Today, some people began receiving the first of the new, streaming-only, Apple TV. Engadget has a nice review of the device itself here, but the most interesting thing for me was in the ports on the back. It wasn’t the HDMI output, or the Ethernet jack, but the small, unlabeled Micro USB port.
Apple TV's new Micro USB port.
No iOS device, until this one, has had a Micro USB port, especially not one used for restoring (or communicating with iTunes at all). However, that may soon be changing. The new European “universal charger” will require all smartphones sold there, including the iPhone, to use a Micro USB charger rather than the explosion in proprietary chargers we’ve been seeing.
The Apple TV may very well be preparation for what is coming soon for other iOS devices. While it’s not required for any devices outside Europe, Apple has been hesitant, to say the least, to have physical differences in their iOS devices in different regions, so the rest of the world’s devices will probably be moving to to Micro USB as well. How this will impact the design — and third part accessories — still isn’t known, but we do know that some major changes will have to be made, and this new Apple TV may be a way for Apple to test those out in a much more controlled environment.