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What is Apple’s Unknown Hardware Found in iOS 4.1?

Apparently Apple either hasn’t figured out how to disguise upcoming products in iOS code or they really don’t care if someone discovers the additional references.  In either case, it looks like the newest addition to the iOS family has made its way into the latest build (4.1) that’s coming to an iTunes near you.

AppleInsider discovered a reference to ‘unknownHardware’ in the latest beta build of iOS 4.1.  The code follows that of iPod 4,1 which references next month’s Retina Display equipped iPod Touch and iProd 2,1 which refers to the second iteration of the iPad.  You might remember back to last year when Apple’s iProd 1,1 first slipped into iOS code only to launch the iPad months later.

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The addition of new hardware being added into the iOS code means Apple is likely preparing for its launch, hopefully before the year’s end.  One likely device that the unknownHardware references is Apple’s upcoming iTV refresh that Engadget sources say will run iOS, apps and all.  A second hardware reference could be linked to the 1.5” screen that could end up in a new iPod Shuffle.  Lastly, recent rumors of a 7” iPad from iLounge and, more recently, Digitimes could line up with the new hardware that we can likely expect in the coming months.

In either case, it seems we can’t be far from the new product launch.  If it’s the iPod Shuffle refresh, we’ll see it next month.  If it’s the iTV, Engadget says to expect its launch before the year’s end.  If it’s a new iPad, we’ll likely see it by the end of January.  Which device do you think unknownHardware refers to?  Share your guess in the comments.