The published FCC filing (via Engadget) suggests that the unit's design will be similar to the two most recent Apple TV iterations, but trims down the overall measurements to 93.78 millimeters square compared to the current model that comes in at 98 millimeters square.
Along with Apple's usual request for confidentiality, the FCC posting offers detailed notes that show the testing ofa low-power 40nm Broadcom wireless chip identified as BCM4334. This specific component is currently being used in the latest iOS devices like the iPhone 5. Also revealed was the inclusion of Apple's A5X processor most recently seen in the third-generation iPad. According to the documentation, testing of the device began as early as October 2012.
It is unclear when Apple intends to issue the tweaked hardware, but analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities reported earlier this month that the multimedia streamer would be the recipient of a refresh sometime this quarter. The last Apple TV refresh came in March 2012, bringing 1080p output and a faster A5 SoC to the device.
Tuesday's news comes on the heels of an Apple TV software version update on Monday that revealed an unknown hardware model designated "AppleTV3,2." The new 5.2 software version added support for bluetooth keyboards and enhanced integration with iTunes in the Cloud.