If you buy an Apple TV by March 5th, you will receive a $25 iTunes gift card from Apple. The promotion began today and only works at Apple retail stores or through the company’s online store.
Apple rarely does deals like this, and the timing is interesting. A new Apple TV is rumored to come out as soon as March, and this time of year is when Apple has updated its set-top box in the past. But that doesn’t mean you should expect a new one in the near future.
According to The Loop’s Jim Dalrymple, the promotion does not indicate that Apple is trying to clear its inventory in preparation for an imminent refresh. We could still be up to a few months out from seeing any new developments from Apple on the TV front.
A report from the Financial Times today said that a new Apple TV should be expected “any week now.” The report reiterated earlier rumors that gaming will be a big part of the upcoming box. There has also been chatter that Apple will finally open up access for third-party developers to make TV-friendly apps.
Bloomberg has said that a new Apple TV could be announced around April, but not actually released until later in the year. After today, it looks like new hardware probably won’t be shown off in March after all.
Apple definitely has something up its sleeve for the TV. During the company’s annual meeting with shareholders today, Tim Cook revealed that the Apple TV made $1 billion in sales last year. “It’s a little more difficult to call it a hobby these days,” he said.
If Apple does indeed open up access to developers, it makes sense to wait until its Worldwide Developers Conference in June. Why not let developers make stuff for the Apple TV, build up a collection of third-party apps to launch with, and then pull the trigger later in the year? That’s what Apple did with the App Store on the iPhone.