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TV of “intense interest” to Apple

Tim Cook, CEO of Apple

Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, being interviewed at All Things Digital

Yesterday’s much-anticipated interview with Apple CEO Tim Cook at the All Things Digital conference in California contained no slips-ups or surprises, but confirmed that TV remains an area of ripe interest for the company.

While the late Steve Jobs, founder of Apple, famously described the company’s existing Apple TV device (a set-top box which streams content from the iTunes store) as a “hobby”, Tim Cook was quick to put that idea to bed.

“We’re not a hobby kind of company, as you know. Our tendency is to do very few things, put all of our wood behind a few arrows, and if something creeps in and isn’t a big success we get it out of the way and move on.”

He revealed that sales of the Apple TV device are on the up – 2.8mn units were sold in 2011, and 2.7mn were sold in the first six months of this year – with growth helped by the move to 1080p content and cloud delivery (and presumably the recent price drop).

“This is an area of intense interest for us. [For] many of us, the TV that we do watch is almost exclusively on it. That’s what my TV watching is. All of my movies, everything, is coming through Apple TV,” he stated.

“So the customer satisfaction with that product is incredible. It’s off the charts. So we’re going to keep pulling this string and see where it takes us. I think many people would say, this is an area in their life that they’re not really pleased with.”

The Apple boss added that, rather than being interested in a device-led approach, he wants to look at improving the “whole TV experience”, and control what he described cryptically as the “key technology”.

Nonetheless, with each endorsement by Mr. Cook of TV as being an area of interest for him, the likelihood builds that a new device will be introduced, with most industry watchers expecting a flat-screen television.

Forrester Research analyst James McQuivey recently imagined this device as taking the form of an ‘iHub’ which is tightly integrated with the company’s software products to provide shared calendars, photo and video viewers, and FaceTime for video calls – more details here.

Meanwhile, elsewhere on planet Apple, speculation is mounting that a new user interface may be unveiled for the existing Apple TV device at the upcoming WWDC developer conference which kicks off in San Francisco on June 11th.

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