Pre-orders and previews underway ahead of launch.
Apple Retail Stores Pushing Sales of Current Apple TV with $25 iTunes Gift Card Offer
The promotion naturally sparks speculation that Apple is trying to clear stock of the current model ahead of new hardware. A recent report from Bloomberg claimed, however, that while Apple was aiming for an April introduction of the new Apple TV, a launch would not come until much later in the year around the holiday shopping season.
The Apple TV recently received added prominence in the Apple online store with its own major heading as opposed to its previous placement as an accessory, suggesting that Apple may be laying the groundwork to move the Apple TV from its longtime "hobby" status to a full-fledged product on par with its other lines.
Apple has reportedly considered a new set-top box that would combine the features of the current Apple TV with the Wi-Fi router features of the existing AirPort Express. The new Apple TV could also leverage iOS devices and Bluetooth accessories as game controllers for a potential Apple TV App Store, while also adding an Apple software layer on top of users' existing cable television services. Apple has also reportedly been in talks with Time Warner Cable about a potential content deal.
The new gift card offer on the existing Apple TV runs through March 5 and is currently not offered on the Apple online store. As with all iTunes gift cards, the credit can be used in any of Apple's digital content stores, including the iTunes Store, App Store, Mac App Store, and iBooks Store.
Update 8:20 AM: Apple has now posted the Terms and Conditions [PDF] for the offer, indicating that it is valid both in-store and online, but only in the United States.
Update 3:07 PM: Notable Apple journalist Jim Dalrymple has said that a new Apple TV release is not imminent despite the gift card promotion.