Steve Jobs famously called the Apple TV a "hobby," but his successor Tim Cook seems to be slowly turning that ship around. At the D10 conference this evening, he said that the Apple TV is "an area of intense interest for us." While Cook wouldn't answer a direct question about whether the company is building a full television set, he seemed to hint strongly that Apple's interest is an active one:
I think most people, maybe not all, but many people would say this is an area in their life they’re not really pleased with. You know, they might not be pleased with many things about it. The whole TV experience. So, it’s an interesting area, so we’ll have to see what we do.
According to Cook, the Apple TV set-top box has actually seen dramatically increased interest this year, selling 2.7 million in just the first few months of the year, compared to 3 million sales for the entire last year. Apple's CEO was clear that the existing Apple TV isn't a compelling business yet, though. "It's not a fifth leg of the stool."
Cook also dodged questions about whether Apple would create a further-reaching digital content service than iTunes and actively fund original programming, the way YouTube does now. "I don't think Apple has to own a content business," said Cook, "We haven't had an issue in getting content."