Apple TV is ... an iPad?
The first version of Apple's Apple TV was a relatively standard set-top box, but the second version, recently announced, has an internal design and key components that are almost exactly the same as the iPad and iPod Touch.
"The first Apple TV was built like a net-top computer. The architecture was basically a stripped down, small-form-factor desktop PC," observed Andrew Rassweiler, director, principal analyst and teardown services manager for iSuppli. "The second-generation Apple TV is more like an iPad or iPod Touch with no display. The Apple TV's A4 processor core, Wi-Fi/Bluetooth chip and power management chip are the same building blocks used in the iPad, iPhone 4 and iPod Touch."
While iSuppli didn't venture what that might mean in terms of functionality, it's clear that Apple is reaping cost benefits from using high-volume iPod and iPad components.
Compared with the first-generation Apple TV, the new model offers a dramatically improved ratio of hardware cost to retail price. The initial version of the Apple TV appeared to be a near giveaway or subsidized product for Apple, sold at prices that weren't much more than the underlying hardware costs.
With the second-generation version of the hardware, the Apple TV's price is about 35 percent above its BOM and manufacturing cost, iSuppli concluded.