Shipment data collected by research firm Panjiva suggest Apple has received several orders of "set top boxes" from China. Could they be a new piece of Apple TV hardware, and will we see it launch at next week's iPhone event?
" />

Is a new Apple TV on the way?


With all the fuss focused on upcoming iPhones, Apple might have quietly slipped a new Apple TV through customs in preparation for an imminent launch. According to Panjiva, a company that tracks and analyzes global shipments, Apple received at least three shipments from BYD Precision Manufacture in August. Each was described as “Set Top Box.”

BYD is a relatively new partner for Apple, and the three “Set Top Box” shipments are among the first the Chinese manufacturer has shipped on behalf of Cupertino. The description along with the fact that Apple hasn’t updated their TV hardware in quite some time leads to what seems like a logical conclusion.

So will we see a new Apple TV by the end of the year? Will its announcement be tacked on to September 10th’s big iPhone unveiling?

To answer the first question, it does seem likely we will see a new version of Apple TV, but if the description of the shipments from BYD are any indication it will only be an update to the current generation hardware. It doesn’t appear that we will receive Apple’s full-blow television set anytime soon.

And that’s fine for now. Apple has been hard at work beating the drum for new content sources, adding a handful of channels over the summer from HBO Go to Disney to music video provider Vevo. Apple is definitely investing their efforts into Google TV, and updated hardware to coincide with the launch of iOS 7 makes sense.

Though the internet-connected TV market appeared poised to blow up a few years back, contenders like Google TV have fallen flat. The most recent entry into the fray was Google’s Chromecast, which acts less as a TV interface and more a basic all-in-one media streaming device. The launch of the low-cost dongle was enough to get Apple to slash the price on refurb Apple TV units.

I won’t hedge any bets on this new Apple TV product launching next week, but it would be welcome. Of course, Panjiva only speculates that these shipments are related to Apple’s television platform. They could be something different entirely (perhaps updated AirPort Express boxes, which have also been rumored). I suppose we’ll know soon enough.

[via Panjiva]

Continue reading: