Apple is rather quietly reworking the internal components inside the Apple TV. The Apple TV is very much the quiet cousin of the iOS family, but that makes it an ideal testing ground for Apple to work out what it's doing with its more successful product lines.
If you go into an Apple store there's scant detail of the Apple TV's existence, let alone an effort to actually push it towards customers. It just kind of sits there. However, as Cult Of Mac points out, perhaps that's the entire strategy.
It's not that Apple is all that fussed about Apple TV one way or another per se; it's that it allows Apple to test out new silicon arrangements in the wider market. They've just made a silicon level change to the Apple TV, switching to a TSMC 28nm A5 chip from a Samsung produced model. There's no love lost between Apple and Samsung obviously at the smartphone level, but they're still somewhat co-dependent at a component level, and this could be a move away from that model. Moreover, there's also the possibility that it's testing the ground for using that 28nm A5 chip in other smaller products -- Cult Of Mac discusses the next generation of iPad Mini as a possibility.
Now, admittedly, this is yet one more rumour on the Apple rumour pile, but I do rather like that it's a somewhat informed bit of speculation, rather than the usual "here's a photoshop mockup found on a Chinese message board" type of alert.
What The 28nm A5 Chip Inside The New Apple TV Means For The Retina iPad Mini [Cult Of Mac]