New Apple TV runs same custom A4 processor as iPhone 4, iPad

Posted:
in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited January 2014
The new, smaller Apple TV announced Wednesday will stream 720p HD video thanks to the same custom-built ARM A4 processor found inside the iPhone 4, iPad and the new iPod touch.



On the technical specifications page for the new Apple TV, the company prominently advertises that the new $99 device features the A4 processor. Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs also noted during his keynote Wednesday that the fourth-generation iPod touch has also gained the A4, but that feature is not listed on the product's tech specs page.



The previous generation Apple TV was based on an Intel processor and included a 160GB hard drive.



The A4 processor first appeared earlier this year in the iPad. The creation of it was made possible through the purchases of chipmakers Intrinsity and PA Semi.



Its inclusion in the new Apple TV makes it the first A4-powered device that does not have access to the App Store.



Prior to its announcement, there were rumors that Apple would run the its iOS operating system and make the App Store available for the new iTV. While the software behind the new Apple TV was not detailed, the company made no mention of iOS or the App Store in Wednesday's presentation.



The new Apple TV will offer compatibility with iOS devices, however, which can be used as a remote control for the set top box and will also be able to stream photos and videos to a user's HDTV over Wi-Fi.







In addition to an A4 processor, the new Apple TV also includes HDMI for 720p high definition video out with 5.1 sound. It also has separate optical audio for compatibility with receivers that do not accept 5.1 over HDMI.



The device also has an Ethernet port and 802.11B/G/N Wi-Fi for streaming. Because the cloud-centric device has no available internal storage, it is intended for renting and streaming content.







The new Apple TV also has a built-in infrared receiver that works with the aluminum remote control that ships with the product. And the device has a micro-USB port that is intended for service and support.



Apple said the device, which ships later this month, will be compatible with three highlighted video formats:



H.264 video up to 720p, 30 frames per second, Main Profile level 3.1 with AAC-LC audio up to 160 Kbps per channel, 48kHz, stereo audio in .m4v, .mp4, and .mov file formats

MPEG-4 video, up to 2.5 Mbps, 640 by 480 pixels, 30 frames per second, Simple Profile with AAC-LC audio up to 160 Kbps, 48kHz, stereo audio in .m4v, .mp4, and .mov file formats

Motion JPEG (M-JPEG) up to 35 Mbps, 1280 by 720 pixels, 30 frames per second, audio in ulaw, PCM stereo audio in .avi file format

It is also compatible with a variety of audio formats: HE-AAC (V1), AAC (16 to 320 Kbps), protected AAC (from iTunes Store), MP3 (16 to 320 Kbps), MP3 VBR, Audible (formats 2, 3, and 4), Apple Lossless, AIFF, and WAV; Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound pass-through. Finally, it supports photos that are JPEG, GIF and TIFF.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 156
    Absolutely worthless.



    No 1080p hardware support.



    Guess I'll be waiting another four years for Apple to make a product worth buying.
  • Reply 2 of 156
    It will be interesting to see how long it takes someone to hack it to run iOS - big trick will be interaction though. I am sure this is why Apple did not make it run iOS in the first place.
  • Reply 3 of 156
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post


    Absolutely worthless.



    No 1080p hardware support.



    Guess I'll be waiting another four years for Apple to make a product worth buying.



    I must disagree - I find the fact that I can stream from my iPad/iPhone worth the cost alone. But to be able to rent movies/TV programs view podcasts, listen to music, view pictures from friends/family makes it great. Not a blockbuster but a good product - especially for $99.
  • Reply 4 of 156
    joe hsjoe hs Posts: 488member
    I know it's all about streaming, but how much local storage does this thing have?
  • Reply 5 of 156
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Joe hs View Post


    I know it's all about streaming, but how much local storage does this thing have?



    Zero is my understanding.
  • Reply 6 of 156
    mjtomlinmjtomlin Posts: 2,020member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Damn_Its_Hot View Post


    It will be interesting to see how long it takes someone to hack it to run iOS - big trick will be interaction though. I am sure this is why Apple did not make it run iOS in the first place.



    Well if it has an A4, then it has to be running iOS. What other operating system could it be?
  • Reply 7 of 156
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Joe hs View Post


    I know it's all about streaming, but how much local storage does this thing have?



    Specs didn't say - rumors are about 16GB I think. That would actually be a rather large cache or buffer with the streaming but I suspect it sends everything immediately upon rental and then you view when available. If its cache fills then some sort of aging algorithm would be applied for freeing space and you would just have to get it again (will work just like VM does for our desktop/laptop machines).
  • Reply 8 of 156
    mj1970mj1970 Posts: 9,002member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mjtomlin View Post


    Well if it has an A4, then it has to be running iOS. What other operating system could it be?



    It probably has an iOS core.



    I'm curious what Apple is doing behind the scenes on the OS front. I have a feeling that they have created (or are creating) something of an "OS construction kit" that has various modular components (e.g., kernel, touch UI framework, media framework, other UI frameworks) that they can assemble together to build various kinds of devices and yet still maintain a somewhat unified code base.
  • Reply 9 of 156
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mjtomlin View Post


    Well if it has an A4, then it has to be running iOS. What other operating system could it be?



    I guess I misspoke. It is probably a scaled back version of iOS (which is a scaled down version of Mac OS X). They just ripped out most of the UI and services that were not needed - I think that leaves you with BSD Unix on a Mach kernel with a then layer on top of it to handle the I/O and UI.





    Quote:
    Originally Posted by MJ1970 View Post


    I'm curious what Apple is doing behind the scenes on the OS front. I have a feeling that they have created (or are creating) something of an "OS construction kit" that has various modular components (e.g., kernel, touch UI framework, media framework, other UI frameworks) that they can assemble together to build various kinds of devices and yet still maintain a somewhat unified code base.



    I think they already have - you just described it: BSD Unix, Darwin, Foundation and App Kits, Touch and various other frameworks...
  • Reply 10 of 156
    kotatsukotatsu Posts: 1,010member
    I wonder if it has the same Power VR GPU as the iPhone and iPad. If it does, and having played with the very impressive Unreal Engine 3 tech demo on my iPhone 4, it's a terrible shame that the new ATV has no apps and therefore no games.
  • Reply 11 of 156
    joe hsjoe hs Posts: 488member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Larry767 View Post


    Zero is my understanding.



    That's what I was afraid of.
  • Reply 12 of 156
    ilogicilogic Posts: 298member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by kotatsu View Post


    I wonder if it has the same Power VR GPU as the iPhone and iPad. If it does, and having played with the very impressive Unreal Engine 3 tech demo on my iPhone 4, it's a terrible shame that the new ATV has no apps and therefore no games.



    Will probably take some time before they build it into the SDK.
  • Reply 13 of 156
    Does this or the current (previous) Apple TV allow you to play music to other speakers. In other words could I play a song from my iTunes library but rather than listening on just the TV speakers could I also send the signal to speakers hooked up to an aiport express
  • Reply 14 of 156
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Damn_Its_Hot View Post


    It will be interesting to see how long it takes someone to hack it to run iOS - big trick will be interaction though. I am sure this is why Apple did not make it run iOS in the first place.



    Because it uses the A4 chip, it is running iOS...under the hood. Its just has the Apple TV front-end running on top. No doubt that its possible to upgrade the os in the future to support apps.



    I'm actually more curious about the mini-usb port at the back. I'm sure it can do more than "Service and Support" as Apple mentioned in the specs.
  • Reply 15 of 156
    mjtomlinmjtomlin Posts: 2,020member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by MJ1970 View Post


    It probably has an iOS core.



    I'm curious what Apple is doing behind the scenes on the OS front. I have a feeling that they have created (or are creating) something of an "OS construction kit" that has various modular components (e.g., kernel, touch UI framework, media framework, other UI frameworks) that they can assemble together to build various kinds of devices and yet still maintain a somewhat unified code base.



    I'd bet money on that. OS X was designed to be fairly modular and portable. As it is now, iOS and Mac OS share a lot of common code. The only thing that really needs to be changed is the UI.
  • Reply 16 of 156
    mjtomlinmjtomlin Posts: 2,020member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by salmonstk View Post


    Does this or the current (previous) Apple TV allow you to play music to other speakers. In other words could I play a song from my iTunes library but rather than listening on just the TV speakers could I also send the signal to speakers hooked up to an aiport express



    Yes, you can stream the music to as many AirTunes devices as you'd like. I had two Airport Expresses and an AppleTV and could stream music to all of them simultaneously.
  • Reply 17 of 156
    nkhmnkhm Posts: 928member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post


    Absolutely worthless.



    No 1080p hardware support.



    Guess I'll be waiting another four years for Apple to make a product worth buying.



    there is no 1080 content being streamed by anyone. At all.



    Great device, great price point. Continues to be ahead of it's time, but at some point the studios will come round.
  • Reply 18 of 156
    I'm going to buy an AppleTV I believe, but I have no interest in renting TV shows from them. I'm doing it because my BluRay player doesn't do Netflix streaming, and I want to stream music through my TV speakers.



    Ultimately, I believe this is a precursor to a full-blown Apple TV set.
  • Reply 19 of 156
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 12,866member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mjtomlin View Post


    Well if it has an A4, then it has to be running iOS. What other operating system could it be?



    Really; I don't think people understand that Apple TV, IOS devices and Mac OS/X are all the same OS underneath. They each have their own SDK and graphical interface but this not a big deal. Getting Apple TV to run on this device most likely required a simple recompile and a little debugging.



    iOS is nothing more than a layer above the Quasi BSD OS that drives Apples systems.



    Dave
  • Reply 20 of 156
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,902member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post


    Absolutely worthless.



    No 1080p hardware support.



    Guess I'll be waiting another four years for Apple to make a product worth buying.



    Nuts! I doubt that you sit close enough to see 1080 on your Tv screen. Almost no one does.



    And your statement that Apple doesn't make a product worth buying marks you as being trollish. Be careful.
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