In a new report, 9to5Mac claims that Apple could launch a new version of its Apple TV device at the iPad 3 special event, next month.

The website – having already identified the third-generation Apple TV’s “J33″ codename in the iOS 5.1 beta software – explains that it has been contacted by a Best Buy employee who notes that his store is out of Apple TV stock, and that he was unable to order more Apple TVs via Best Buy’s product ordering system:

A customer was inquiring tonight about Apple TV. However right now we are out of stock (Which hasn’t happened since I started). Not only were we out of stock, but also I was also unable to order one from our product ordering system (OMS). Product was listed as “currently unavailable”.

A number of online stores – such as Best Buy and Target – are out of Apple TV stock, while others – such as Amazon – note that the device is shipping in two to five weeks (this fits in with the iPad 3 launch timeframe – the iPad 3 is expected to be announced in March).

It certainly looks like Apple is preparing to launch an updated Apple TV device.

We’ll let you know if – or rather, when – Apple unveils the date of its iPad 3 special event. Here’s hoping we do indeed see a new Apple TV, besides that coveted Retina-equipped iPad 3.