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Apple TV: 20 million sold says it’s a billion dollar business, not a hobby

Apple TV, once described as a ‘hobby’ product by Steve Jobs, is now a billion dollar business according to chief executive Tim Cook. 

Cook revealed in a conference call following the release of Apple’s latest results that over 20 million Apple TVs had been sold. 

Sales of iTunes content – which can be accessed through Apple TV – generated over $1.2 billion (£71.2 million) for Apple over the last financial year, prompting Cook to finally dismiss the ‘hobby’ tag. 

An expensive hobby: Apple TV is now a serious little earner

IT industry news site The Register reports Cook saying: “When you look at the sales of the Apple TV box itself, and you look at the content that was bought directly off of Apple TV for 2013, that number was over a billion dollars. And so it didn’t feel right to me to refer to something that’s over a billion as a ‘hobby’.”

Cook also reveals that Apple will invest in upgrading and developing Apple TV. When the product first launched in 2007, there wasn’t much else in the way of small TV streaming devices – possibly with the exception of the decidedly family un-friendly FyreTV BoXXX

Since then, we’ve seen competition arrive in the form of Roku, with its expanding army of streaming boxes and sticks – including the very cheap Now TV BoxGoogle might have floundered with Google TV and the Nexus Q, but it’s struck gold with Chromecast. More recently, we’ve seen Amazon emerge on the scene with the Fire TV box, boasting impressive specifications. 

Apple’s five day WWDC (Worldwide Developer Conference) event is traditionally when Apple unveils new hardware to the world. WWDC 2014 kicks off on June 2 – we could see the 4th generation of Apple TV unveiled then alongside a new iPhone – or we could not. Apple likes to keep things close to its chest and despite what rumours might emerge beforehand, we won’t know for sure until Tim Cook takes to the stage this Summer. 

Thumbnail image: Stan Dalone & Milan Rijavec/Flickr

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