iFixit did one of its legendary tear-downs today — analyzing the hardware of a freshly-shipped Apple TV (s AAPL) — and guess what they found? 8 GB of Flash storage. Apple hasn’t publicly revealed how much Flash storage the device is packing, mostly because it’s marketed as a streaming media player.
Users are supposed to rent streams straight from Apple or play back local content from their Mac or PC, with an option to stream videos straight from an iPad coming in November. But they’re not supposed to hoard these files on their Apple TV.
So why would the device have 8 GB of storage? For apps, of course. Eight GB isn’t all that much if you want to store HD video files, but it’s plenty to save apps. In fact, most iPhone app developers try to keep their apps under 10 MB, because anything larger would have to be downloaded via Wi-Fi, as opposed to through AT&T’s (s T) 3G network. Apple TV app developers obviously won’t have to deal with constraints like these, but the current iPhone / iPad app space shows you can do plenty with very little.
iFixit also found there is space for another Flash memory chip for future models. Furthermore, the hardware of the Apple TV is remarkably similar to that of the iPad, featuring the same processor, Flash memory chip and Wi-Fi chip set.
This means the Apple TV is technically capable of running apps similar to those currently available on the iPad, especially given that the Apple TV does, in fact, seem to run the same OS as the iPad. Members of the jailbreak community were able to confirm yesterday that Apple TV runs a flavor of iOS 4.1.
Related content on GigaOm Pro (subscription req’d):