Steve Jobs’ “hobby” device might not be a hobby for long: Engadget reports that sources close to Apple claim that the Apple TV is currently getting a massive overhaul as an iPhone OS, streaming video device.
The old Apple TV was like a big iPod that connected to your set, so it’s not really a surprise that Apple’s re-imagining of Apple TV is essentially as a big iPhone connected to an HDTV. According to Engadget, the new Apple TV will have an A4 CPU, run iPhone OS and only ship with 16GB of flash storage.
Why so little room? Because Apple’s trying to do away with local storage in favor of their cloud iTunes service. The new Apple TV will be capable of streaming your media at 1080p through a web connection (or a Time Capsule, if you still want to store your media locally, but it’s all still streaming).
The biggest reveal? The price. Engadget says the new Apple TV will costs only $99. Wow.
There’s a lot of questions here: if the next Apple TV runs iPhone OS, will apps make the jump as well? If so, how will the Apple TV be controlled? My guess would be that the Apple TV would ship with a simple controller, as well as a more involved iPhone / iPad remote app. Either way, I don’t see how existing apps can come to Apple TV: Apple TV apps would have to be entirely new beasts, built from the ground-up with the assumption that you wouldn’t be physically touching your HDTV’s display.
Either way, though, this is exciting: the Apple TV — for all of its promise — has long been a major misstep for Apple. Reimagining it as the cheapest and simplest iPhone OS device you can buy, specifically for media consumption, is a great step towards redeeming it.
Just don’t expect to see the new Apple TV at WWDC: June is Apple’s iPhone month, and they’re not likely to dilute that buzz.