Tim Cook, chief executive officer of Apple, said on Friday that sales of Apple TV set-top-box in 2013 were worth more than a billion. While the number is small for Apple, it means that its TV initiatives are slowly but surely taking off and the STB is clearly no longer a pet project as Apple used to call it a number of years ago.
“It is a little more difficult to call it a hobby these days,” said Tim Cook during a meeting with shareholders at the company's headquarters in Cupertino, California, reports Reuters news-agency.
Apple TV costs $99 in the U.S. and £99/€99 in the U.K. and mainland Europe. Over $1 billion of Apple TV sales indicates that the company sold around a million of units last year, not a lot compared to shipments of iPhones and iPads, but still a respectable number.
It is rumoured that Apple plans to announce a new version of Apple TV sometimes in April. The new set-top-box is expected to have a new application processor with higher performance, an upgraded graphics user interface as well as some new features. Apple is reportedly negotiating over new agreements with programming and distribution partners.
Among the companies Apple is talking to is Time Warner Cable. Previously Apple did not ink deals with cable or satellite companies. The agreement could let users of Apple TV to watch more premium live channels. At present, owners of Apple TV can access a limited number of individual channel apps, including Disney, ABC, ESPN, HBO, PBS and Bloomberg TV, a not really convenient way to watch TV.
Apple is getting ready to launch its own TV-sets, which were first confirmed in Walter Isaacson’s biography of Steve Jobs. The new generation Apple TV set-top-box is expected to be a test of Apple’s TV capabilities.
KitGuru Says: It will be interesting to know how the interest towards Apple TV reflects interest towards Apple’s own TV-set. Perhaps, only a fraction of those who want an Apple TV today buy the STB. Or maybe sales of the Apple TV today are higher than sales of advanced TV-sets tomorrow.