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Looks like the days of Apple calling Apple TV a "hobby" project are officially over. Last night's update to the Apple Online Store for Valentine's Day brought more than offers to celebrate the lovers' holiday; as of today, Apple TV commands its own spot in the marketplace alongside iPhones, iPads, Macs, and iPods.
In the past, finding anything about Apple's set-top box required rummaging in the iPod section, where you'd find it listed as a mere accessory. Now, however, it's a big deal. Today you'll find that there's a section listing accessories for the device itself on Apple Online Store's homepage, as well as a space to find refurbished units and questions and answers from the community.
This could signal big changes. It could mean the arrival of a dedicated app store and possibly the UI overhaul many of us have been hoping for. Alternatively, as 9to5Mac suggests based on "solid sources," it could point to the coming announcement of a wholly new device that combines the existing Apple TV with Airport Express products. The idea behind the combination, 9to5 says, may be to improve video quality and to put all related components in one box. Simplify, simplify.
As icing on the cake, this could also herald the imminent arrival of games for the system, along with support for the new MFi controllers. Unfortunately, all these "coulds" mean we don't know exactly what's coming, but it seems clear that we're on the threshold of a whole new era for Apple's scrappy entertainment device.
Follow this article's writer, Leif Johnson, on Twitter.