If rumors are to be believed, the next Apple TV is going to adopt the iPhone OS, eschew local drives for cloud storage, and hit a $99 price point.
TiPb's been wondering out loud about putting the iPhone OS on the Apple TV for a while now, so obviously we're excited to hear that may be on the table. Sure, figuring out how to translate the current multitouch input methods of the iPad and iPhone to something that works on a 60" from 10' away but having Safari and apps and games on the platform will be more than worth the effort.
I typically stream to my current Apple TV and never use the hard drive on the machine, so the idea of streaming from iTunes.com or whatever cloud-solution Apple eventually rolls out is compelling. Obviously it will require some local storage to cache data for a smooth user experience, and users should be able to keep a copy of the things they buy if they so choose (sorry Hollywood).
$99 price? That starts to be mainstream... or would if it could replace DVR boxes and set top boxes. As it is, sitting on top of another box (or several) still makes it a tad complex for average users. Cable and satellite providers won't be giving up control of their content or experience any time soon, however, so at least cheap mitigates that for now.
And no, it's reportedly been in the pipeline for a while so it's not a response to Google TV -- though the sudden leak of information about it certainly might be...