In all of 2011, when the Apple TV did not see an update, the company sold a total of 2.8 million devices in the 12-month span. But the company is easily on pace to beat that, with 2.7 million sold through the first five months of 2012, Cook revealed in an interview at the D10 conference, where AppleInsider is in attendance (live coverage here).
Sales of the Apple TV in 2012 have been bolstered by a minor refresh of the product in March. The new model is based on the same iOS operating system as its predecessor, but sports a single-core A5 CPU that makes it capable of outputting 1080p high-definition video, improving on the 720p maximum output of the previous-generation model.
When the revamped 720p Apple TV was launched in late 2010, Apple reached sales of a million units in its first quarter. While the product has been relatively successful in a niche market, Apple has famously referred to the set-top box as a "hobby."
Speaking at D10 on Tuesday, Cook said that the television is an area of many people's lives that they are not pleased with. When pressed by journalist Walt Mossberg about whether Apple plans to release a full-fledged television set, as it is rumored to do, Cook unsurprisingly declined to talk about future products.
As for the currently available Apple TV box, Cook said that customer response and sales in 2012 have been "incredible" and "off the charts," but suggested the company has future plans in that market.
"We're going to keep pulling the string and see where it takes us," he said.
Visit AppleInsider's D10 archive for more of Cook's comments and ongoing coverage of the conference.