Apple TV Price Drop Prelude To iTunes Integration?

Apple quietly dropped the price of its 160-GB Apple TV to $229, a discount of $100 from the previous price. At the same time, Apple dropped the 40-GB version from its Web site.

Apple TV provides customers the ability to rent or purchase high-definition television shows and movies, purchase and/or listen to iTunes music, and access digital photos over a standard television, or over high definition TV via an HDMI cable. It also has a built-in DVR function.

Several Apple-specific industry watchers are speculating that the price and product lineup changes are coming in advance of the vendor improving the device's ability to work with Apple's iTunes technology.

AppleInsider on Monday reported that Apple is using a new programming framework called TuneKit for building its new iTunes LP album and iTunes Extras movie-enriching bundles that are included as a new feature in iTunes 9.

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TuneKit provides a framework on which iTunes interactive media content can be built using open Web standards such as HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, AppleInsider reported. It allows interactive content without the use of middleware such as Adobe Flash or Microsoft Silverlight, AppleInsider wrote.

TuneKit also appears to be developed specifically for HDTV capabilities, with a 1280 x 720 resolution output that fits the native HDTV output of Apple TV. That resolution would also work with standard definition displays as well, but not when using S-Video or composite video inputs, AppleInsider reported.

An examination of the iTunes content files also indicate that content is being created specifically for Apple TV, according to AppleInsider.