Why is Apple TV no longer a 'hobby'? 20 million reasons!

Why is Apple TV no longer a 'hobby'? 20 million reasons!

During the Q2 2014 conference call today, Apple's CEO, Tim Cook, was asked about the Apple TV and why it was no longer being saddled with the "hobby" label from Apple.

Cook responded by re-iterating a point made back at Apple's annual general shareholder meeting, that the Apple TV + digital content purchased on the Apple TV last year added up to a billion dollar business, which is by no means a hobby, even for Apple. Cook also revealed that 20 million Apple TVs have been sold to date.

That might not be iPhone or even iPad sized business, but very, very few things are. The point is, it's becoming good business. With more and more channel partners coming online, and with rumors of an updated Apple TV 4 in the works, including a new processor, more solid state storage and RAM, and perhaps even an App or Game Store in the works, shedding the "hobby" label and recognizing it as a burgeoning business makes the kind of sense that does.

Especially as competitors like the Amazon Fire TV make the entire digital television market more interesting.

Do Cook's comments make you see the Apple TV, and its potential in 2014, any differently?

Have something to say about this story? Leave a comment! Need help with something else? Ask in our forums!

Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

Why is Apple TV no longer a 'hobby'? 20 million reasons!


His comments don't really change my perspective on it. I have seen its value since I first heard about it and I can see it only becoming bigger with the ATV4 especially if it gets the ability to download apps. I just hope they don't raise the price of the next gen ATV!

The only part that defines a good business that Cook nor Apple talks about is profit. I'm guessing a large portion of that revenue went to the content providers. That said, one can see why everyone is getting in this market (just waiting for Microsoft to enter it again)

p.s. can't wait for the new Apple tv.

Xbox is Microsoft's play for the living room. They've got around 80M Xbox 360s and 5M Xbox Ones in living rooms around the globe. You don't have to wait for them to enter the market. You just have to decide if the feature set justifies the price point.

Honestly I know no one that has one even though I know quite a few with ipads and iphones. Then again I don't know anyone with a Chromecast or roku tv. I would love to know how many it sold in each country it's available in. I suspect most of its sales is in the US.

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Jobs only called it a hobby to deflect analyst attention, as he understood the need to avoid "Apple has the living room in its crosshairs" stories, and the corresponding torpedoing of Apple's share price and perhaps mindshare when that predicted takeover failed to materialize. AppleTV has always been a business, and a robust one - the hobby label was useful to avoid a media/stock frenzy while the product and its segment were ill-understood.

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Ya, I do. And I have not had any reason to get a Apple TV- untill recently- These articles are REALY convincing me on getting one!!!!!!

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I AirPlay from my iPhone and iPad content from the iHeartRadio app... via the AppleTV to my home theater sound system... it's quite useful.

I have to admit, when I first bought my Apple TV I looked at it as more of a toy/novelty. It was more of less, the next Apple product I wanted to purchase because it was one of the few I didn't already have. However, since the day I purchased it I have completely shifted my thinking. It has become one of the central pieces of my in home entertainment set up. To be honest, I use it more than my cable package. Between Hulu, Netflix, NHL Network, and HBO Go I am using it almost all the time. The Air Play from my iPad, iPhone, or iMac is an added bonus.

I wish they would add a few more channels - USA Network, TNT, TBS, etc. I am, however, amazed at the rapid pace at which channels have been added since I bought mine in December. I have zero complaints about it. $85 well spent. If you're on the fence about picking one up I would absolutely recommend getting one.

no. it's always had enormous potential. I think several years ago they should have stopped treating it like a hobby. Personally, i've always been surprised Apple didn't long ago make like the box to end all boxes that essentially does everything. I'd add as much functionality long ago. and anything Roku did i'd have already done or would have added. Roku plays like 2 video format's i'd have mine play 10. I'd even considered making cable boxes to sell to cable companies. In fact when google bought motorola then sold it i was stunned they never made a google interfaced cable box to put google tv into. Basically the same thing that amazon fire sort of is. a box run on android but with a cable tuner, hard drive for dvr. They never tried. Motorola already sells cable boxes to Comcast and Time Warner.

I've had the ATV 2 since it came out. It has great value in my home I just wish there was a way to get to some of the channels and not require certain cable providers. I have a great cable provider that ran fiber to my house for Phone, Internet and TV but they are smaller and I can't get to some of the content channels that I would like too.

I am awaiting the ATV 4 to upgrade to on our many TV and move the 2 to a bedroom.