TiPb's wondered out loud before about the prospect of the Apple TV joining the iPhone OS family and providing a better overall package than the current no browser, no apps, no pretty much anything exciting product that hasn't seen a hardware update since... almost ever.
Now with Google TV on the horizon, Fortune brings word that while the Android box will be running an Intel CPU it will be using the same GPU as the iPad (and iPhone 3GS) -- the PowerVR SGX.
PowerVR is owned by Imagination and both Apple and Intel have stakes in the company. With Google pushing into every one of Apple's businesses, is the living room something Apple's going to be willing to surrender, and if not, how will they push back?
Current Apple TV hardware runs a custom Mac OS X Tiger 10.4 OS on top of an Intel Pentium M 1GHz "Crofton" CPU and NVIDIA GeForce Go 7300 GPU which was low-end desktop kit a few years ago.
We're still loving the idea of a 1GHz Apple A4-family powered, next generation Apple TV with iPhone OS. That'll leave Google and Apple to compete as they usually do -- with Google giving away everything that doesn't make them money and offering diversity, and Apple focusing on a few core things and making the experience as user-friendly as possible.
Google TV could get built into every display and set-top box (though big media will freeze it out of interacting with any cable or satellite content stream, sorry VoD fans) and kinda sorta work for nerds willing to IR blast or harmonize their remotes. Apple TV could only work with iPods, iPhones, iPads, Macs and PCs but what content you have or Apple provides would be easy and seamless.
Which means both solutions would still be incredibly lacking, but given the restrictions Apple TV with iPhone OS would still be a lot more compelling -- and competitive -- than it is today.