January 29th 2014
By Mike Flaminio
Apple's online store now features a dedicated section for Apple TV. Before it was hidden away in the iPod, which made no sense. Would this be a sign of things to come? Or simply acknowledging the old taxonomy makes no sense for a reasonably popular product? Maybe both.
Mark Gruman at 9 to 5 Mac adds some fuel to rumors. The next Apple TV may see integrated AirPort Express and an emphasis on gaming. Also, integration with cable TV:
Lastly, Apple has been testing versions of the Apple TV with a built-in TV tuner component so it has the ability to control your existing cable boxes/TV stations much like the since canceled Google TV. It's likely that a user will be able to connect their existing set-up to this Apple TV and get an Apple-designed user-interface atop their content.
Gaming I think is a given path for Apple TV expansion. Building in the network router is interesting. Reason given would be for simpler configuration and dedicated quality of service. Maybe. Apple would have to expect people to relocate their cable modem to the living room. Or essentially be a wireless bridge because most people won't have wired Ethernet to their TV. I'm more skeptical of cable TV integration. That would mean a CableCard to decrypt cable programming, which is still a world of hurt and kind of in flux. I can't see Apple depending on cable operators to make this work, nor putting their customers through that pain. I still suspect Apple would be best served doing some kind of HDMI pass-through solution to go between the DVR/Cable/Sat box and Input #1 on the TV.