The internet is alive with the sound of speculation this week, it seems that the word is out that Sony has shipped their 2nd generation development kits for the as yet unannounced PlayStation 4.
While Sony hasn't broken their silence yet on the new hardware, you would have to be located somewhere on the lunatic fringe by now to think it wasn't in existent in some dim lit corner of the Sony campus. While of course for a million and one NDA legal reasons, we can't name names, but many sources within the development are anonymously claiming to have their hands on the new hardware. Good job on keeping to the NDA chaps.
The first development kids shipped some months ago which were essentially just a graphics card that could be used as a rough guide line for the intended specification. This second batch however is a typical PC in terms of design, fitted out with target specification hardware of the future console.
It's likely just fairly standard off the shelf components, although it is highly speculated that this will be the method of choice for building the hardware, as the days of proprietary CPU and GPU hardware is no longer an option in today's financial climate.
The development kits are said to be based around an AMD A10 APU (for those of you who don't know an APU with a CPU and GPU on one chip), with around 16GB of ram, although I will point out it's common place for a dev kit to have double the ram of the intended system.
This isn't the final hardware though as that is now expected to be with developers at some point in January 2013. Don't be deluded though to think that the PS4 would have the AMD A10 APU and 8GB of ram, it's possible that this hardware is just a good fit for the intended spec of the final product which likely hasn't been set in stone as of yet.
So what else do we know? well so far Sony has yet to coin the term PlayStation 4, referring to the hardware as "Orbis" at all time during their recent disclosure meetings which took place in the US last week. Beyond that we know that hardware still held a Blu-Ray optical drive, 256GB storage, Wifi, Bluetooth, Ethernet and HDMI, so pretty much the PS3 in terms of connectivity, a safe choice.
So when can we expect this hardware you must be wondering? Well if you want my opinion I would expect an announcement between Easter and the end of August next year, with a launch window of November 2013 - Easter 2014, but of course I must state again, this is just my personal estimate.