While all eyes were on Google yesterday at its Made by Google event, Apple silently killed off the 3rd generation Apple TV, leaving just the 4th gen on sale. Apple has had two boxes on sale for some time, so this could be an indication a new version is on the way, with 4K streaming support with any luck.
Apple has said it will still honour current backorders of the Apple TV (3rd gen) and should still sell refurbished models through the online Apple Store, but now wants to focus on the 4th gen version.
Just last month, a new product that looks to be similar to the Apple TV appeared in an FCC filing, showing Bluetooth and NFC support. While it didn't confirm it was a new Apple TV, one image that was able to be shown showed the bottom of a device that look alarmingly similar to Apple's streaming box.
Unfortunately, FCC filings only take into account wireless technologies and not video signals, so it couldn't say if 4K was supported or not. Considering Amazon offers the Fire TV 4K, Roku has the Roku 4 in the US and Google has just announced the Chromecast Ultra with 4K support, it would be a strange move if Apple didn't offer the same if it released a new model.
Reports earlier this year also suggest Apple is looking to add a digital programme guide to the TV, that would work in a similar way to the digital TV tuner for Xbox One. It's claimed it will show all the apps and services you have installed in an EPG-style layout, rather than actual live programmes. If true, it's still not a revolutionary update, especially in an area where Apple wants to excel.
Macworld notes that in a Q3 2016 earnings call, when asked about the TV's position in the market, Tim Cook said: "The introduction of Apple TV and tvOS last October and the subsequent OS releases and what's coming out this fall...think of that as building the foundation for what we believe can be a broader business over time".
"I don't want to be more precise than that but you shouldn't look at what's there today and think we've done what we want to do. We've built a foundation that we can do something bigger off of".
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So while not an exact giveaway, Cook has said there'll be something "coming out this fall", which ties in with other rumours that have previously suggested Apple would announce updates this month at the same time it refreshes its MacBook lineup. If that's the case, we don't have too long to wait.