The new Apple TV is rumored to include a faster processor, possibly a variation of the dual-core A5 chip. The dual-core A5 chip has been said to be required for the Apple TV to finally stream 1080p quality video, but Apple is also working on an “A5X” chip that is dual-core, which also includes an improved graphics engine. Those two components of the chip would likely delivery the smooth video playback that Apple would include in such a product. Other possibilities from the rumor-mill include a redesigned Bluetooth 4.0 remote control, and Siri support, but those are not rumors that we can independently confirm yet. This new Apple TV would make sense to launch with a new 1080P movie service from Apple’s iTunes Store.
There have been rumors for some time that Apple is planning a TV set, but it sounds like there’s a more imminent release of an updated Apple TV, the box that plugs into your regular TV. I’ve been a big fan of the current iteration – it’s great for streaming home movies to your TV, and there’s been a recent push to turn it into a mirrored display, reflecting what you see on your iPad (or soon, your Mac).
I’m not sure how much difference 1080p video will really make; just reducing the compression of existing video would probably make a bigger difference. That said, improved quality is always nice. I’m guessing there’s got to be something more than a slightly faster box with slightly improved video quality. Apps could be a game changer.