Apple has a knack of revising its hardware internally, without consumers noticing, since such changes don't usually alter the product's feature-set. As an exception, last year's silent update of the iPad 2 from a 45 nm SoC to a smaller 32 nm SoC greatly improved battery life. It looks like the new AppleTV scored just such an update.
In a new hardware update identified as "AppleTV3,2" by software, the company made replaced the 32 nm A5 SoC bearing part number "A1427," with a newer one labeled "A1469." The SoC's package is noticeably smaller than its predecessor, sparking off speculation that Apple may have switched its foundry partner from Samsung to manufacture the A5. The new chip, as MacRumors speculates, could even be built on the newer 28 nm process. Apple is on a drive to minimize its dependency on components manufactured and patents held by Samsung, with which it's locked in a global-scale legal battle over alleged patent infringements.