Evidence of new Apple TV unearthed in iOS 7

Rumors of an Apple TV 4 in the works strengthened on Monday following news that a reference to a new Apple TV device appears inside iOS 7. A reference to "AppleTV4,1" appears inside software that drives AirPlay functionality in iOS 7 devices, reports 9to5Mac:

The reference to the next-generation Apple TV 4,1 first appeared in iOS 7.0 in September, but the reference has not been unearthed until now. The sighting of Apple TV 4,1 is confirmation that the new device is in the works. The nomenclature also indicates that the new Apple TV model will remain as part of the Apple TV product family. The jump from 3,2 to 4,1 also confirms that the device will see notable changes in terms of internal components.

The Apple TV references also include second and third-generation models, which are identified as "AppleTV2,1," "AppleTV3,1" and "AppleTV3,2" respectively. All second and third-generation Apple TVs can operate as AirPlay devices.

While 9to5Mac speculates on "notable changes" to internal components in the Apple TV, the "4,1" demarcation is on its own indicative of a major change. The primary difference between second and third-generation Apple TVs, for example, is that the latter is capable of streaming higher-resolution 1080p playback instead of 720p. Third gen Apple TVs sport an upgraded processor under the hood, but remain physically and identical to their second-generation kin and provide the same range of features.

Looking at Apple's past releases, the time is ripe for a new Apple TV. The second-generation model was introduced in 2010. The third-generation model made its debut in March of 2012, and was revised in January of of last year.

I guess we have to wait and see what's coming.

Are you in the market for an Apple TV? Will you replace the Apple TV you already have once a new one is available? Sound off in the comments.