The Cupertino-based company launched a new promotion today that allows buyers of a new Apple TV to pick up a free $25 iTunes gift card with their purchase, to help them stock their new set-top box with media. Until March 5, anyone who buys one of Apple’s set-top boxes from the company’s retail or online stores will get a free gift card. The deal puts more fuel on the speculative fire, pointing towards a refresh of the Apple TV.
Earlier this month, reports surfaced that indicated Apple is trying to lock down deals with cable providers to provide current-run shows to users of the new Apple TV. Eagle-eyed sleuths have found references to new Apple TV hardware inside iOS 7, and Apple recently gave the device its own product category inside the company’s online store. It’s a big step up for the product formerly known as the iTV, which used to be considered a side project inside Apple.
Especially with Google’s $35 Chromecast streaming dongle, and rumors surfacing about Amazon launching its own set-top box next month, Apple is going to be facing more and more competition over who can control what users have hooked up to their television sets. But Apple’s out ahead of the pack: Tim Cook told the company’s shareholders today that Apple sold more than $1 billion worth of Apple TVs and media for the boxes in its 2013 fiscal year, according to a report by Reuters.