A new generation AppleTV has been rumoured for WWDC for a while now and the talk has been of a marginally improved device, perhaps with a new remote control and HomeKit integration. However the New York Times is reporting that this device will no longer appear, partly because the product isn't ready - according to their sources at least.
A minimally changed product that isn't ready yet? That sounds unlikely to me.
So what are the other alternatives? Does the absence of the rumoured Apple TV service make the launch of new hardware pointless. It wouldn't seem likely, after all Apple has got an awful lot of existing AppleTV owners out there who it will want to service with its new product, which means that the service can't rely on new hardware unless Apple wants to kill its installed user base. Could there be premium features which will only work on the new hardware and would be obvious once the new device is unveiled? Possibly. Certainly not wanting to steal the thunder of its TV service launch would be a good enough reason for delay.
Is the new AppleTV a much bigger change than currently thought? Again it seems possible. The failure to push the AppleTV as an Xbox/Playstation competitor has always left me bewildered. Here is a device that could potentially unlock and own that market for Apple if only it were given its own native app store and not have to stream apps from other iOS devices. The software catalogues exists, owners already have the iPad or iPhone necessary to act as a game controller, and there's a multi-billion dollar market just waiting to be owned. Add in Siri, the rumoured TV service and access to iCloud media files and the Apple TV could easily become the third leg of a business currently too reliant on the iPhone and hoping for Apple Watch success.