March 2, 2012 by Christina Warren
Reduced availability of the Apple TV gives credence to rumors that a new product release may be imminent.
On Tuesday, Apple officially sent out invitations for a media event on March 7. While the unveiling of the iPad 3 will certainly take center stage, it's looking more likely that the company will also take an opportunity to refresh the Apple TV.
Online retailers — including Amazon.com and Best Buy — are sold out of the device with no expected restock date. The Apple TV is also unavailable for in-store pickup at Best Buy stores in the tri-state area.
Amazon.com does not have the item in stock and is only offering used or refurbished models. I actually purchased an Apple TV on Jan. 29, when it was available for immediate shipping. As I am barely within the 30-day return mark, I am sending my unit back to Amazon tonight.
9to5Mac reported that new versions of the Apple TV will be available almost immediately after next week's event.
This is further bolstered by Apple TV stock shortages at various Apple retail stores and third-party retailers. As The Verge notes, while users can order an Apple TV directly from Apple.com, many retail stores are showing an availability date of March 7.
Our own tests show that the Apple TV is in-stock at two of New York City stores, however the busier locations (including the Fifth Avenue Apple Store and the Grand Central Apple Store) show "Available Mar 8."
Of course, stock shortages aren't a guarantee that Apple is releasing a refreshed product. Still, the company tends to keep its supply chain full, especially with low-cost items such as the Apple TV. The lack of availability on Amazon.com is our best sign yet that a new model — or new service — could be on its way.
Earlier today we covered reports that Apple is struggling to get content companies to agree to the terms of its unannounced but much-rumored TV streaming service. Whether this content strategy is tied to new Apple TV devices remains to be seen.
What would you like to see in the next Apple TV? Let us know.
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