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Revamped Apple TV On the Way?

Apple TV (40GB) CNET

That revamped Apple TV we heard about a few months ago? It might be headed our way shortly.

Apple TV has long been a "hobby" for Apple, a project that the company considers a work in progress and not a flagship product like the iPhone or Mac. As such, there have been few changes to the video-streaming set-top box since its introduction in 2008.

e In June Engadget was told by some unnamed sources that a makover for the device was coming--including a smaller footprint, iOS 4, the A4 chip, 1080p playback, and 16GB of storage, and a $99 price tag.

On Wednesday Engadget's same sources updated the report, saying the same features are planned with the exception of 1080p. The new Apple TV will not upgrade to 1080p after all, but will continue to output 720p video, which matches iTunes' video content's current capability. There will also be a new iTunes streaming service to accompany its introduction.

But the report also includes some other interesting tidbits: that the device will have access to apps, like the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad, something that's long been rumored and expected.

Perhaps more intriguing: Apple TV is getting a new name, according to the report. Well, an old new name. Apparently Apple is rechristening the device iTV, which was the original name for Apple TV when it was first introduced.

Apple declined to comment.

While it's safe to say it's unusual for Apple to be so non-committal on the name of a product that's already been shipped, Apple TV is a special case/"hobby."

Apple TV in its current incarnation runs a stripped-down version of Mac OS X, comes with a 160GB hard drive, and looks like a standard set-top box for the living room. And it currently costs $229.

Wednesday's news lines up with what CNET reported in March: that Apple had approached major film studios about enabling iTunes customers to store their content on its servers and is readying a cloud-based streaming service.

The plan included being able to access movies and TV content from a variety of Web-connected devices. We also know Apple bought streaming Web music site in December because it wanted access to the service's streaming technology. And though it's been slow with the rollout of a music-streaming service, video appears to be on a faster track.

As to how Apple will introduce this, the rumored event for September could be a good place, though that has typically been reserved for music/iPod-oriented announcements. But it's possible Apple could do a separate event later in the fall timed to coincide with holiday shopping period.

This piece originally appeared on CNET