March 20, 2012
Just like Apple's larger March release, the third-generation Apple TV has received overwhelmingly positive reviews since launch. Now, it's also received a proper iFixit teardown. While the proceedings were mostly uneventful, iFixit did discover some unexpected upgrades. Paramount on that list was the fact that the Apple TV's A5 processor is a heretofore unseen single-core variant. Because the specialized chip runs cooler, the new system no longer requires the thermal pad utilized in previous models. Instead, a thin metal heat sink provides all necessary temperature maintenance. Also unlike its predecessor, the new Apple TV features two Wi-Fi antennas, added to "address complaints about range and signal strength." Even better, these antennas feed into the same Broadcom 4330 chip as that found in the new iPad, supporting dual-band (2.4 GHz and 5 GHz) 802.11 a/b/g/n. Apple also upped the system RAM from 256 MB to 512 MB, meaning your faster connections are further enhanced by faster overall OS performance. Apple didn't change everything, however. Indeed, the remaining insides (and the handheld remote) stayed pretty much the same as before: You'll still only get 8 GB of flash storage (which is actually plenty for a device like this), and the 5.95-watt power supply is the exact module used in last year's model. The external form-factor, fit, and finish are similarly unchanged, and -- just looking over the new unit -- you'd be hard pressed to tell any difference from the second generation. Still, for $99, the new Apple TV will really round out your iOS experience. It's definitely worth a buy -- Just make sure you download the official Remote app to go with it. Apple's currently listing its new Apple TV with a ship time of three to five days!