‘Lightweight’ Digital-Only Xbox One Rumored, Microsoft To Take On Apple TV?

Xbox One

Could a disc-less Xbox One with a much lower price point be on the way from Microsoft in 2016? A refresh of the console is expected at some point in the future, but this could be something completely different since the software giant may challenge the Apple TV.

Brad Sams of Petri rounded up his outlook of the 2016 for Microsoft with notes on the Surface, Surface Pro, Windows 10, and more. One of the more interesting pieces was the following about the Xbox One.

“The Xbox may also receive an update next year, rumors of an Xbox slim style device picked up late 2015. I have heard from internal sources that the company is considering plans for a lightweight Xbox One that may only be for Windows store games and would compete with the Apple TV, but it’s not clear if these plans have been scrapped. A similar device was rumored around the initial Xbox One launch and those plans were put on hold but this device is said to be from a similar vein. If this device does materialize, it will not launch until the second half of the year and have a much lower price-point than the Xbox One.”

Xbox One Logo

This isn’t the first time that a smaller, disc-less version of the Xbox One has been rumored. A Chinese blog (via Metro UK) reported in August that Microsoft was working on a smaller console to be released this past October. Obviously, that never came to fruition, and Xbox head Phil Spencer himself squashed the rumor at the time as “not real.”

Could Microsoft even produce a version of the Xbox One as small as the Apple TV? Apple’s fourth-generation set-top device measures 3.9 in x 3.9 in x 1.4, so it would definitely be a challenge for the relatively behemoth-sized Xbox One. Microsoft gave the console chassis plenty of extra breathing space to help prevent a repeat of the overheating problems experienced with the launch versions of the Xbox 360. Additionally, approximately half the console space can be freed up by removing the optical disk drive.

That’s still a potentially large challenge to bring down the Xbox One’s current 13.1 in x 10.8 in x 3.1 in dimensions to something as small as Apple TV. A Wii-sized case is much more likely.

4th Gen Apple TV

The Xbox One is certainly capable of competing with Apple TV on the entertainment app side of the business. All of the major apps are supported by Microsoft’s console, including Netflix, Hulu, Vudu, ESPN, HBO Go, Crunchyroll, and much more.

Additionally, Microsoft clearly beats out the Apple TV when it comes to games. The question remains: Would Microsoft reduce the power of the Xbox One any and how will it handle the console’s storage needs for games that can run up to 50GB in size and over?

Another interesting aspect would be the integration of Cortana. The voice-controlled AI companion is coming to the Xbox One in 2016, as previously covered by the Inquisitr, and an incomplete version can be unlocked by Xbox Preview Program members. Microsoft would still need to provide a way to give voice commands. The Apple TV provides lets users give Siri commands via the included remote. Presumably, a similar remote would come with the “lightweight” Xbox One if it ever comes to fruition.

Meanwhile, an Xbox One “Slim” release in 2016 is definitely up for debate. The console just passed its second birthday with no major revisions beyond a larger hard drive. By comparison, Xbox 360 models with revised chipsets began releasing two years after launch.

Do you think Microsoft will release a “lightweight” Xbox One to compete with the Apple TV? Sound off in the comments below.

[Image via Xbox]