Everyone has their own theory about when Microsoft is due to reveal their refresh of the Xbox One console. If we take the Xbox 360 as a guideline, around the two-year mark is when people could have expected a minor revision, and the console has been out for almost 29 months now. According to new filings with the FCC in the US, as well as recent statements made by Phil Spencer on the company’s thoughts for introducing newer, more powerful versions of the console, we might be in for the long-awaited revision soon, with a reveal possibly set for E3 2016, or a few weeks afterwards.
The filings were found by a NeoGAF forumite, who used reference numbers from the current Xbox One’s safety information manual to verify his findings. The FCC has two wireless modules on file from Microsoft, with model numbers C3K1682 and C3K1683. Both are for separate wireless chips that were included in two devices, but might also point to a new console and controller revision. That’s how people figured when the Xbox One was arriving; back in 2013, new FCC listings for a device from Microsoft with the FCC ID C3K1537 allowed NeoGAF users to determine how things were coming along as the launch drew nearer.
C3K1682 is a slight revision to the Xbox One controller. It’s a wireless chip made by Mediatek, but it’s nothing really special. It has permissions from the FCC to work on particular 2.4GHz and 5.0GHz bands, but fewer overall than the original controller. The original controller used more 5.0GHz-range freqencies, which seems to suggest that Microsoft has made adjustments to the chips to either increase battery life, or make it cheaper to manufacture.
C3K1683 is much more interesting from a technological standpoint. Microsoft lists it as an “802.11ac 2T2R dual-band wireless radio”, which is a big change over the Xbox One’s wireless chip, which was just labeled “WLAN module”. That turned out to be an 802.11b/g/n dual-band implementation, and it’s a much older device. The module in the new Xbox One will be capable of reaching past 1Gb/s wireless speeds on a compatible 802.11ac router, and the 2T2R portion means that it’ll support MU-MIMO technology as well, which will boost the available bandwidth it’s allowed to receive from the router.
The FCC currently has three revisions of the updated wireless controllers to look at, as well as two wireless chips that the console will use. One of those controllers would have to be the bundled one with the console, while the other is an updated Elite controller. I’m not sure what the third one is, unless Microsoft uses the chip for the wireless adapter for PC. The Xbox One chips aren’t housed in a console yet, and some documents sighed by the FCC in their early reports indicate this. Microsoft still has to deliver them two consoles with these chips integrated for final testing, which might happen later in May.
The embargo on information pertaining to the controllers and the wireless modules inside them ends on 29 July 2016, almost a full month after E3 2016. The embargo on sensitive details for C3K1683 ends on 25 June 2016, just over ten days after Microsoft’s scheduled keynote address at the conference.
What are we likely to see? I hesitantly agree with some people that claim that it could be a slim version of the Xbox One console, but I think it’s more likely that we’re going to see the same design with some improvements to cooling capacity, support for HDMI 2.0 displays and a full-fat 4K output, and possibly upgraded storage space (perhaps 1TB by default now, with 2TB drive units also available). Microsoft might allow a small price drop, but I don’t think they’ll go for it until they think Sony’s ready to.