While Sony readies their next generation console, Orbis, it appears that they are also preparing to launch a 3rd generation of their current console, the PlayStation 3. Much like the second generation, currently available, the new model will be significantly thinner than its predecessor.
It is a little surprising that Sony would put forth the energy and resources to redesign their current generation of console when a whole new device is right around the corner. There are a couple of possibilities as to why they would be doing this. As with the launch of the PS3, the PS2 was retained as an active SKU for at least 2 years. With that precedent being set, it is possible that this redesign is to keep the existing console fresh during its final 2-3 years of life on the market. If the Orbis is going to be a slim console, not the behemoth that we have come to know the PS3 to be, then it would make sense that the PS3 would have to have a sleeker look to stand on shelves next to it.
Hit the break to find out my opinion on what else might be the circumstances behind the new console and to see what it looks like compared to its predecessors.
Alternately, it's possible that this redesign, known as the CECH-4000, could be Orbis. It would partially explain why there was no major announcement at Sony's E3 presentation, since the device is not actually a new console, but instead just a redesign of the existing stock. It would also explain Sony's announcement that Orbis would not be a download only device. It didn't work out well for Sony to go download only on the mobile front, so it would be odd for them to make that massive change on existing hardware again.
Either way, the new, sleek design (photos sourced from the FCC) is pretty nice. The current model was a nice upgrade to the first body, and this is an equally impressive upgrade to the design. Do you like the look? Is it enough to convince you to finally get a PS3? Let us know in the comments.