Unlikely rumor claims fifth-gen Apple TV will go into mass production in early 2016

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A dubious rumor on Friday from the Far East claims that a fifth-generation Apple TV is starting trial production this month, and will go into mass production as early as the first quarter of 2016, just a few months after the fourth-generation model arrived in consumers' living rooms.

The source of the questionable report is the usual Taiwanese supply chain sources who speak with DigiTimes, a Taiwanese industry publication with an unreliable track record. While the site does occasionally provide accurate information on Apple's future product plans, it is frequently the source of inaccurate rumors, particularly with respect to the timing of product launches.

Friday's report alleges that the upgraded Apple TV will have a new CPU demanding a "heat-dissipation solution" to keep it cool. An updated processor will "add new functions to help it [the Apple TV] no longer serve only as a set-top box," the publication suggested.

Production will allegedly be handled by Quanta Computer, instead of Foxconn.

However, a new Apple TV is extremely unlikely so quickly after the release of a fourth-gen model in late October. Apple almost always holds to annual release schedules, and the Apple TV in particular has actually been slow to update — the third-gen model was introduced in 2012.

One possibility is that the company is planning a minor revision. In January 2013 Apple issued a "Rev. A" update of the third-gen device, making no major improvements but swapping in some new components.

DigiTimes's sources claimed that a fifth-gen model will add new functions, however, which suggests more than a revision. The people didn't say what kind of functions Apple might add.