The next Xbox will be with us by the end of 2013, will come with an upgraded version of the Kinect sensor as standard, and packs two graphics chips and a Blu-ray drive, according to the most recent report.
The report comes by way of VG247, a site that obtained first photos of the PlayStation Vita while it was still in development and leaked Grand Theft Auto V's Hollywood backdrop ahead of time.
A more powerful central processor, said to be between 4 and 6 cores strong, would mean that development studios can leverage Kinect's voice and motion control features without having to make sacrifices elsewhere.
The machine is to make greater use of internet connectivity, not least as an anti-piracy measure, but won't entirely switch over to App Store-style digital distribution, instead electing to include a Blu-ray drive just as the PlayStation 3 did.
It's possible that the two graphics chips are intended for development kits only. However, a bespoke setup is in line with the Xbox 360's inner workings, and Microsoft would have over a year and a half to reduce production costs -- AMD's equivalent Raedon HD 7990 graphics card will cost an eye-watering $849 when it launches on April 17.
Either way, the implication is that Microsoft is keen to court studios like Epic Games (Unreal Engine), EA DICE (Frostbite 2.0), and Crytek (CryEngine 3), whose game engines are designed for cutting edge PCs rather than 6-year old consoles.
The first Xbox cost $299 when it launched in 2001, and the 2005 Xbox 360 was initially available in two configurations at $299 and $399.