Apple reportedly plans new Apple TV set-top box 'soon', with possibility of App Store

Apple plans to release a new version of its Apple TV set-top box sometime in the first half of 2014, according to 9to5mac. It's said to keep a similar design to the third-generation Apple TV currently available on the market.  No, it's not the full-fledged TV set you've been hoping for. 

The new Apple TV is "well into testing" at the company, according to the publication, and it's not clear if a Kinect-like sensor will be included as previously rumoured. However on the software front we'll see a welcomed change-up, including a revamped user interface that ties deeper into iOS 7.

In a separate report on Thursday, iLounge said gaming will be a focus in an update to the Apple TV hardware coming in March or earlier. Developers are said to be working on Bluetooth controller options. And 9to5mac added there's the possibility of "new types of content" found within the software, which could mean the inclusion of an App Store or "Game Store" where users can download content from their set-top box. 

Apple TV's ecosystem has been limited, focusing on a few apps from content providers, rather than a mass app marketplace as is available on the iPhone and iPad. The last Apple TV update was in March 2012, so it may be time for Apple to update its offering as the living room becomes the focus of many of its competitors. 

Tim Cook, chief executive officer at Apple, has previously tipped Apple has a "grand vision" for the TV experience. 

In typical Apple secrecy, the company declined to comment on the rumours. But it's worth noting that 9to5mac has an exceptional record in reporting on product releases from Apple.