Apple TV Preparing to Ship, Apps on the Way?

Steve Jobs promised the second-generation Apple TV (s aapl), announced at the last Apple event, would ship within four weeks. This being the fourth week, it’s not surprising to see reports appearing citing charges to credit cards, which suggests shipments are imminent.

Just a fifth the size of the previous model, the new Apple TV dispenses with a 160GB mechanical drive and Pentium CPU, in favor of a rumored 16GB of flash and the Apple A4. It will also be running iOS, but is not currently capable of accessing the App Store.

However, Steve Jobs did tell Businessweek that “when the time is right, Apple could open an App Store for the TV.” That careful non-confirmation has recently been buttressed by an obscure profile at LinkedIn. As reported by MacRumors, the profile describes the position of an intern as an “Apple TV Apps Engineer.”

Perhaps the inevitable jailbreaking of the new Apple TV will turn up evidence of software hooks for the App Store, but even if it doesn’t, new functionality includes Netflix (s nflx) streaming, at least for U.S., and now Canadian subscribers. Additionally, AirPlay will allow computer and iOS device owners to stream music, photos, and video to the new Apple TV.

Unfortunately, owners of previous versions will be getting neither apps nor Netflix, and yet now might be the best time to buy a first-generation Apple TV.

For those of us who bought the new Apple TV, the wait is almost over. My own Apple TV, ordered at 11:20 AM PDT, still lists “September” as a ship date, but I expect that will soon change. I plan to use it as a kind of “front end” to the Mac mini next to the TV, replacing the seemingly abandoned Front Row, and providing easy Netflix access to my Mac home theater.

If you’ve ordered an Apple TV, has its shipping status changed yet? If you haven’t ordered one, what would you like to see in a review?

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