Multiple reports today indicate that a new Apple TV is currently in testing and could be released sometime during the first half of 2014. The new Apple TV would be a fourth generation model of the current iteration, not to be confused with a full Apple television. The fourth generation Apple TV could bring some serious changes that could include a new user interface, while continuing to use iOS as its core software. Having iOS as the foundation of Apple TV software will play a key role in the eventual roll-out of what’s rumored as support for games and possibly apps for the set-top box.
Sources claim the ATV will introduce support for new content, beyond the existing channels that exist on the current models. This could come in the form of some type of app support, either an App Store or strictly games. Apple has recently introduced support in iOS 7 for officially support game controllers, which have had a lukewarm reception due to the high price at intruction, with all coming in around $99. That’s the price of the current Apple TV. iLounge says that developers are working on Bluetooth controller options. One major hurdle will be storage. If the 4th generation Apple TV does not increase storage capacity, it would mean support gameplay through the cloud. Both sources indicate that backward compatibility might be on board, so existing generation Apple TV owners would be able to take advantage of games and the new software.
Apple has been adding channels to the set-top box with regularity. It’s still unclear how they view the current or even new 4th generation Apple TV as part of their overall strategy for the living room. Days before his passing, Steve Jobs indicated that he had cracked the code with regards to TV, offering the simplest user interface you could imagine. Cable company DVRs remain some of the worst software UIs, but the industry might not be willing to let Apple reinvent TV, when they continue to profit from the badly broken system.