• $99 iPhone OS, Cloud-Based Apple TV Coming?

    Engadget is claiming they've got a scoop this morning about a fundamental refresh of Apple TV. The newest iteration of Apple's "hobby project" is supposedly based on iPhone OS 4 and the same A4 CPU as the iPad and the next-generation iPhone. The new device will have flash storage, but content will be stored on Apple's servers rather than locally, though Time Machine backup options will supposedly be available. And in a separate hint, an email from Apple Support that suggests a major change to how iTunes video is delivered may be forthcoming.

    Engadget's Joshua Topolsky writes this morning about a tip he's received that he says is confirmed by "a source very close to Apple." The new Apple TV, which Topolsky claims has been under development long before Google announced its TV solution, is now firmly a part of the iPod/iPhone/iPad family ("iTV?"). Based on the A4 system-on-a-chip, the device, which Topolsky is describing as "an iPhone without a screen," will by a tiny box with just a power cord and video-out port that will output 1080p HD. As opposed to the current Apple TV and its 160GB hard drive, the new device will just have a small 16GB flash memory space for the OS and apps, and will sync with Apple's cloud for content. Time Machine backup will be available for those who want local storage. And of all that news, the price may be the biggest shocker: just $99.

    Possibly lending some credence to this unsourced rumor is a random post on ZDNet's "Apple Core" blog. A reader wrote in to describe a strange interaction he had with Apple Support. He was waiting for new episodes of the TV show "Doctor Who" for his Apple TV, but they weren't being downloaded. When he emailed support, he got an oddly defensive response from a rep saying that he "can't comment" on "rumors about decisions, products, programs, or promotions that Apple has not officially announced." In a season when most "rumors" concern everything other than the almost-forgotten Apple TV, the response was particularly curious.

    Google recently announced a plan to work with Sony to develop TVs that run Android, and is partnering with Logitech and Intel to provide Atom processor-based set-top boxes. The devices are said to begin shipping in fall of this year. Engadget's Topolsky didn't give a release date for the supposed Apple TV refresh, other than to claim that it wouldn't be announced at the Worldwide Developers Conference next month, which he notes "will be focused on the capabilities of the new iPhone."
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