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Apple TV: Tim Cook Says Area of “Intense Interest”, Rumors of Television OS to be Introduced at WWDC

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Yesterday, at an interview with Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher at the All Things D conference, Apple CEO Tim Cook was asked about the Apple TV and if the company had any interest in making a television set.

Cook, in an effort to dodge the question, reiterated the (moderate in comparison to the rest of the company) success of the Apple TV, and high customer satisfaction of the product. In fact, Apple has shipped 2.7 million Apple TVs in the first half of 2012, compared to 2.8 million in the entirety of 2011. Cook noted that television was still an area of “intense interest” for Apple:

This is an area of intense interest for us. Many of us, the TV that we do watch, is almost exclusively on [the Apple TV]. That’s what my TV watching is. All of my movies, everything is coming through Apple TV.

So, the customer satisfaction with that product is incredible. We’re going to keep pulling this string and see where it takes us. Many people would say “this is an area in their life that they aren’t pleased with.” They might not be pleased with many things about it. The whole TV experience. It’s an interesting area. We’ll have to see what we do. Right now our contribution is Apple TV.

Later on in the interview, Cook was hit with a direct question from Mossberg: “Are you making a television?” In response, Cook noted that they, as a company, ask themselves if they control the key technology of a product, and if they can contribute past what others have already done.

In other Apple TV news, BGR is claiming that they have information from a trusted source who claims that Apple will demonstrate a new operating system for their forthcoming television set at this year’s Worldwide Developers Conference. This is to give developers advanced warning, and allow them to develop apps for it ahead of its actual launch. They believe the television set will be introduced later in the year.

I have no doubt that Apple is indeed looking into the television market. It’s more of a matter of whether they will actually enter the market. As for the BGR report, at first blush I thought this was a ridiculous claim. Then it dawned on me that Apple really isn’t in this market, and would have nothing to lose by showing off a television operating system. In fact, it could suck customers thinking about buying a television set in the near future away from the competition and towards Apple’s hypothetical product. After all, Apple introduced the (then called iTV) Apple TV ahead of it’s launch.

Then on the other hand, Apple did not open up iPhone development ahead of its release. In fact, it was a full year later before the App Store landed on the iPhone. This could have been due to a lack of readiness on Apple’s part, or it may have been them buying time, who knows.

All in all, my gut says there will be no such unveiling at WWDC this year. Apple will introduce the whole thing as a complete product when they’re good and ready. That is, if they ever decide to bring a television to market at all.

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  • JR

    Translated: the minute we get a satellite or cable provider to play ball, or offer our own service in full, the Apple TV set will be launched.