Apple loves rounded rectangles so much, they patented the shape. I was rearranging some of the Apple gear in my living room and it occurred to me to create a "PyraMac"—a pyramid of smaller and smaller rounded rectangles, almost like a Mayan temple (Macan Temple?) of aluminum, black, and white plastic. First, there was a recent Mac mini, then an AirPort Extreme (the size of the original Mac mini), then an Apple SuperDrive. On top of that, I placed the current Apple TV and then the previous generation iPod nano. All of these use the rounded rectangle design Apple has popularized.
Sure, the latest Mac Pro is a cylinder, but the rounded rectangle is Apple's modus operandi. It got me to thinking about what the next Apple TV might look like. The theory is that instead of shipping an actual TV, with all the problems associated with that, Apple might opt to ship a cable TV box that replaces the clunky DVR we're used to. There's certainly room for improvement in the user interface of such boxes, and Apple could combine their design expertise, Siri, and AirPlay to create a welcome addition to the living room.
While a merger between Time Warner and Comcast could put such a move on the back burner, the acquisition of Beats by Dre is expected to help kickstart these efforts. Apple is no fan of Blu-Ray, or DVDs for that matter, so it's likely that any such device would be solid state only (i.e. no moving parts.) This would keep costs down, and help minimize failures, which cable companies would appreciate. Apple is also expected to take a hint from Amazon's Fire TV and make the next Apple TV work with controllers, like an Xbox or PlayStation.
Imagine if Apple can ship a device—delivered and subsidized by cable companies so there's no upfront cost—that gets iOS into living rooms, and offers a more natural interface for TV viewing, recording, and searching? I just hope it fits nicely with my PyraMac!