In late January, they painted information that Apple TVs had received a silent update. Ma confirmed this, making it clear that internal modifications would not affect the users' experience at all, so that none of this was even announced publicly.
Still, these ?new? Apple TVs were expected to come equipped with A5X instead of A5 chips, due to the S5L8947 identifier. As the original A5X for third generation iPads had an S5L8945 identifier, the bet was quite plausible.
But now the MacRumors put hands on one of these new units and confirmed that the set-top box remains equipped with an A5 chip. However, not any A5 chip: it is (well) smaller than before.
The first version of the A5 chip appeared on the iPad 2. Built on Samsung's 45 nanometer process, it measured 10.09 × 12.15mm. In the third generation Apple TV and the updated version of the iPad 2, Apple started using a smaller version of it, with 8.19 × 8.68mm manufactured in 32 nanometers.
Now, in this ?new? Apple TV, it seems that the company started to manufacture the chip in a 28 nanometer process. If so, Apple's supplier is now likely to be Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), as several rumors have speculated.
The new A5 chip found in these updated models of Apple TVs measures only 6x6mm. That is, in two years Apple managed to reduce by 70% (!) The physical area occupied by the processor quite a feat.