AppleTV software updated to “2.0;” hardware remains the same

In somewhat of a let-down — at least relative to rumors posted here and elsewhere about a major hardware revamp which we still strongly believe is coming…..we were simply to optimistic on the timing, it would seem — Steve Jobs has indeed announced “AppleTV 2.0” but it is not the Blu-ray equipped, totally overhauled device that we had predicted.

Instead of hardware changes, Apple has left the iDevice unchanged (right down to the 40 & 160GB HDD options) except for price and a substantially improved new operating system/onboard software suite. To take full advantage of the capabilities which have existed since it was first released a year ago but haven’t been properly utilized, Apple is overhauling the AppleTV components of the iTunes Store to offer High Definition (720P) movie rentals.

Other than some changes to Front Row, support for movie rentals, iTunes Store updates, and HD formatted content from the iTunes Store, not much has been changed in the “2.0” AppleTV firmware. Apple sources do tell us, however, that there are quite a number of “under the hood” bug fixes, optimizations and changes made in 2.0.

These include a considerable improvement in the delays experienced when switching between functions/applications, loading data from the onboard hard drive (improved RAM-caching manager), network performance on both the wired and wireless connections, and new firmware for the onboard 802.11n wi-fi controller that adopts the latest version of Apple’s “draft-N” standard with numerous improvements to bring AppleTV up to par with Time Capsule and Macbook Air which also have the new 802.11n firmware.

Stay tuned over the next few days as we dig deeper into the fine-grained details of AppleTV 2.0 and the new 802.11n firmware which should be reaching existing Intel (Core 2) Macs which support the standard within the next few weeks…..

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  • Joe

    I don’t know why anyone would be surprised. As has been discussed repeatedly in various online forums, adding an optical drive would do nothing for Apple. Since most consumers already have optical drives attached to their TVs, it would also do nothing for the consumer – except cost them money.

    Apple’s business plan is downloads – and an optical drive gets in the way of that.

  • blueskyrocket

    I want to see an Apple released app that allows my iPhone to become the remote control for Apple TV including a browser for previewing and scheduling my content

  • soniqfreq

    Well, that new external USB superdrive for the Macbook Air looks like a nice match for those who don’t want a separate DVD drive next to their TV. Apple could easily, enable this feature. Will they, though?

  • questionable

    Could they be waiting for Blueray? If people are getting a new dvd player anyhow, why not get one with AppleTV too. Or does an optical drive bring it too close to Mac Mini territory?

  • Joe

    Adding Blu-ray would more than double the price of the unit – making it even less attractive for a lot of people (those who don’t see the value of Blu-Ray yet). And that doesn’t address the fundamental issue – Apple sees the future as downloads and has no desire to compete in the physical disk market.