when everyone already has dirt cheap tvs. The current Apple TV black box config is perfect: plug and play. All that's needed is better content. The hardware doesn't matter in this case.



    I rather feel the same way. Up the black box to current hardware, up the content in the store. And perhaps increase the Cinema Display line up to include a larger size and HDMI inputs. So if you don't have that dirt cheap tv you could buy an Apple Display if you want. Or not.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by cxc273 View Post


    I think a new Apple TV would almost certain have to be 1080p capable.



    My question is, what else will it have?



    It will have to have more storage to cache those larger 1080p files. But I don't see the days of the ATV1 storage ever returning. Apple wants folks to put the bulk of their media either in the cloud or on a computer and home share. Not in your ATV. For that I don't see the onboard ever going above perhaps 128GB that you won't be able use as a hard drive or anything more than racking up a bucket load of rentals etc
  • uplateuplate Posts: 42member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by robogobo View Post


    The current Apple TV black box config is perfect: plug and play. All that's needed is better content. The hardware doesn't matter in this case.



    While a new TV interface may be cool my hope is that the iTV 'magic' will come in the form of a la carte programming. Maybe all the billions of $ lying around can help convince the key players.
  • archer75archer75 Posts: 204member
    Personally i'd like to see 1080p and support for Dolby TrueHD and DTS-MA HD.



    I have no interest in streaming apples content, but I have gobs of my own bluray rips that i'd like to play on it.
  • kent909kent909 Posts: 628member
    I'd like to see an Apple TV App store.
  • atashiatashi Posts: 57member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by paxman View Post


    I'd like to see either the ability to attach an external HD to the ATV or else the ability to access content stored on an AirDisk or AirCapsule on the network.



    Either of those options would make me happy in lieu of internal storage.



    I have a time capsule on my network already, if it could host my iTunes content for home sharing (and photos et cetera) then that would work just fine.
  • 11thindian11thindian Posts: 181member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Cory Bauer View Post


    Wouldn't even those numbers be conservative? A 1080p blu-ray is 18-45GB for the movie alone.



    A typical SD movie on iTunes is about 1.2GB, and HD movie is about 4.5 (4x the pixels). I was postulating that using the same codec, a 1080 movie would be 4x again or about 12GB.



    Apple can't compete with blu-ray for raw file size. No one wants to try and stream a 30GB file every time they want to rent an HD movie (or at least not until ISP prices come down). That is the advantage of disk formats; they can code at insanely high data-rates, because it's all kept locally.



    Apple has to compromise on data-rate for the purposes of delivery.



    The question is, with better processors than you find in a blu-ray player, can Apple delivery nearly indistinguishable picture quality at 1/4 the file size.



    As I've mentioned in other threads, Apple has already been working on this in the pro video world with ProRes422. ProRes is a widely accepted mastering format that has replaced, in a lot of cases, the need for delivering uncompressed video files to broadcasters. ProRes422 is only 1/4 the size of a similar uncompressed file- but delivers a picture indistinguishable to the naked eye.



    I'm VERY interested to see how in depth Apple goes into explaining this on Wednesday.
  • powermachpowermach Posts: 90member
    Good. Just release a much better box and let's forget about the TV itself. Really.
  • tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 39,995member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by 11thIndian View Post


    I'm VERY interested to see how in depth Apple goes into explaining this on Wednesday.



    All they have to do is put up a single slide with nothing on it but this:







    And all the people who care enough about it will be assuaged.
  • island hermitisland hermit Posts: 6,217member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by tikiman View Post


    "For three consecutive weeks"



    "Concrete evidence that the Apple TV set-top box is set for a refresh began to crop up this month"



    Where's the "Breaking" news in this article?



    AI just likes the color red.
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