Apple TV (2012) hands-on!

It's not that the new Apple TV wasn't rumored, but still -- announcing it here at the new iPad launch? Bold, Apple. Really bold. Looks as if Apple's hobby is now becoming a right-hand man for the iPad, and given the increasing importance placed on AirPlay, it's no wonder that the next Apple TV feels less like a standalone box and more like a killer $99 accessory for your iPad. We got a brief look at the new 1080p-capable set-top box here in San Francisco, and not surprisingly, it's small. Really small. In fact, it's just as tiny as the prior Apple TV. It's hard to glean much about the functionality given the limited setup we're seeing here, but suffice it to say, to-be iPad buyers are apt to become the largest sect of Apple TV buyers if the two are marketed together correctly.

It'll ship alongside the new iPad on March 16th for $99, with a revamped user interface and 1080p output being the only notable differences. Same HDMI output, and we're told that those with slower connections can opt out of 1080p in the settings menu. Moreover, content partners are working around the clock to add 1080p versions to the store, and naturally SD and 720p content will remain for those on older Apple TV units. You can bet that we'll be taking a long, hard look at the wire-free wizardry in our full review; for now, however, there's a gallery of shots below demanding your attention.

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