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Apple TV 4.1 shows up in iOS 7 build fuelling March release rumours

Apple TV hardware references have started to crop up inside iOS 7 software builds confirming the existence of a fourth generation of the hardware that could allow owners to play App Store games through TV sets.

Related: Apple TV reportedly getting software upgrade to compete with Google Chromecast

9to5Mac uncovered the Apple TV framework inside iOS 7’s AirPlay functionality that listed “AppleTV4,1” below the current version “AppleTV3,2” as well as “3,1” that was released as a 1080p model in March 2012 and the first model “2,1” that came out in September 2010.

The listing means that it will remain a part of the Apple TV product line and the significant jump from 3,2 to 4,1 seems to suggest it will have far greater functionality compared to previous incarnations.

In the same article it states that the Apple TV software build includes iOS 7’s Game Controller framework with it so far unclear whether this is left behind from the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch, or if game controllers can be connected to be used with Apple TV.

Apple’s involvement in the TV sector has been a topic of hot conversation in tech circles with the existence of an Apple TV set long mooted as one of the big projects that Apple will unveil in the coming 12 months.

No release date has so far been mentioned for the new version of Apple TV and with the last version released in March 2012, it suggests that the next one could follow a similar timeframe and come out next month.

The new version looks like going head-to-head with a new breed of HDMI dongles, like Google’s Chromecast, that are taking the streaming world by storm with an initial outlay that is, in some cases, under half the price of Apple TV.

Related: Rumour: Apple TV set not arriving in 2014

Apple addressed this back in September by tweaking its Apple TV software to allow content to be streamed from an iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch or Macbook to Apple TV in order for it to be streamed onto an HDTV.