9to5Mac noticed Tuesday that Amazon.com dropped the price of the current Apple TV model by $9.01, a savings of nine percent and a rare discount on brand-new Apple hardware. It's also the lowest price that Amazon has ever sold the Apple TV for. More interesting, however, is that they updated the product name to call it the "(2010)" model, which some are taking as a suggestion that Apple will soon refresh its line of digital media receivers.
A screenshot of Amazon.com's product page for the Apple TV, taken 11/15/11. Credit: 9to5Mac
Amazon lists the most recent models of other Apple products as "(NEWEST VERSION)", lending more weight to the idea that a new Apple TV is coming soon. 9to5Mac notes that this price drop follows an identical discount from Best Buy this past weekend, where the Apple TV was also offered for $89.99. Shoppers had to add the item to their shopping carts to see this discount, though.
The original Apple TV was released at the beginning of 2007. The current model of the Apple TV is the second generation, which was released in September 2010. The second-generation Apple TV hardware now seems a bit dated in the realm of TV media centers, especially considering its resolution maxes out at 720p, and its older A4 processor looks a little shabby compared to the dual-core A5 featured in the iPad 2 and iPhone 4S. Since the iPhone 4S can output video at 1080p, it's not too unreasonable to expect the next model of the Apple TV to support that resolution as well.
Apple is known for introducing new hardware products abruptly and sometimes with little to no fanfare, so it's possible that they might unveil a new Apple TV model just in time for the holiday season. Then again, they might not, as historically there was an almost four-year gap between the first and second generations - it has only been a little over a year since the last Apple TV. Regardless, Apple definitely has a noticeable interest in the living room space, and the rumors of an Apple television set continue to persist in the wake of the revelations found in Steve Jobs' biography.