The much rumoured next-generation Apple TV has taken a step closer to reality after 9to5Mac unearthed what is believed to be the new product’s codename, J33.

The mention of the device in the latest iOS 5.1 developer beta confirms that a new Apple TV is indeed planned. Code names are, of course, not the final names given to Apple products, but it is a significant development nevertheless, because it usually indicates that the product is near release. However, it doesn’t reveal exactly what stage of development it is at.

The new firmware has already led to rumours of a dual-mode iPad 2, and here is the mention of J33, which was originally spotted by ih8sn0w.

In the biography written by Walter Isaacson, Steve Jobs revealed his desire to build an integrated television set that “seamlessly synced with all of your devices and with iCloud”— which, given Apple’s focus on cloud services, could manifest in the form of the next Apple TV.

Apple has already started the rollout of cloud-related services like iTunes match to Apple TV users, stoking speculation about the possibility of a new device.