September 30, 2010, 9:44 AM — Apple will add App Store functionality to its new, miniature Apple TV in the near future, a Wall Street analyst said today.
The $99 device , which Apple announced on Sept. 1, is a close sibling of the iPad in its component composition and uses the same iOS 4.1 that runs on the iPhone , iPod Touch and iPad, two huge hints that Apple will sell apps to consumers, not just rent content to stream to TVs, said Brian Marshall of Gleacher & Co.
"I'm a little disappointed that an App Store didn't make it into this first version, but it'll come," Marshall said. "Apps will give consumers a much more media-rich environment than simply consuming content."
One easy bet in Marshall's mind: Games to turn Apple TV into a de facto video game console.
Earlier on Wednesday, the iFixit site published photographs and a step-by-step description of its "teardown" of the new Apple TV, and found close similarities to other recent Apple hardware, notably the iPad.
The Apple TV relies on the same Apple -designed A4 application processor that powers the iPad, said iFixit, down to the 256GB of system memory integrated with the A4 in both the iPad and the fourth-generation iPod Touch. The iPhone 4 boasts 512MB of system memory.
That processor and amount of system memory -- as well as the fact that the Apple TV uses iOS 4.1 -- means the new device could run applications currently stocked in the App Store. That's unlikely, however, since the display resolution of the Apple TV doesn't match that of the iPad, said Marshall. Instead, developers will have to rework their software to utilize the additional space and resolution.
Another clue that led Marshall to conclude that an Apple TV App Store was possible now -- and even more likely when the device receives its inevitable upgrade -- is the 8GB of flash RAM that iFixit uncovered in its teardown.
There's a perfect spot (marked with yellow) on the logic board for another 8GB of flash RAM. Photos courtesy of iFixit.com.
"That's enough for about two high-definition movies," said Marshall, speculating that the 8GB of storage would be enough to house the operating system and downloaded applications, and serve as a cache for streaming video to the television.