The Apple Interactive Television Box

No it's not an Apple iTV, but it could be.  This is actually an Apple Interactive Television Box.  Before Steve Job's return to the company, Apple did actually prototype a set-top box to be used with TV's back in the mid-90's, however, it never took off.

The set-top box was designed as an interface between a consumer and an interactive television service. The unit's remote control would allow a user to choose what content would be shown on a connected television, as well as to provide functions of fast forward,rewind and so on. In this regard it is similar to a modern satellite receiver or TiVo unit. Unlike the TiVo, the STB would only pass along the user's choices to a central content server instead of issuing content itself. There were also plans for game shows, educational material for children and other forms of content made possible by the interactive qualities of the device.

Could it be that speculation on an actual display for the Apple iTV is a bit much?  Perhaps Apple is redesigning the Apple TV as we know it and providing a true competitor to Big Cable?  Oh, wouldn't that be nice!

Update: If you're interested, here's the original user's manual for the device. (I'm also hosting this document on my server, should it ever "disappear" from Apple's website.  Quite frankly, I'm surprised it's still there in the first place.)