Sources close to Microsoft's R&D Department, has shed some light of the Xbox 360's successor, stating that Microsoft might just penetrate the entertainment market with two separate products. If the rumors are true Microsoft will be launching an STB (set top box) bundled with a motion sensor (predecessor of the Kinect) as a home entertainment hub to take on the STB's currently in the market. This STB will be used as motion operated smart media center with the ability to process digital and HD channels via internet connection with the interactive features just like the TiVo or Apple TV. The STB will not be a gaming console, but more of a media center connecting all Windows operated devices to the TV whilst having smart interactive features and apps controlled by a Kinect-like sensor. This unit is rumored to retail late in 2012 at about $200, and might be revealed in the next CES conferences.
The other unit rumored to hit the shelves by this time next year or early 2013, will be the direct successor of the Xbox 360, which is currently in the possession of the leading gaming developers as dev kits for testing. This will also have the successor of the current Kinect sensor in the equation, but will be mainly focused on the conventional analog controllers. This console will be the direct competitor of the PS4, with high end hardware such as the IBM Power7 CPU, the DX11 AMD GPU, and have the latest in optical drive technology.
These rumors are not confirmed, but will probably be by the next CES or E3 conferences.