Tim Cook and Apple TV: A ‘hobby’ no longer

“Apple CEO Tim Cook took to the Wall Street Journal‘s All Things Digital 2013 conference stage last Spring answering a host of questions from Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher, while fielding additional questions from the audience,” Mark Reschke writes for T-GAAP. “Staying true to form, Cook delivered vague answers, falling back to the idea that people like surprises, but there is one product Cook and crew appear to be taking much more seriously. Apple TV.”

“It is now fall, 2013, and Apple has likely sold over 15 million Apple TV [units] since its inception, while roughly half of those units were sold in the last year alone,” Reschke writes. “Notably, Tim Cook never mentioned at the All Things Digital conference, nor has mentioned, Apple TV as a hobby since 2012”

“In fact, over the past five public appearances by Cook, he has avoided calling Apple TV a hobby, or a product that Apple is very interested in and will simply continue to pull the string and see where it leads,” Reschke writes. “That previous talk track is now gone, replaced with a message that Apple is selling up to 2 million Apple TV’s per quarter, and that TV is an area of incredible interest.”

Read more in the full article here.

45 Comments

  1. I think the real story here is how visionary Apple was in recognizing that a product was there, but technology was moving so quickly they couldn’t nail down a specific video product. In other words, Apple didn’t pursue a TV or DVR, but instead we’re patient enough to see how AppleTV would play out longer-term.

    When the product and opportunity are right, they’ll launch something. Until then, it is what it is – and it works.

  2. If the movie moguls agreed to Steve jobs the same parameter the music moguls did with Steve jobs iTunes then the Apple TV would have been even more success. Saying that I got the 1080p hooked up to my HDTV and it is a joy to use

  3. The HBO Go and ESPN apps are nice, but would be better if you could subscribe WITHOUT paying extortion money to the Cable/Satellite cartel. I would love to drop my Comcast TV service and keep just the internet, using the Apple TV or something similar to watch the handful of things worth the money. Most of the money collected by the bundled channels are for shit few care about that could not make it on their own merit.

    1. Only regulation would protect consumers from corporate chicanery such as the cable companies’ extortions, but a vocal fraction of libertarians demand that government be “drowned in a bathtub” so that corporate power can be further entrenched. The irony is sickening. Government by the people for the people, my ass.

            1. Yeah, I guess you’re right: when people say “a fraction”, they are usually referring to at LEAST 9/10s…probably more like 99/100s, or 999/1000s. And I always thought “vocal” in this usage meant the noisy minority, rather than the silent majority, but you must know what you’re talking about, being such an ADJECTIVE NOUN; it’s “demagoguery”…who’d a thunkit?

        1. Libertarianism is the support of freedom with no restraint. But without fair rules enforced by an impartial government, all markets decline into monopolies whereby the individual has no access.

          Would you pay to see an NFL football game that was unofficiated? It would decline rapidly into a melee wherein the dirtiest team would “win”. And so it is with under-regulated markets. Bundled packages and predatory pricing is accepted market manipulation because lobbyists for the monopolies have successfully prevented fair competition — which includes the Apple TV. The Cable cabal couldn’t allow Apple TV to offer live sports, it would undermine their pricing power.

          YOU’RE SO _____ THAT I CAN’T EVEN TYPE IT ON A PUBLIC FORUM. See how much petty juvenile insults add to a discussion? If you can’t respond with facts, save your retort for the playground.

            1. how is that relevant? the vast majority of what you buy are luxuries, should that mean that all non-essential purchases should be sold in unregulated predatory markets? Despite the dearth of quality content, TV does still have the potential to enrich peoples’ lives with education and culture. Moreover, some people cannot receive OTA broadcasting. So you think it’s perfectly okay for the cable cabal to slowly but surely price people out of the market, bot? We all knew you were a self-centered geezer, but please stop sinking to new lows.

            2. Yes, it is International Stupid Week.

              “But without fair rules enforced by an impartial government”

              What planet is Mike living on? It’s government regulation that limits competition and protect big business so they can turn into a monopoly. Since when has a government been impartial.

              Good Grief. Dont you people know there is NO FREE MARKET ANYWHERE? Why do you blame something that does not exist?

              Welcome to International Stupid Week.

            3. @ hoff & bot:

              I never wrote that the current representatives are doing their jobs. Obviously the citizenry have allowed their employees to be purchased by the highest bidders — the corporate executives who have crowned themselves with ill-gotten riches and answer to no one but their buddies on the incestuous boards.

              Reform of government to get corporate money out of the democratic (small d) process is long overdue. But you idiots here think that anarchy is a better answer. Or they like the status quo, which is a corporatocracy. Either way, the individual suffers MORE than if he would band with his fellow citizens to ensure a fair playing field, with officials entrusted to maintain it.

              Please name ONE prosperous country that doesn’t have regulations.

              Please also explain how you would be harmed if cable & satellite companies were by law required to offer an a-la-carte channel option so that consumers were not forced to subsidize garbage programming … which is practically more expensive to the average consumer’s monthly budget as healthcare, at least up until terminal illness when our current healthcare system pulls out all the stops to prolong one’s suffering at exponential expense.

    2. “The HBO Go and ESPN apps are nice, but would be better if you could subscribe WITHOUT paying extortion money to the Cable/Satellite cartel.”

      Amen to that, brother. I cut the cord this summer, but am sweating football season. Some games on apple tv espn, but none of the marquee ones.

      1. Amen & Hallelujah!
        I just added an HDTV antenna to grab local networks’ HD signals (no charge) and it works very well. Broadcast HDTV plus Apple TV misses only a very few live sports events on cable-only channels I want to watch, and somehow my life goes on…

  4. It may not be referred to as a “hobby,” but Apple has never given it the spotlight, like iPhone and iPad. Not yet… 🙂 And when it gets that spotlight, THAT is when it’s no longer a “hobby.”

    I think that day arrives when Apple announces it is partnering with cable TV providers to make an Apple TV box into the future of cable content interface, replacing the current archaic cable box (that has a bad copy of the 1990’s TiVo interface).

      1. That may be the end-game for Apple, to acquire rights to distribute content directly from the content creators. However, Apple TV remains a “hobby” forever, if Apple does not get to that end-game scenario by initially working WITH the current “controllers” of TV content (those “dinosaurs”), the cable TV providers.

        This strategy mirrors in many ways how iPhone became so powerful. When iPhone was introduced, it was really just another smartphone, but with a REALLY good interface. Apple did not try to compete with the wireless carriers by creating a new wireless service. And the App Store was still one year from opening. Apple worked WITH the existing wireless carriers, usually one per market, and provided the best possible user interface for their existing wireless services.

        Over time, Apple steadily enhanced its own services to better differentiate iPhone from the competition, such as the App Store, Siri, iCloud, iTunes Radio, etc. Whereas the carriers previously had all the power in these partnership (and still do with other handset makers), Apple took much of it away; today, Apple mostly dictates the terms and the carriers comply.

        And that’s how Apple needs to pursue the TV market. It makes no sense (and would be nearly impossible) to compete head-to-head with the cable providers. First, work with them by providing the best possible user interface for their existing cable content delivery service. Most cable customers want have EVERYTHING they have already, but with a great new user experience in accessing that content.

        Apple can continue to provide its own services for Apple TV (that do not present a conflict of interest). Over time, use the leverage of having so many MORE Apple TV boxes out there, to negotiate better deals and enhance the Apple-provided services.

        Working with cable TV providers also allows Apple to release the long-rumored complete “iTV.” The cable TV providers can subsidize the Apple TV “set-top box” so that it is “free with service contract.” AND, the customer can have the option to buy a complete Apple iTV at a partially subsidized price, like the latest iPhone is sold at a partially subsidized price. In this way, a far-superior Apple iTV can match or even undercut the price of similar-sized “dumb” HDTVs. The cable provider can collect the subsidy back monthly, by replacing the current “rental fee” for the cable box.

        Apple can continue to sell the “a la carte” version of Apple TV box (and maybe an unsubsidized iTV too) to customers who want to “cut the cable.” Over time, more and more cable customers may choose to cancel their cable service, because Apple has steadily enhanced their direct services.

  5. Please Tim ….if its not a hobby please fix the remote app. There shoulld be tabs that quickly let you go from one apple tv to the next. The menus need refinement as well.

    1. Your English is bad. That can only mean one thing: You are a Korean Samsung shill. You can spread your Apple FUD in your native language now: I can speak Korean. Don’t be afraid…just don’t eat my pet dog Sparky now…

      1. “Your English is bad. That can only mean one thing: You are a Korean Samsung shill. You can spread your Apple FUD in your native language now: I can speak Korean. Don’t be afraid…just don’t eat my pet dog Sparky now…”

        Are you for real? “me love you long time” is a common phrase in the u.s. cultural lexicon. taken from movie ‘full metal jacket’.

  6. He didn’t spend time with John Malone for nothing. Will Apple do something with Liberty and Amazon? Apple TV shopping? Buy with your TouchID on your iPhone or iPad? ISight in Apple TV for personalized shopping and for better FaceTime calls? Apple TV is in its early stages of development.

  7. Hopefully, Apple TV becomes a major powerhouse. Think about it: If you want to see a certain show, it may be Apple TV exclusive. Guess the Hee Haw demographic is stuck with Hee Haw and Hannah Montana. The blue collar people must be jealous of us white collars 😉

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