(Pocket-lint) - Update: This story has now been dubunked, with the remote in question has been revealed to be an already-released third-party unit from Universal Electronics.
The next-gen Apple TV will feature a new remote design according to sources who spoke to 9to5Mac.
We've been waiting for a refined Apple TV for some time to follow up the Apple TV 4K and it seems 2021 could be when it finally arrives - the older 4K box debuted at Apple's late 2017 event when the iPhone X was also revealed.
Back in August 2020, Bloomberg suggested that there was definitely a new Apple TV on the way with a faster processor, which would make sense.
Hardware-wise then, it's certainly in need of an update, however, the number of rumours around the new product are quite low compared to other Apple devices. Certainly with the advent of the Apple TV+ streaming service we were surprised that Apple didn't take the opportunity to revise its TV hardware, even if AirPlay 2 and the Apple TV app have now rolled out to various TVs as part of its built-in software.
A new Apple TV is certainly lower interest compared to something like an iPad that we tend to know a lot about pre-launch, but we've not heard a great deal about the new box at all besides the fact that one is on the way.
Still, the information about the new remote does give some credence to rumours that the device will indeed be on the way. According to 9to5Mac, the model has the codename B519 (the current remote was B439).
The current Siri remote has a touchpad that divides opinion and it could well be there are significant changes on the way for the remote's key controls.
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Edited to include clarification on origin of the story.