The Apple TV was all but dead; an item used by dedicated enthusiasts but otherwise a failure when compared to other Apple products, until now. Engadget reports that there is a new Apple TV on the way which is rumored to run the iPhone OS, use cloud storage and cost just $99.
Engadget has confirmed the tip with a source close to Apple and is treating this as the real deal. So far it looks like the new Apple TV will be powered by an A4 chip, have 16GB of onboard storage and offer 1080P output. “An iPhone without a screen.” is how the device was described to Engadget. In addition to the cloud storage and streaming services you will likely be able to use the Apple TV with a Time Capsule for local storage.
As an entertainment junkie it is really exciting to see the evolution of the entertainment center. Hopefully the renewed interest in the role of an entertainment PC-like device that is connected to a big HDTV will make it easier for all consumers, not just the geeks like me, to enjoy the content they want on their TV instead of crowded around a notebook screen.
With Google TV on the way this fall and Apple TV likely arriving in a similar timeframe the market is about to heat up. While there are many Microsoft Media Center enthusiasts, Microsoft hasn’t invaded living rooms in a form other than the Xbox so it will be interesting to see if they will enter the market with an upgraded 360.
However it shakes out, be prepared for some change in how you are entertained. If the $99 price makes it to market Apple could have the marketshare it needs to negotiate content distributors and if Google can price competitively we’ll have enough competition to keep things balanced for the consumer. It’s not that I think Google will benevolently take care of the consumer, just that choices tend to breed a better market.