Steven Troughton-Smith has been analyzing the firmware files and has discovered that the new 4K Apple TV, set to be unveiled officially by Apple tomorrow, will have very powerful internals.
By digging into the code, he believes the new Apple TV will be powered by an A10X Fusion chip, coupled with 3GB RAM. This represents a big increase in power and may signal a larger direction beyond 4K movies and TV shows.
The current generation of Apple TV (originally released in 2015) houses an A8 chip with 2GB RAM.
Moving from that specification to an A10X Fusion SoC, the same chip used in the new iPad Pro models, will significantly increase compute and graphics performance.
Apple could have been more conservative as it seems like earlier chips could support the necessary HEVC decoding for 4K content. It looks like Apple is future-proofing this box for the next few years.
The inclusion of such a powerful chip could also indicate a renewed attempt to make the Apple TV a better games console with the ability to render graphically rich 3D games to better compete with consoles like the Nintendo Switch.
The RAM increase from 2GB to 3GB was to be expected due to the sheer bandwidth and cache size requirements of streaming 4K video.