Over the last day or two, there have been some pretty interesting reports concerning Microsoft's Next Xbox. Some have been calling it the Xbox 720 or even the Xbox Loop, but we will just stick to Next Xbox until an actual name gets assigned to it. The recent reports, however, cover the system's graphics capability, the disc drive, Kinect, and even used games. First up is the Next Xbox's GPU, which is expected to have production begin by the end of this year. It will use an AMD GPU, but it will be based off the HD 6000 series and not the recent HD 7000 series. Initial reports peg it as using the AMD Radeon HD 6670, and while that may not seem impressive to some, the HD 6670 is a DirectX 11 GPU with 3D, mutlidisplay, and 1080p support. The HD 6670 is also about six times as powerful as the current GPU in the Xbox 360, so it will be a substantial upgrade for the console crowd.
Next we move along to the disc drive, with some claiming the Next Xbox will be packing a Blu-ray drive. If it does have a Blu-ray drive, the Next Xbox will finally be able to compete with the PlayStation 3 in terms of content stored on a disc. The days of needing multiple DVDs and heavily compressed textures could be gone with the Next Xbox having a Blu-ray drive, but we will have to wait and see. What's more is the Next Xbox may include technology to block used games from playing on the console, although how exactly Microsoft would be able to do that was no discussed.
Lastly, the Next Xbox will ship with an updated version of Kinect, one that will allow for full-body gestures. The new Kinect will include an onboard processor for greater motion recognition, which would mean an expansion of the types of gestures supported. Microsoft is also looking at creating a smaller controller for the Next Xbox, which means gesture control will not be used for everything on the new console. Exactly how much smaller the new controller will be was not disclosed, but personally I hope Microsoft does away with an external battery for the wireless controllers to help cut down on the bulk.
Microsoft has not commented on any of these rumors, so take everything you have read here with a grain of salt until official confirmation. The Next Xbox could ship towards the end of 2013, depending if Microsoft reveals it at E3 2012.