Apple Inc. is expected to announce new iPhone models next week, but could it also announce a new version of Apple TV?

In August, the Cupertino-based tech giant received three shipments from one of its suppliers of set-top boxes, according to Panjiva, a company that organizes global trade and shipping data.

Panjiva noted that these shipments could be for any number of things, including a new version of Apple TV, the long-rumored TV set by Apple.

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An Apple TV set -- the iTV perhaps? -- would be pretty cool, but there has been little indication in recent months that Apple could have a TV ready at this point. So don't get your hopes up.

But if Apple were soon to announce a new Apple TV, it would make a lot of sense. Here's why:

1. Google Chromecast got the jump on Apple

Out of nowhere, Google earlier this year raced into the world of digital TV receivers with Chromecast. The $35 TV dongle isn't as capable as the $99 Apple TV, but at that price, it could certainly threaten the hold Apple and rival Roku have on the market.

With a new version of Apple TV, Apple could take the limelight away from Google and shine it back on itself. And if the company can get closer to Google's price point or improve Apple TV's capabilities, it could gain new users and any it lost to Chromecast.

2. Apple TV has been adding many new channels

Apple has recently been adding channels to Apple TV at a quicker pace. This summer alone, it added HBO Go, WatchESPN, Disney, Disney XD and Vevo, among others.

The rush of new content could mean Apple has big plans for the Apple TV, a device the company has previously referred to as just a "hobby."

3. It's been forever since Apple updated Apple TV

OK, it hasn't actually been "forever," but it has been about a year and a half since Apple made a significant update to its digital TV receiver. Since then, Google made its splash and Roku released the Roku 3, the latest version of its device.

For Apple, which updates most of its products on a regular basis, a new Apple TV is overdue.

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