Apple A4 Powered Apple TV? Discuss.

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by Chris Grande, Jan 28, 2010.

  1. Chris Grande macrumors regular

    Chris Grande

    Jun 17, 2003
    So anyone else smell a A4 powered Apple TV in the future? Looks like it would be powerful enough, then just rebuild the AppleTV UI on top of the iPhone OS instead of 10.4. I'm just not sure if it's any cheaper for Apple.
  2. zedsdead macrumors 68040

    Jun 20, 2007
    I'll take anything at this point so long as it is much faster. I also would like 1080p, but even 720/30p would be better than what we have now which is what the iPad can handle officially. It will remain to be seen if Apple is enforcing that limit or not.
  3. hegor macrumors member

    Dec 6, 2006
    Yeah I think it would give Apple more control over their product. What does the :apple:TV have now, if I recall a low power 1 GHZ pentium derivative?

    Economy of scale would kick in for Apple as well for manufacturing purposes, and hopefully help lower the :apple:TV price. A nice software/hardware update and a strong price drop would do wonders for the device.
  4. gkarris macrumors 604


    Dec 31, 2004
    "No escape from Reality..."

    Add a couple of USB ports and Bluetooth with an iPhone/iPad OS and compatibility, and now you can run and program AppleTV Apps, with game controllers via USB or Bluetooth. Apple's long awaited "game console".

    Heck, I use my Wii for news and weather... :eek:
  5. jaw04005 macrumors 601


    Aug 19, 2003
    I would rather them move to a system-on-chip type design and possibly even a variant of the iPhone OS than keep patching the current 10.4 based system.

    There’s no reason the next Apple TV can’t be powered by the A4 (clocked appropriately) and while they’re at it store the OS on flash memory so it boots faster and improves stability.

    Other than Apple TV and my Dish Network set top box from 2001, what other set top boxes actually boot from a physical hard drive anyway?

    The current model worked for 2007, but it needs a revamp. The current processor is a 1Ghz Dothan-based Pentium M called “Crofton.” It’s pre-Core Duo, so you’re talking 2004/2005 era chip technology.

    If they do move from x86. It would be the end of the line for updates for the current model though. There is no way they’ll maintain two separate operating systems for Apple TV.

    Personally, I don’t think it will happen this year. I might be wrong, but I believe the Apple TV is actually made by Apple’s Mac division and marketed by Apple’s iTunes division. There would be an unknown mix of teams and resources involved there.

    The Apple TV is fighting for resources (marketing, software update, etc) as it is at Apple. It’s still a “hobby."
  6. jlasoon macrumors 6502a

    Jun 1, 2006
    Orlando, FL
    How about an iPad with an AppleTV app utilizing a 32pin to HDMI and/or component cable connected to your TV. At this point I guess anything is possible.
  7. gkarris macrumors 604


    Dec 31, 2004
    "No escape from Reality..."
    Yes, if it doesn't happen this year - likely next. Apple needs time to make the chip for it, or wait until the A4 chip is cheap enough and the iPhone/iPad OS is developed enough as well as solid state memory cheap enough...

    I can see an A4, 128 Meg flash AppleTV with WiFi and Bluetooth next year for $199.
  8. hegor macrumors member

    Dec 6, 2006
    I don't think all the more complicated ideas will ever see light as the :apple:TV isn't marketed as anything other than an iTunes bridge.

    Gaming for example, Apple would have to design, manufacture, and sell controllers for it. The :apple:TV doesn't have bluetooth and the USB port is in the back. It would require a radical redesign in both hardware and marketing. I don't think Apple would ever go into the home console market. My guess has always been that Apple would probably be happy to license technology to some party willing to stick its neck in the console wars, leaving Apple unscathed in the wake. Look at how much money Microsoft lost to establish Xbox as a viable platform.

    I'm sure an :apple:TV2 with a strong GPU, frontal USB ports, bluetooth, and Apple designed controllers would be very cool in theory. Heck you could use an iPhone/iPod touch/iPad as a controller for some crazy types of games, but it would be too much hassle for a company that believes and has made much bank in other arenas.
  9. Aegelward macrumors 6502a

    Jul 31, 2005
    Its a compelling concept.

    IF the A4 is based around the latest Cortex A9 CPU, it could theoretically be clocked as high as 2ghz, not to mention multi-core. Even more fun is in a nVidia demo of the Tegra 2(A9 based), they claimed it was just a hair away from performance matching current generation consoles. Of course they might have simply implying the wii.. But its food for thought, not knowing the full graphical capabilities of the A4

    But since the ATV is currently based around 10.5(or was it 4?) they will have rewrite the software for it, Then again, they can probably just use the core of the iphoneOS and write a new UI for it.

    Which nicely leads to Apps..Will apple finally do it, or are they too stubborn?
  10. MikeDTyke macrumors 6502a

    Sep 7, 2005
    Eugh stringing cables temporarily is fine but a 15' hdmi stretched across the floor, no thanks. Besides the iPad as it currently stands doesn't support higher than vga 1024x768 output.

    There's no reason to wait for the chip to get cheaper, it'll be cheaper by ordering more of them. There's also no reason why they should use flash for media storage, price/megabyte still favours a 2.5/3.5" drive. Personally i think we'll see an AppleTV that purely streams, perhaps the low end model to compete with some of the newer streamers that cost about $100.

    No need to clock it to 2Ghz, it's only a media player and if the A4 has an imagination tech VXD core onboard then it's capable of 1080p decoding. More than adequate. All the AppleTV build of OS X is an App 'BackRow' that needs porting to the iPhone OS.

    Really the only significant work will be if they refresh the UI again and include this magic wand remote technology they've been touting in various patents.

    Apps, well now there is the question, sure 140K iPhone apps would be ridiculous, but checking facebook from my appletv would be a nice addition. It also would be a clear competitive advantage over the popcorn hour.

  11. Aegelward macrumors 6502a

    Jul 31, 2005
    Well, i was speculating for the people hoping for games on the ATV :)
  12. LinMac macrumors 65816

    Oct 28, 2007
    That is actually a very good point.

    I've had doubts about the AppleTV's hardware moving to ARM, but Apple seems to be adding an App Store interface to their non-PC hardware.

    Think about what Apple could do with the AppleTV using their custom high end ARM chip with an App Store environment specifically targeted at televisions?
  13. quadG5guy macrumors member

    Jan 26, 2010
    Richmond, VA
    Too bad the apple TV sucks. Why should I have to transcode all my videos in a different format just to play them? I store all my videos as DVD .ISO files. Apple TV cannot play these. Wish I could use an apple TV but I'm stuck with a mac mini instead, all due to apple's refusal to support .ISO files. :mad:
  14. BORIStheBLADE macrumors regular


    Jun 15, 2008
    I think :apple: should use the newer sigma chips that the current media players are using. They can play 1080p stuff without even breaking a sweat.

    The only issue is making the U.I run smooth with that hardware.

    The other issue is everyone now a days wants something for 1080p including me. The issue with this I see is :apple: will need to start putting out 1080p content or open it up and let use play other kind of files..... Which do you think will actually happen?...... I'm betting you figure :apple: will be putting out 1080p stuff before the other option. How long do you think till they start putting out 1080p stuff?:rolleyes:
  15. tdmac macrumors 6502

    Feb 9, 2008
    Apple had the way out if they make the current platform obsolete by stating it was a hobby from the start.

    The current hardware would still be able to play the conent that is avail just not take advantage of any interface updates or possible additional content changes that require higher video res or processing power. Similar to Gen1 iPhone or Ipod Touch can only download and use less apps. I guess similar to what Apple has just done to Power PC owners with Snow Leopard.
  16. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    Why use an A4 i a device that plugs into AC mains wall socket? OK, it is more "green" to use less power but you get better performance with chips that use more power.

    I think also the aTV needs to multi-task. It has to run some background tasks to sync, download, show the movei and watch for signals from the remote control. an iPhone OS aTV could not workk, not until iPhne OS adds the required features

    I'm also waiting for a 1080p version of the aTV before I buy one.
  17. bigdaddyp macrumors regular

    Aug 19, 2008
    The Chip can handle multitasking and so so can the iPhone os. Apple chooses to not allow access to their Api's that developers need to access to allow multitasking. Just because Apple does not allow it does not mean it is not capable.

    I am tired of waiting for an Atv update so I have been playing around with my xbox 360 streaming movies from my macmini and plan on getting a wdtv live as well.
  18. Consultant macrumors G5


    Jun 27, 2007
    Major difference

    iPad processor is designed for mobile application, probably more expensive.

    Apple TV is attached to power supply. The Apple TV processor is "faster" by clock speed already btw, but it's running non-mobile OS.
  19. robotartfashion macrumors 6502

    Jan 1, 2009
    Phoenix, AZ
    Very true. I have a jailbroken 3G as a home media remote and a 3GS as my phone and both use backgrounder for multitasking. The 3G would drag a little but the 256 mb of ram on the 3gs allow me to run Navigon, Pandora, and text message/call all at the same time without any real slowdown.

    4.0 will allow for this. I have to believe that. It's pretty much the only reason I jailbrake with 3G unrestrictor and the use of my own themes as icing on the cake.
  20. gnasher729 macrumors P6


    Nov 25, 2005
    What makes you think the iPhone OS cannot multitask? It supports pthreads, NSThreads, everything you need to run as many background tasks as you want.
  21. Aegelward macrumors 6502a

    Jul 31, 2005
    You do know that practically every other streaming device uses a ARM based processor right, throw in a decoding chip and they easily have enough oomph to decode high profile 1080P content, if those Western Digital & Segate media drives an decode it, an A4 powered ATV will.

    Not to mention the fringe benefits of using an ARM processor, manufacturing the A4 should cost far less than buying a near discontinued line of processors from intel, and the ATV will run much, much cooler. It might even be cold to the touch.

    It just depends if apple is willing to invest the time & effort to build a new front end to iphoneOS specific to the ATV
  22. dynaflash macrumors 68020

    Mar 27, 2003
    Is it possible that since by all laymens observation the four legged chair is complete they may finally start refining the fourth leg ?

    Point being that obviously much of apples R&D resources must have gone to the iPad, shortly on the heels of the iPhone. Could it be possible that some dev love might be bestowed on the "fourth leg" of the chair ? And might we have not seen a glimpse of it in the A4 chip in the iPad ? No clue. But it seems conceptually possible ... or wishful thinking from existing atv owners.

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