Although the two devices from the new tech rivals serve very different purposes, on the chip level, they have a lot in common.
GoogleTV is manufactured by Logitech and Sony and contains a System on Chip (SoC) designed by Intel. The iPad’s SoC is an ARM design made by Apple (though manufacturing is outsourced to Samsung). However, both of these SoCs use a PowerVR graphics processor from a small UK-based company called Imagination.
Graphics Processor Units or GPUs are what powers the video displays and turns those ones and zeros into the video you see on the screen.
Not surprisingly, Apple (9.5%) and Intel (16.02%) both own significant stakes in Imagination.
Below you can see the SoC architecture of the CE4100 from Intel, the one they advertise as being the heart of the GoogleTV. Notice the graphics processor is a SGX535 (red).
Apple has confirmed that the iPad uses an SGX device in its developer documentation and teardowns have indicated that the processor design is indeed the SGX535.
So, although these two devices are made by competing companies for significantly different use cases, they share a significant building block.
It also means that if Apple wants to compete with GoogleTV/Intel/Sony/Logitech on its AppleTV, it can certainly use its new A4 SoC architecture to do so.
Similarly, if Intel wants to create portable Android video devices on this platform, it can certainly be done.