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After pulling in $1 billion in 2013, is a new Apple TV on the way?

The Apple TV doesn’t usually get much of a mention alongside the iPhones and iPads the Cupertino company produces, but Apple’s annual shareholder meeting threw up an interesting statistic about its diminutive media box: in 2013, the Apple TV earned $1 billion in sales of units and associated content. Some analysts are suggesting that makes it Apple’s fastest-growing product.

Apple CEO Tim Cook revealed that his company has managed to ship more than 10 million Apple TVs over the last 12 months compared with 5 million in 2012. These improving figures indicate that the device could play an influential role in the company’s future plans — with Amazon set to unveil a set-top box and media streamer of its own, the competition is likely to become fiercer in the years ahead.

Previous rumors have suggested that we could see a new Apple TV model in the first half of this year, featuring improved App Store integration and a motion controller for gaming. The last significant upgrade to Apple’s black box came two years ago in March 2012, though its internals were upgraded at the start of 2013.

Adding weight to the rumors is the discount deal just announced by Apple and reported by Engadget, which gives buyers of a new Apple TV box a $25 gift voucher for iTunes, with no strings attached. All you have to do is pick up a device between now and March 5th to claim your voucher. Is Apple attempting to clear out stock lines or just feeling generous? We should know soon enough.

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