Three Guys and a Podcast: Apple News & Analysis
Apple CEO Tim Cook took to the Wall Street Journal's All Things Digital 2013 conference stage last Spring answering a host of questions from Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher, while fielding additional questions from the audience. Beyond Kara's witty charm and Walt's deadpan approach, nothing shocking came to light. Staying true to form, Cook delivered vague answers, falling back to the idea that people like surprises, but there is one product Cook and crew appear to be taking much more seriously. Apple TV.
It is now fall, 2013, and Apple has likely sold over 15 million Apple TV's since its inception, while roughly half of those units were sold in the last year alone. Notably, Tim Cook never mentioned at the All Things Digital conference, nor has mentioned, Apple TV as a hobby since 2012. In fact, over the past five public appearances by Cook, he has avoided calling Apple TV a hobby, or a product that Apple is very interested in and will simply continue to pull the string and see where it leads. That previous talk track is now gone, replaced with a message that Apple is selling up to 2 million Apple TV's per quarter, and that TV is an area of incredible interest.
This type of linguistic shift may seem trivial, but this is Apple, and when the CEO's language changes it is deliberate and consistent. There is always purpose behind what Apple's top brass mention in public.
Apple selling nearly 7 million Apple TV's over the last year is stunning when considering the product receives zero advertising dollars. The latest research indicates Apple has over 70% market share for digital receivers, and Cook shifting the language from "hobby" to "intense interest" is the start of Apple's non-hype, hype. Consumers are clearly searching for an alternate TV solutions versus lock-in cable packages.
Asian tech publication DigitTimes has spouted unreliable rumors regarding a forthcoming Apple TV for years, and not far behind has been Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster on a multi-year crusade declaring Apple TV is just around the corner. Aside from these two faithful, there has been very few consistent indicators that an integrated Apple HDTV product is being readied for any launch, any time soon.
The bright side is Apple's tone on connected entertainment devices has changed since their 1Q13 financial quarterly conference call. Apple TV is no longer a hobby, it is of incredible interest for Apple. This is Apple's new mantra, and it would seem that the first-half of 2014 could be an inflection point, where Apple can bring the hype to a crescendo and deliver a solution that will become the next big thing.
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