Tim Cook: We Still Believe in Apple TV, May Lead Somewhere

AppleTVDuring Apple’s Q3/2012 Earnings Report, Tim Cook spoke favorably about the Apple TV sales to date this fiscal year: 4 million units. He admitted to Piper Jaffray’s Gene Munster that Apple doesn’t do hobbies for the sake of hobbies. Rather, the expectation is that the hobby “will lead somewhere.”

Here’s the dialog between Mr. Munster and Mr. Cook:

Munster: … did you give an Apple TV number for the quarter and any kind of updated thoughts on how you’re thinking about that going forward.

Cook: I didn’t give it but I can. We sold 1.3 million last quarter. This was up over 170 percent year-over-year. And it brings our fiscal year to 4 million units, which is pretty incredible. It’s still at a level that we would call it a hobby. But we continue to pull the string to see where it takes us. We’re not one to keep around projects that we don’t believe in, and so there’s a lot of people here that are believers in Apple TV and we continue to invest in it and see where it will take us.

Munster: So you don’t do hobbies for the sake of hobbies, you do it to hope to get to be something bigger?

Cook: That’s right. We do it because we think we can — it will lead us somewhere. And so we’ll see. But I think the — 4 million is not a small number. It’s small relative to iPads and iPhones, perhaps, but it’s not a small number and there’s a lot of believers in it.

The disclosure of 4 millon Apple TVs fits in well with previous estimates by The Mac Observer .

Of course, what Mr. Munster was asking, between the lines, was Apple’s perspective on expanding the scope of the Apple TV to perhaps an Apple HDTV. Mr. Munster has been the most energetic predictor of an Apple HDTV initiative. Mr. Cook’s response, while non-committal, was as close as one can get to admitting that Apple strongly believes that the current Apple TV will open a bigger door in the future.