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…..