The details about the next generation Apple TV continue to leak. We first got the hints that Apple was planning to launch the next generation Apple TV, when it quietly released the iOS 6.1 firmware for an Apple TV device with code named J33I (the code name of the third generation Apple TV is J33).
Then earlier in the day, an FCC document revealed that the new Apple TV will be slightly smaller than Apple TV 3.
AnandTech now reports that based on the code references discovered in iOS 6.1 firmware, the new Apple TV will use the same WLAN+Bluetooth antenna/chip combo that the iPhone 5 uses and will be powered by Apple’s A5X chip. The dual-core A5X chip with quad-core graphic powered the third generation iPad (or the new iPad), which was discontinued last year.
Instead of the A5R2 SoC (S5L8942) inside the Apple TV 3,1, this new device contains an A5X SoC (S5L8947) as shown in the screenshots I’ve taken of the Restore.plist file, though there are numerous others. It’s entirely possible that Apple is again using different bins of the A5X, it’s not possible to tell whether CPU or GPU cores are fused off at this point from my digging through the IPSW.
If you remember, Apple had used the 32-nm A5 processor in Apple TV 3, which was seen as a way to test the platform, so that it could ramp up the production of the processor for the iPad mini.
It looks like Apple is planning a similar approach, by using the A5X processor in Apple TV 4, it will test the platform and later ramp up production of the A5X processor for the next generation iPad mini. It remains to be seen if the quad-core graphics of the A5X processor will be used to power next iPad mini’s Retina Display.
Apple had unveiled the third generation Apple TV on March 7th, but looks like based on the number of leaks we’ve seen so far, it may hit the shelves sooner.