Some hobby: Apple TV outsold Xbox 360 last quarter

“Apple sold 1.3 million Apple TV devices during the June quarter, an increase of 170 percent over the same quarter a year ago,” Todd Bishop reports for GeekWire.

“That still qualifies as a ‘hobby,’ according to Apple CEO Tim Cook, who disclosed the number in response to an analyst’s question on the company’s earnings conference call,” Bishop reports. “But here’s an interesting data point: Microsoft sold 1.1 million Xbox 360s worldwide during the same time period.”

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Bishop reports, “Of course, they are different products, targeting different segments of the market. But not entirely. Apple TV and Xbox 360 have more and more in common as Microsoft adds features to its game console to make it more of a general purpose entertainment machine, tapping into a wide variety of online video sources.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Some “hobby” that is.

We sold 1.3 million last quarter this was up over a 170% year-over-year, and it brings our fiscal year to 4 million units, which is pretty incredible. It’s still at a level that we would call it a hobby. But we continue to pull the string to see where takes us and we’re not one to keep around projects that we don’t believe in. And so, there’s a lot of people here that are believers in Apple TV and we continue to invest in it and see where it will take us… I think this 4 million is not a small number, it’s small relative to iPads and iPhones perhaps, but it’s not a small number and there is a lot of believers in it. – Apple CEO Tim Cook, Q312 Conference Call, July 24, 2012

Related article:
Strategy Analytics: With 32% share, Apple leading ‘Connected TV’ market with ‘hobby’ Apple TV – December 12, 2011


  1. I don’t suppose looking at the whole picture would make sense here since it won’t be looked at objectively. It’s still worth mentioning though that anticipation for what Microsoft would show at E3 was high, especially word on a successor to the Xbox360. Nothing new was revealed (rumors point to next year), but it’s part of why those numbers were lower. I’m sure this won’t make a dent in anyone’s vitriol, though.

  2. It will be a “hobby” until Apple introduces the “complete” Apple TV, or “iTV” (as it’s called in rumors).

    iTV will do what Apple TV does now, plus it will have the “must have” feature (not part of existing or future mini-box Apple TV) that will make it a success on the scale of iPod, iPhone, and iPad.

    Apple will not release iTV until that “killer” feature is ready. If iTV is just the current Apple TV with a built-in HD display (no matter how stylish), that’s just a more expensive “hobby.” And Apple will NOT do it.

    Apple usually does not enter a new market unless there is a potentially industry-transforming strategy ready to go. The original Apple TV product was an exception to that rule, which is why Steve Jobs was VERY careful to refer to it as a “hobby.” What other CEO would intentionally say we’re not taking a new product very seriously (yet)? He obviously wanted to save the “big day” for Apple’s complete “TV” product.

    1. You’re saying that Apple should refrain from releasing a smaller iPad, an area in which its expertise is acknowledged, and instead burn millions in introducing an untried and untested product that has demonstrably shown not to be profitable in that existing TV manufacturers are bleeding red ink and that somehow Apple can transform this to profits by selling a higher priced TV that touts Siri and a fancy remote control as its justification.

      Is this delusional thinking?

      1. What are you talking about…? 🙂

        The original iPod was NOT a product in “an area in which [Apple’s] expertise is acknowledged.” Same with the iPhone. And the iPad. The common theme is that Apple (in each case) had a strategy in place (and ready to go) that would transform the new markets it entered. If that equivalent strategy is not ready for Apple’s TV product, Apple will not proceed until it IS ready. And if it’s never ready, then “Apple TV” will continue to be just a “hobby.”

        SO, you’re saying Apple should NEVER release a product into a new market because it’s not “an area in which its expertise is acknowledged”? Wow… THAT is “delusional thinking”!

  3. What I love about this is that when defending Microsoft, the victims will often point to the Xbox as one of Microsoft’s only successes over the past 12 years.

    So now I can reply, oh ya, I guess that’s what you call a success at Microsoft, for Apple, it would be less than what they call a hobby.

      1. msft didn’t make money off the xbox for years.

        they even had a billion dollar warranty wrtite off for faulty xboxes that burnt.

        console 2007:
        “In its latest fiscal year report, Microsoft’s Entertainment and Devices Division, which the Xbox 360 comes under, recorded a $1.89 billion loss a decrease of 47%. The majority of this loss is down to the recent announcement that Microsoft is investing a little over $1 billion to extend the warranty of the Xbox 360 to three years.”

        not to mention the millions they paid for buying games companies to provide games.

        1. What MS bought by selling the Xbox at a loss, or at break even, was:
          1) Prestige in the gaming market.
          2) An avenue for gaming software sales.

          The early line of the Xbox was crap hardware with the infamous ‘Red Ring Of Death’ being extremely common. Thus the more extreme early losses. The Xbox 360 was better made and is often preferred as hardware over the Sony Playstation. Sony’s recent descent into Marketing-As-Management hell is also to blame.

          1. Unless I am mistaken, the original Xbox did not have a Red Ring of Death since it had no “ring”. I seem to remember other problems with it (we had DVD issues with ours). The ring of lights was introduced with the XBox 360. Also, if I remember correctly (someone else can look up the numbers) the original XBox lost money. The XBox 360 lost big money ($1.89 billion quoted above) with all the RROD replacements and warranty extensions. The new, redesigned XBox 360 may be the first version that is earning some money, but overall the XBox project is probably still in the red for Microsoft, although the continuous income stream from XBox Live is a positive for Microsoft.

            1. Apologies! I get lazy verifying my Microsoft history when I’m tired. Your history of the Red Ring of Death is accurate. Thank you! My brain apparently ignored that the first gen Xbox even existed. Geezerly!

              I’d be interested in whether MS every had a positive quarter selling Xbox hardware. I am not aware of any.

  4. Comparing appleTV sales to a 7 year old console that is practically end of life with a refresh expected next year, but god forbid someone tries to compare Samsung sales this quarter with the iPhone because there is a refresh soon so people are holding off, you isheep are so delusional it’s not even amusing anymore.

    1. why do you come to this site? There is nothing for you here. Is your life that sad and pathetic that the only thing that gets you off is going and trolling sites that have opinions that conflict with yours? You have my pity.

  5. I love my Apple TV.

    I got one for ‘free’ last November as a promo for buying a new iMac and I absolutely love it. Since I’m living outside the U.S., I get to download / rent all sorts of content that I wouldn’t usually get to see, all without having to endure those insipid commercials.

    If you don’t have one yet, get an Apple TV. They’re wonderful.

  6. Still on Gen2 in the bedroom, Mac mini in livingroom. Both running XBMC.

    Isn’t that hilarious!

    I am running Xbox Media Console in my AppleTV.

    Still can’t get Gen3(black) here in Singapore.

    Can I still say I am running AppleTV?


  7. “But here’s an interesting data point: Microsoft sold 1.1 million Xbox 360s worldwide during the same time period.”

    Apple also made a profit from their Apple TVs. Microsoft has never made any profit from the Xbox, apart from related software sales. It’s called ‘Buying Market Share’.

    1. Actually the hardware became profitable in 2008 or early 2009 once the component prices came down enough. They also cut costs with the redesigned slim 360.

      Now I doubt overall they’ve made enough to fill in the huge hole from xbox 1, 360 and 360 RROD era combined. They must have dumped 4-6 billion of hard cash into learning the hard way about how to make a successful console.

      I’m glad they blew the cash as the 360 is a great console. Then again I’m not a MS shareholder so I could care less how bad it hurt to get there hehe

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