Apple TV - Generic - 010

A fresh reference to Apple’s revamped Apple TV has been unearthed, and the source is the company’s own mobile software. According to 9to5Mac, an unknown Apple TV (Apple TV 4,1) stemming back to September was first mentioned buried deep in iOS 7, when the mobile software was first released to the public.

The sighting, 9to5Mac says, is confirmation Apple is indeed working on a new set-top box, which will supposedly sport improved guts, enhanced iOS gaming integration and a TV tuner. The current Apple version is “AppleTV 3,2,” as seen under Item 2 in the screenshot (below). 9to5Mac presumes the mention means the upcoming Apple TV will be a significant jump forward for Apple in the living room space, though it doesn’t necessary mean an actual television, or iTV, is on the docket—for now.

In addition to a greater focus on gaming, the upcoming Apple TV is expected to possess AirPort Express-like functionality, essentially doubling as a home’s wireless router. The reasoning is sound: the more connected devices we collect, particularly in the living room, the more necessary a router becomes near your TV, so why not allow the Apple TV to perform those duties? We’ll see if that actually comes to fruition.

While nothing has been made official, the mention of a new model is pretty close to a confirmation. The latest Apple TV software builds have also referenced some unannounced abilities, such as game controller support, though it’s unclear if Apple is planning to make that a primary focus of the Apple TV. For our money, the ability to plug it into existing TV tuners sounds more exciting, especially if Apple can get the UI right.

Apple has yet to hold any events this year, and there’s little indication when the next one might be. The last event Apple held that featured the Apple TV took place in March 2012, so perhaps we’ll see something next month. As 9to5Mac notes, iOS 7.1 (for iOS devices and the Apple TV) is set to hit airwaves in March, and it’s likely that release will coincide with an event (assuming the Apple TV is coming soon).

Tim Cook has constantly reiterated 2014 will be filled with product introductions, and it’s looking more like the festivities will be kicked off with a revamped Apple TV.