Updated 1/30: It now looks like this will be pretty much the same device, albeit with some new chipsets. An Apple spokesman offered the following statement on Wednesday about the updated Apple TV:
We sometimes make component changes which require an updated model number for regulatory approval. The component changes we made don’t affect product features and Apple TV customers will continue to have the same great user experience.
Apple (s AAPL) is getting ready to launch the next generation Apple TV — and it’s still just a box. An FCC filing first spotted by Engadget reveals that Apple has been working on an updated Apple TV device with a slightly smaller casing. 5 millimeters smaller (0.2”) on each side, to be precise. The FCC filing is heavily redacted, so we don’t have any actual photos, and don’t know what else is different about the new Apple TV — but it doesn’t look like much will change.
Case in point: The most recent Apple TV update, which rolled out when the company released iOS 6.1 earlier this week, has also been made available for a still-unreleased “Apple TV 3,2” device. Apple calls the current-generation device the Apple TV 3,1, which makes it clear that the coming update is likely just incremental.
That’s a disappointment to anyone who has been hoping for a full-blown Apple TV set, for which we have seen many rumors but little evidence over the last few years. Then again, Apple has no need to rush its TV plans, if it has any: Its current Apple TV actually sells really well, to the tune of 2 million in the last quarter.