It's well-known that Apple is probably working with cable providers on new version of its Apple TV, but now there's finally some proof to back up those claims.
In a US Federal Communication Commission filing from Comcast and Time Warner, which pleads for the companies' impending merger, there's is a brief mention of Apple. Specifically, the filing said Apple is developing a new set-top box. Although the mention offers no direct evidence and could be based on speculation, it could also mean that Time Warner and Comcast has let slip some internal hardware plans at Apple.
"Today, Google competes as a network, video, and technology provider, and 8 out 9 of the next Google Fiber markets the company announced are in Comcast or TWC areas. Apple tablets are viewing platforms for cable services even while Apple offers an online video service, Apple TV, and explores development of an Apple set-top box," revealed the FCC filing.
Several reports from the likes of Bloomberg and The Wall Street Journal and others have alleged that Apple wants to introduce its next Apple TV set-top box alongside fancy content partnerships. Apparently, Apple is negotiating with US cable company Time Warner Cable on a deal that involves more video content. The deal would be part of a new strategy for Apple, in which the company wants to establish partnerships with television and distribution companies.
It is unclear if a Time Warner Cable partnership would eliminate the need for an actual cable box that you’d otherwise rent and hook up to a coaxial cable. The next Apple TV could serve as an over-the-top box that requires an internet connection and no coaxial connection, or Apple might want a TWC TV app for Apple TV (like the one on Xbox 360 that required a Time Warner Cable modem and internet connection). Either way, you'd need a cable subscription.
The point is: If Apple and Time Warner Cable are in the middle of negotiations, then Time Warner and Comcast could very well know that Apple is developing a new set-top box with video content provided by cable companies. And that also means both companies are capable of accidentally leaking forthcoming Apple TV plans.