Asa Mathat


Apple has yet to introduce its “real” version of Apple TV, whatever that actually is.

But the $99 box it is selling is doing pretty well: Tim Cook just told Apple shareholders that the company generated more than $1 billion in Apple TV sales in 2013 — which implies sales of more than 10 million units. (See update, below)

“It’s a little more difficult to call it a hobby these days,” Apple’s CEO deadpanned at the annual shareholders meeting (via Reuters).

That’s the freshest data point Apple has offered about its Apple TV box, which makes it easier to get iTunes content, as well as video services like Netflix, onto your TV. Prior to this, the last time Cook talked about Apple TV numbers was at last spring’s D conference, when he said the company had sold more than 13 million boxes to date. Roku, Apple’s closest competitor in the Web TV box race, says it has sold 8 million.

I don’t know if Cook’s $1 billion comment includes sales of TV shows and movies purchased directly through the box. I also don’t know whether “2013” means the calendar year, or Apple’s fiscal year, which wrapped up at the end of last September. I’ve asked Apple for clarification. (Update: Apple says the $1 billion-plus figure includes content sales, and that Cook was talking about Apple’s fiscal year.)

In any case, the sales figures indicate that lots of people seem to get utility from the basic Apple TV box, even if it’s not the full-blown TV set, and/or service, that lots of Apple fans/investors want to see.

Here, by the way, is Apple TV’s current content lineup, via Apple’s online store:

Susan Salomon
Susan Salomon

When you list all these logos in the content lineup, it prompts my question: don't you have to individually pay for all of these services no matter if you're accessing them through your Apple TV or your game console or your personal computer or tablet or smartphone?

Furthermore, for several of them, such as HBO GO and Watch ESPN, you must have a cable TV subscription, pay for HBO and ESPN, and only then can you access HBO GO and Watch ESPN.

All of that simply tells me that all these options are still too costly.

Why should I pay an extra amount for Apple TV on top of all that? Once I've paid for my cable and for Netflix and Hulu Plus, I can just connect my computer to my TV, and then use my web browser to access all of these web sites (including those of HBO and ESPN) and send the streaming output directly to my TV.

A full-fledged computer or laptop connected to the Internet and connected to a TV is still the best option for watching these newer online streaming choices. No need for Apple to develop an Apple TV app for Netflix to start watching Netflix.


For those keeping track, Apple has now launched 6 new MULTI-BILLION dollar business units in the past 13 years: ipod, iphone, ipad, retail, itunes and now AppleTV.

Google's new Muilti-Billion dollar business units in the same period (outside of ad search?): ZERO.

Hard to believe Wall Street can't figure which stock to own.

Thomas Hawk
Thomas Hawk

Love my AppleTV. Have 5 of them now. Great way to get your Netfix and HBO GO, YouTube, movies/tv on demand, plus a great interface to listen to your iTunes while watching your photos. Love that your iPhone can be used as a remote as well.


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