Rumors of an Apple designed TV may have been set back today, after Apple unveiled an upgrade to their already wildly successful Apple TV set top box, this time with 1080p HD support.
While most of the specs remain the same as the 2nd generation device, and the price is still $99, the insides are obviously revamped.
The new Apple TV 3rd generation hardware now sports a single-core A5 processor, complete with the same GPU found in the iPhone 4S. We assume this is intended to handle the increased load of playing back 1080p video, but perhaps also to provide enhanced support for applications that may be added in the near future, even if those applications are still merely built-in rather than distributed through an App Store.
While Apple has yet to provide an SDK for Apple TV development, the new interface clearly places more emphasis on what are essentially just applications preloaded with the OS. In our quick testing we discovered that when you select one of the 2nd row of icons in the interface, the view actually shifts so that the entire screen is filled with app icons, making it look even more like an iOS device home screen.
The new interface is also available on the previous generation Apple TV 2 hardware, and is already available in software update on those devices. The new Apple TV software version reports itself as 5.0 (4099).