Apple TV lineup shuffled, major updates expected

Swirling amid the murky Apple rumor pit prior to last week's iPod refresh event was talk of an updated Apple TV, thanks to Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster's observation that 40 GB Apple TVs were in low availability.

Today, the 40 GB Apple TV model has been removed from Apple's site entirely, and Munster's prediction of an Apple TV lineup change has come true. Now, there's only one Apple TV unit available: the 160 GB model, and that has dropped $100 in price.


Before this change, the 40 GB model was priced at $229, and the 160 GB model at $329. Now that there's only one model, the 160 GB unit has been knocked down in price to $229.

The reason for this change, Munster believes, is that Apple TV will be upgraded to coincide with an iTunes subscription service, or the new iTunes LP format (formerly known as "Cocktail"). The iTunes LP format and the new iTunes Extras bonus content feature use a new framework Apple is calling TuneKit.

Because TuneKit content is designed for 1280x720 resolution, the exact HDTV output of Apple TV, and there are references to "hdtv-fullscreen," and "hdtv-cursor-off" metatags within iTunes 9 content files, some believe an Apple TV update is now inevitable.

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