iPad 3 to Pave Way for 1080p iTunes Content and a New Apple TV?

Apple is expected to reveal the new iPad at a media event in the first week of March. The new iPad is widely believed to carry a ultra-high resolution 2048x1536 display that exceeds the resolution of 1080p content. Apple, however, presently only offers a maximum of 720p HD content on their iTunes Store. 720p also happens to be the maximum resolution that the current generation Apple TV supports.

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We've already seen evidence that Apple has been working on a next generation Apple TV. Back in October, references to an unreleased "AppleTV3,1" model were found in the latest versions of iOS 5. Meanwhile, Apple has reportedly asked movie studios to start submitting 1080p content to the iTunes Store late last year.

A Retina Display iPad would represent an opportunity for Apple to launch a 1080p iTunes Store. It would also make sense for it to correspond to an Apple TV update. 9to5Mac now notes that stock of the current generation Apple TV is running low amongst retailers such as BestBuy, Target and Amazon. The timing suggests that the Apple TV could be getting a refresh around the same timeframe as the iPad.

The Apple TV is a product that we haven't tracked in our Buyer's Guide. The reason is that the Apple TV is unique in that it is more of a living room appliance whose primary purpose is to play iTunes content on your television. As a result, as long as the Apple TV can play all current iTunes content, there's been no compelling reason for Apple to offer a major hardware upgrade. In October, we wrote:

So, we can't be certain when Apple might be launching a new Apple TV, but believe it would be tied to other offerings, either 1080p HD iTunes content or another television initiative altogether.

If Apple does see the iPad 3 as an a opportunity to launch the rumored 1080p iTunes Store, then it seems likely the Apple TV will follow.

Related Roundup: Apple TV
Buyer's Guide: Apple TV (Caution)

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Top Rated Comments

jaw04005 Avatar
161 months ago
Apple will be left behind if it does not start offering unlimited streaming movies for a flat monthly subscription. It's already getting killed by Amazon, Netflix, LoveFilm, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, 4OD etc
Unfortunately, I think Apple sees the iTunes Store competing against Blu-ray and video on demand (PPV), not Netflix or the like.

One thing I hope they launch with the new iPad is iCloud for Movies. Surely it's coming.
Score: 18 Votes (Like | Disagree)
profets Avatar
161 months ago
1080p ≠ good, actually. Blu Ray is 1080p, but it is compressed enough that the quality is still not so good. I found my DVD player with a 1080p upscaler higher quality than Blu Ray with the exception of the colors not being as good.

My mom's 1080p AVCHD camcorder is lower quality than my HDV tape camera in 720p or 1080i.

Did I read that right? A DVD player that upscales to 1080p looks better than a high bitrate 1080p bluray itself?

I dunno, I honestly would have thought a video at 1920x1080 up to 50 mbps would look better than a video at 720x480 up to 10mbps.
Score: 17 Votes (Like | Disagree)
emaja Avatar
161 months ago
1080p ≠ good, actually. Blu Ray is 1080p, but it is compressed enough that the quality is still not so good. I found my DVD player with a 1080p upscaler higher quality than Blu Ray with the exception of the colors not being as good,.

Then you have the world's crappiest BD player. There is NO WAY that SD looks better than 1080P if all things are set up the correct way.
Score: 17 Votes (Like | Disagree)
neiltc13 Avatar
161 months ago
Apple will be left behind if it does not start offering unlimited streaming movies for a flat monthly subscription. It's already getting killed by Amazon, Netflix, LoveFilm, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, 4OD etc
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
blueroom Avatar
161 months ago
I just want it to support Apps. 720p video doesn't bother me.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
damir00 Avatar
161 months ago
I found my DVD player with a 1080p upscaler higher quality than Blu Ray with the exception of the colors not being as good.

Then there is something seriously messed up with your system, because they aren't even close.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)