Apple announced the newest version of its Apple TV set-top box today. Wasting no time, the new Apple TV was announced at beginning of the iPad launch event. It looks like it simply keep the name “Apple TV”. As I speculated several weeks ago, it’s an incremental refresh. The new Apple TV sports a revamped interface and support for 1080P video from iTunes. Speaking of iTunes, you’ll will now be able to stream movies from Apple’s cloud just like you do with TV shows. Photos of the revamped interface below. The new interface will also sport large sized movie posters. The new Apple TV will be available shortly on March 16th for $99. No word of discounts on the current model.
Also, we’ve learned from Netflix that the new Apple TV will support native 1080P video streams and Dolby Digital surround sound from the Netflix Instant streaming at launch. Sorry kids, but no Dolby Digital Plus as it’s not supported by the new Apple TV. 1080P support won’t be available on the new iPad’s retina display day one, but I’m told it’s in the works.
I’ve also learned via the Netflix blog that you will be able to sign-up and pay for your monthly bill via your iTunes account. This functionality will also be available on the current Apple TV 2. I wonder if the sign-up for Netflix will allow you to enable the DVD-by-mail plan?
Update: I have a hands-on video of the new software that was pushed out to existing Apple TVs. There’s an interesting extra bit of functionality that wasn’t covered in the presentation. Apple has already put up a streaming video of the event here.
Photos courtsey Engadget who is providing(ed) a great live blog.