Apple CEO Tim Cook spoke on camera with NBC's Brian Williams on Rock Center this evening and talked about a variety of topics, including his first year as Apple CEO, Steve Jobs, Chinese manufacturing, and yes, even Apple's potential interest in the television market. While much of what Cook revealed had already been covered in his interview with Bloomberg Businessweek that was released earlier today, he did appear to be earnest about Apple possibly entering the TV market. When pressed about the endless rumors of an Apple television set by Williams, Cook said "it's a market that we have intense interest in, it's a market that we see that has been left behind," before getting nostalgic with Williams about watching The Jetsons as a child.
"It's a market that we have intense interest in, it's a market that we see that has been left behind."
Apple has long been rumored to be planning a television product that would go head to head with the Sonys, Samsungs, LGs, and Panasonics that currently dominate the living room. The company's only effort thus far, the Apple TV set top box, hasn't had the same success or ubiquity as the company's computers or mobile devices. In fact, Apple even referred to the product as a mere "hobby" that didn't receive the same amount of attention as its other products. A full television set — one with a better user interface and a built-in content delivery system — could shake up the industry and give the entrenched players a run for their money.
Obviously, it's not exactly clear when — or even if — Apple may fully enter the television market, and it's not clear exactly what a possible Apple television set will be like or include. But if Apple does decide to enter the market, it's safe to say that it will likely include network connectivity and access to the company's iTunes service for television and movie content as well as a better user interface than what is currently available on most TVs.
Cook also talked about the company's struggles with Apple Maps, and reiterated his statement that the company "screwed up and we're putting the weight of the company behind fixing it." He went on to elaborate about the company's intent focus on secrecy "because people love surprises." He also touched on the legal struggles that Apple has had with Samsung, noting that while Apple loves competition, it wants companies to design their own devices, and it will continue to defend its designs and products as it sees necessary.
All in all, Tim Cook's first televised interview since taking tenure as Apple's CEO last year didn't produce a whole lot of new news, and was more of a retread of what the company has been saying already all year. Tim Cook has been a notoriously quiet CEO since taking charge of Apple, and it doesn't look like that will be changing any time soon.
Update: After Cook's interview was broadcast, Brian Williams turned his attention to our editor-in-chief Joshua Topolsky for a half-hour discussion on the Apple CEO, the future of the company, and the tech industry in general. You can watch it right below.