Apple TV to Change the Face of Living Room Gaming?

Last week we mentioned how Google TV is giving Apple TV a run for its money. Well, maybe not. Engadget received a tip on Friday that was confirmed by a source close to Apple regarding specs of the next Apple TV: Brace yourselves and hold on to your tiny remote controls.

Apparently this makeover has been in the planning stages long before the Google TV announcement, and ties in closely with Apple's mobile offerings. It will have the same internal structure as the iPhone 4, even including the limited 16GB flash storage -- though it'll be capable of full 1080p HD. It's going to be a small device with only two ports (one power socket, and one video out), and is slotted to be "an iPhone without a screen." The real draw of this is its said-to-be price tag: $99. Yeah, you read that right. Under $100.

Apple TV will focus all of its attention on cloud-based storage (similar to what we mentioned here), with an option to use a Time Capsule as an external storage component, though the gadget's main task will be all about streaming. The new Apple TV will no longer have its current OS-X lite operating system, and will run through an almost exact replica of the iPhone OS model.

And of course, it's kind of a given that you'll also be able to stream

Netflix, music, and then some. But we're not about stating the obvious,

here. This platform seems the ideal choice for game enthusiasts.

So the real question: Will Apps and the App store join in on all of the fun and turn the Apple TV into an ultimate gaming platform? It would make perfect sense, given Apple's app history, and playing games once reserved for a tiny screen on a 50+ inch plasma sounds like a gamer's dream come true. Games on the iPad are already rendered at 1024 x768 resolution--the same as the majority of XBox 360 and PlayStation 3 games, and much sharper resolution than the Wii.

Unfortunately they won't be covering any of this at the upcoming WWDC,

but development is definitely in progress. We'll keep you posted.

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