While Apple announced the new AppleTV they made a very big point of making sure that people knew that the focus of the new AppleTV is on streaming and not on storage. Now, the new AppleTV has been stripped down by iFixit only to reveal that the device includes 8GB of Samsung flash memory on board.
8GB of flash is actually quite a bit when you think about it. While Apple does need room for the OS as well as buffering for streaming content, it still seems like more than actually necessary. While some are already theorizing that the additional flash space will allow Apple flexibility in a number of ways, it might actually be Apple trying to plan for a longer shelf life by giving the company options that would be offered by the extra flash memory.
Other camps are whispering that actually 8GB of flash storage does not cost that much more than 4GB of flash storage; and actually the move to use an 8GB flash chip is nothing more than a decision of pricing and availability, and we should not read much into the decision. (Could it be that Apple is combining the buy of these chips along with other 8GB chips that are used in the iPod or iPad product line, for example, to be able to buy more flash at a better price?)
Another and more likely scenario is that the 8GB of flash memory allows users to pause the content for a longer period of time while the content continues to stream and is buffered in the flash memory. It could also be leveraged for use in a number of mini-apps to extend the functionality of the AppleTV, but don’t expect too much, as it is only 8GB of space.
We will probably never know the exact reason Apple elected to put 8GB in the latest AppleTV, but you never know what is really on the mind of Apple with its designs. Of course, all may be revealed when the next generation of the AppleTV arrives, but we don’t expect it for awhile.