Apple exec Tim Cook talks Apple TV, A4 processor, more

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
Speaking in San Francisco Tuesday, Apple Chief Operating Officer Tim Cook explained why the Apple TV is still considered a "hobby," and talked about custom-built chips in future products.



Apple TV "still a hobby"



Cook said he believes the Apple TV is an outstanding product, but there just isn't a large enough market to make the hardware worth a great deal of concentration from his company. The product is a "hobby," he said, because it doesn't compare to the phone, computer and MP3 player markets in terms of sales.



"Apple TV is still a hobby," he said. "We've been very clear about that."



But he also suggested the company's set-top-box device wouldn't necessarily lay dormant. It may just take time for the potential market to grow.



"Because our gut says something's there, we're continuing to invest in this," he said. "But today, it's still just a hobby."



Last October, Apple released the 3.0 software update for Apple TV, featuring a redesigned main menu that made navigating content simpler and faster. It also added support for the new iTunes LP and iTunes Extras formats.



Future products to feature custom silicon



Unsurprisingly, Cook said that future Apple products will feature custom-built chips, much like the new A4 processor found in the forthcoming iPad. He said Apple became wary of purchasing chips from other companies designed for different tasks.



"We felt that we had the best knowledge of what we wanted the silicon to do," he said.



By designing its own silicon, he said, Apple can create chips that are best-suited for the company's products, allowing them to run cooler and more power efficient.



"Apple has, for years, been in the silicon design business," he said. "When we were on the PowerPC architecture, Apple always personally crafted the northbridge and southbridge chipset, and so it's not new to us."



Keeping it simple



One focus for Apple, Cook revealed, is to keep matters simple. The Cupertino, Calif., company hasn't been interested in doing large acquisitions because of value and compatibility issues.



"We've always been about making the best product, not having the highest market share or the highest revenue," he said. "And so acquiring a company so our revenue gets larger isn't something that drives us."



The same philosophy applies to Apple's product line. Cook said the company doesn't want to overextend itself, and noted that the company's entire line of products could fit on one table. The only other high-revenue, publicly traded companies that could likely say that would be oil companies, he said.



Most companies, he said, simply aim to get bigger as they become more successful, but Apple has intentionally avoided that approach.



"The management team at Apple would never let that happen," Cook said. "That's not what we're about."



Other notes of interest:



Apple scaled back building stores during the recession, but is picking up steam again in building new retail outlets. He said forthcoming Apple stores in Shanghai and London will "make your jaw drop."



Recent NPD data shows Apple with a 22 percent unit share of desktop sales, with 42 percent of revenue. Cook said he believes the new iMac is the best desktop on the market. "I think people will continue to want a very gorgeous, large screen, all-in-one, simple to use, very elegant machine, and we're going to continue to deliver it."



With 300 million total worldwide PC sales per year, Cook said there is plenty of room for Apple to grow the Mac platform. The company's biggest target remains Windows switchers. "What we have to do is convince Windows users to switch, and we can provide a much better experience than they (Microsoft) can."



The single-carrier model seen with the iPhone and AT&T in the U.S. allows for simplicity and innovation. Without a partnership with AT&T, Apple likely wouldn't have been able to implement visual voicemail with the initial iPhone.



The Mac OS is "amazingly scalable," ranging from Mac computers to the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad. In a joke about Microsoft that earned laughter, he said the scalability of Mac OS X gives Apple an advantage over others who are "geographically north."



The iPod touch has been an integral part of the success of the iPhone OS. Every device they sell, he said, helps to fuel more application sales from the App Store. "The iPod touch has been a runaway hit," Cook said.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 149
    A pretty balanced view from Cook.



    The Mac OS is "amazingly scalable"



    Aint that the truth!
  • Reply 2 of 149
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Quadra 610 View Post


    A pretty balanced view from Cook.



    The Mac OS is "amazingly scalable"



    Aint that the truth!



    Now if they would only fix the BT on the iPhone to work properly like it should and fix the menu system with Front Row, I would be happy.
  • Reply 3 of 149
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    Cook said he believes the Apple TV is an outstanding product, but there just isn't a large enough market to make the hardware worth a great deal of concentration from his company. The product is a "hobby," he said, because it doesn't compare to the phone, computer and MP3 player markets in terms of sales.



    "Apple TV is still a hobby," he said. "We've been very clear about that."



    This tells me that 2011 is going to be the year of AppleTV, much the same way that 2010 is already the year of the iPad. I recall Apple saying similar things about the market for tablets, netbooks and such, just a little over a year ago......
  • Reply 4 of 149
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,268member
    Apple TV = Hobby primarily because cracking the Oligarchy of the Broadcast media is a bit tougher than cracking the music industry. If Apple can deliver lower cost shows and broadband speeds and penetration rise they could be onto something but right now the infrastructure isn't ready. I know of so many areas where Comcast is the only "real" broadband company.



    The A4 - I'm glad he mentioned the part about Apple custom designing their North and South Bridges. Apple back in the day used to custom make many of their ASIC chips at great expense. They now are smart enough (and have the size and shipment numbers) to go the custom route and save money in the process.



    Mac OS X has plenty of life and we're now moving into a future where Cocoa has ascended to Chief of frameworks and the iPhone platform is expanding into other products. We should continue to see good scalability from this OS.
  • Reply 5 of 149
    kotatsukotatsu Posts: 1,010member
    Curious how Apple seem almost completely uninterested in the living room. Microsoft, Sony, Netflix, and others will own it for decades to come.
  • Reply 6 of 149
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by hmurchison View Post


    Apple TV = Hobby primarily because cracking the Oligarchy of the Broadcast media is a bit tougher than cracking the music industry. If Apple can deliver lower cost shows and broadband speeds and penetration rise they could be onto something but right now the infrastructure isn't ready. I know of so many areas where Comcast is the only "real" broadband company.



    The A4 - I'm glad he mentioned the part about Apple custom designing their North and South Bridges. Apple back in the day used to custom make many of their ASIC chips at great expense. They now are smart enough (and have the size and shipment numbers) to go the custom route and save money in the process.



    Mac OS X has plenty of life and we're now moving into a future where Cocoa has ascended to Chief of frameworks and the iPhone platform is expanding into other products. We should continue to see good scalability from this OS.



    Thanks for a sane comment. Finally I see one around here . . .
  • Reply 7 of 149
    sheffsheff Posts: 1,407member
    I'm glad to hear that folks at apple are not forgetting about the touch. Still waiting for a camera/mic to arrive.



    Also good news is that apple will not try to overstretch itself (ahem Google ahem). There were rumors of an apple search engine to compete with Google on mobile, which I hope won't come true.
  • Reply 8 of 149
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by hmurchison View Post


    Apple TV = Hobby primarily because cracking the Oligarchy of the Broadcast media is a bit tougher than cracking the music industry. If Apple can deliver lower cost shows and broadband speeds and penetration rise they could be onto something but right now the infrastructure isn't ready. I know of so many areas where Comcast is the only "real" broadband company.



    Thanks for the clarity. So many people hate the Apple TV for delivering what is without a doubt a spiritless experience. However, 100% of that is directly attributable to content providers for doing what they do best--trying to find out ways of fucking consumers instead of figuring out the best way to give them what they want--content.



    That is the single reason why I pirate, and I'll be happy to admit as much if some idiotic content owner were to ask me why I do so. They claim it takes away from their revenue, but I'd be happy to pay for their product and add to their revenue if they gave me what I want, how I wanted it.



    I don't need silly, arbitrary constraints of content. The fact that I have 24 hours to view a rental is the most ridiculous concept known to mankind. It's like an executive got hit with a anvil upside his head, spit out this 24-hour nonsense in a moment of semi-conscisouness, and it became so.



    And I can view Season 1 of TV Show X and Season 3, but not Season 2?? because...well, I could care less what the reason is. I'd pay for it if it was available, but as it stands I am firing up Vuze and downloading FREE content to my heart's content.
  • Reply 9 of 149
    Who wants to bet that they're developing a secret OS X that runs on ARM? I don't know much about ARM, but could it compete with an i7 as far as GHz or scalability?



    It must suck to be a developer not knowing when Apple will switch processor platforms. I know if I was M$ or Adobe, I'd hate to rewrite everything again to support a new instruction set.
  • Reply 10 of 149
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by hmurchison View Post


    Apple TV = Hobby primarily because cracking the Oligarchy of the Broadcast media is a bit tougher than cracking the music industry. If Apple can deliver lower cost shows and broadband speeds and penetration rise they could be onto something but right now the infrastructure isn't ready. I know of so many areas where Comcast is the only "real" broadband company.



    Wal-Mart just bought Vudu. Between Netflix, Wal-Mart, Hulu and a host of other options, Apple may need to get more serious about AppleTV soon or they will be pushed off the cliff by the movie industry and these other companies aligning against them.
  • Reply 11 of 149
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by macinthe408 View Post


    but I'd be happy to pay for their product and add to their revenue if they gave me what I want, how I wanted it.



    So basically your way or the highway?
  • Reply 12 of 149
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by kotatsu View Post


    Curious how Apple seem almost completely uninterested in the living room. Microsoft, Sony, Netflix, and others will own it for decades to come.



    Look at all the work these guys are putting into the living room with very little return. Netflix seems to be the only success story so far. Every Blockbuster in my area has disappeared.



    I have an Apple TV and it does enough for me. You can rent movies for $1.00 less than Comcast on Demand, which is a good enough reason for me to use it.
  • Reply 13 of 149
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 4,617member
    It's refreshing to hear from someone talk about not taking their company down the path with guns ablazin' and consume everything in its path, only to die a painful death in the end when it took too much too fast.



    I like Apple's conservative approach and it's methods for actually thinking about it's path with some sense of sanity and logic. It's a primary reason I believe that Apple is in such a strong position when compared to other players in the same field.



    I'm happy that Apple ignores folks (like certain vocal members here) that think Apple should do whatever it can to grab every bit of market share, including bottom-of-the-barrel segments.



    There will be folks here that surely will find a way to rant / whine about Apple's practices in this article.
  • Reply 14 of 149
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,268member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post


    Wal-Mart just bought Vudu. Between Netflix, Wal-Mart, Hulu and a host of other options, Apple may need to get more serious about AppleTV soon or they will be pushed off the cliff by the movie industry and these other companies aligning against them.



    Yes I think the "Hobby" refrain coming from Apple is a bit silly. An unenthused Apple isn't going to deliver great products and if they cannot deliver great products then they need to open up iTunes so that purchases play nicely on other hardware boxen.



    The movie industry was adamant that Apple not get the type of control they have with music distribution and they do have more options because Apple never delivered the magic bullet in the Apple TV as compared to the iPod Magic Bullet.



    Apple has to swim upstream just like everyone else.
  • Reply 15 of 149
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    The same philosophy applies to Apple's product line. Cook said the company doesn't want to overextend itself, and noted that the company's entire line of products could fit on one table. The only other high-revenue, publicly traded companies that could likely say that would be oil companies, he said.]



    I know what he is implying and I like that Apple's product line is so streamlined however the oil companies have way more product than would fit on a table. Oil, grease, gas, diesel fuel, chemicals of every hydro-carbon variety, etc. So, bad comparison.
  • Reply 16 of 149
    djintxdjintx Posts: 454member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post


    This tells me that 2011 is going to be the year of AppleTV, much the same way that 2010 is already the year of the iPad. I recall Apple saying similar things about the market for tablets, netbooks and such, just a little over a year ago......



    I hope that you turn out to be correct, but I have a feeling we may not be this lucky. Yes, Apple did say these things about tablets leading up to their announcement of the iPad, but they have been tossing the "it's just a hobby" grenades at us for much longer. I think they are trying to make a point, which is, don't hold your breath.



    Now I suppose it is possible, that with the iPad and iPhone, that it is just taking longer for them to get the Apple TV ready for primetime, but I don't think so. I think they could have easily updated the hardware 3 times by now, and wowed us with a software overhaul to catch up to the other living room competitors. But so far not a peep for hardware, and only minor software updates here and there.



    They have a long way to go. I hope you're right about 2011.
  • Reply 17 of 149
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by kotatsu View Post


    Curious how Apple seem almost completely uninterested in the living room. Microsoft, Sony, Netflix, and others will own it for decades to come.



    I'm not sure if the living room will exist for decades to come... Kinda like the dining room is disappearing now (merging to the living room)... Soon it will just be "the room" because there will be no focus and everyone will use their iPad or iGoggles or whatever new convergent device is out.
  • Reply 18 of 149
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by hmurchison View Post


    Apple TV = Hobby primarily because cracking the Oligarchy of the Broadcast media is a bit tougher than cracking the music industry. If Apple can deliver lower cost shows and broadband speeds and penetration rise they could be onto something but right now the infrastructure isn't ready. I know of so many areas where Comcast is the only "real" broadband company.



    True story, but they are also going after those walking dinosaurs in the publishing industry, so I think they could crack broadcasting if they really made the effort. I'd like to see them go after the set top box makers. The boxes we have now truly suck. If they could integrate ATV into conventional cable set top functions I think they might have a winner. Maybe it just isn't worth the effort?



    Either way, I don't think Cook is doing anybody any favors by continuing to publicly call ATV Apple's hobby. Low expectations don't buy you much respect, unless you're Microsoft.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Quadra 610 View Post


    Thanks for a sane comment. Finally I see one around here . . .



    Hey read my sig buddy. Read my sig.
  • Reply 19 of 149
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    Cook said he believes the Apple TV is an outstanding product, but there just isn't a large enough market to make the hardware worth a great deal of concentration from his company. The product is a "hobby," he said, because it doesn't compare to the phone, computer and MP3 player markets in terms of sales. ][/url][/c]



    But Apple doesn't seem to want to do or try anything new to the Apple TV to make it a more compelling product. How can they grow the market and make it worthwhile when ATV has stayed basically the same aside from a few software updates? What, exactly, is holding them back? If Mr. Cook wants some ideas, I've got a long list of ideas.
  • Reply 20 of 149
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    Cook said he believes the Apple TV is an outstanding product, but there just isn't a large enough market to make the hardware worth a great deal of concentration from his company. The product is a "hobby," he said, because it doesn't compare to the phone, computer and MP3 player markets in terms of sales.



    The fact is Steve Jobs is the largest stock holder of Disney and their content creators, which sort of causes conflicts with other content creators.



    You want neutral, go Netflix. They cater to nearly everyone. Only pennies a show, all you can eat.



    You get disks if the content creators want that hard ass content protection, you get to stream if they allow it to certain devices too. It's the best of both worlds and why iTunes/Apple TV doesn't cut it.



    Apple should buy Roku, mix that into the Apple TV.



    http://www.roku.com/netflixplayer/





    Quote:

    But he also suggested the company's set-top-box device wouldn't necessarily lay dormant. It may just take time for the potential market to grow.



    Or waiting till they can buy Netflix cheap.







    Quote:

    Unsurprisingly, Cook said that future Apple products will feature custom-built chips, much like the new A4 processor found in the forthcoming iPad. He said Apple became wary of purchasing chips from other companies designed for different tasks.



    Custom chips for all Apple "consumer" machines is my prediction.



    Also no better way to enforce DRM and lock OS X Touchscreen UI, App Store to hardware than that.



    Apple wants to sell content, media etc. They want iron clad DRM control, Apple will do so in exchange for renting of content is my prediction.





    Quote:

    "We've always been about making the best product, not having the highest market share or the highest revenue," he said. "And so acquiring a company so our revenue gets larger isn't something that drives us."



    But they did buy several companies and their revenue is getting larger.





    Quote:

    The same philosophy applies to Apple's product line. Cook said the company doesn't want to overextend itself, and noted that the company's entire line of products could fit on one table. The only other high-revenue, publicly traded companies that could likely say that would be oil companies, he said.



    Apple could do well in many aspects of the computing sector if they applied themselves.



    The world is crying out for a better OS, just a change, from the crap out of Redmond.







    Quote:

    Most companies, he said, simply aim to get bigger as they become more successful, but Apple has intentionally avoided that approach.



    What the heck is he talking about? Pure propaganda, Apple is huge now, the underdog? NOT.



    Grow up Apple, become another GE or Siemens. Don't be scared. Microsoft is vulnerable, eat them!





    Quote:

    Apple scaled back building stores during the recession, but is picking up steam again in building new retail outlets. He said forthcoming Apple stores in Shanghai and London will "make your jaw drop."





    Eye candy church like stores only has a it's effects for so long. People get bored easily, especially if they are struggling in bad recession and avoid the fancy places.



    A friend of mine and I like to cruise the malls and bet how many stores have closed, so far I've won every bet.



    Quote:

    Recent NPD data shows Apple with a 22 percent unit share of desktop sales, with 42 percent of revenue. Cook said he believes the new iMac is the best desktop on the market. "I think people will continue to want a very gorgeous, large screen, all-in-one, simple to use, very elegant machine, and we're going to continue to deliver it."



    Good, now make the SSD or hard drive removable please, biggest problem with that device besides the reflective screen.





    Quote:

    With 300 million total worldwide PC sales per year, Cook said there is plenty of room for Apple to grow the Mac platform. The company's biggest target remains Windows switchers. "What we have to do is convince Windows users to switch, and we can provide a much better experience than they (Microsoft) can."





    Did he say "grow the Mac"? Oh sweet jesus, thank you. Hopefully it's the cursor based open OS X UI and not the closed touchscreen iPad UI on Mac's, that would be horrible.







    Quote:

    The single-carrier model seen with the iPhone and AT&T in the U.S. allows for simplicity and innovation. Without a partnership with AT&T, Apple likely wouldn't have been able to implement visual voicemail with the initial iPhone.



    Ok, and with Verison they couldn't do voice and data at the same time neither. OK, we know.





    Quote:

    The Mac OS is "amazingly scalable," ranging from Mac computers to the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad. In a joke about Microsoft that earned laughter, he said the scalability of Mac OS X gives Apple an advantage over others who are "geographically north."



    Just don't replace the OS X cursor UI with the iPad touchscreen UI on Mac's please.





    Quote:

    The iPod touch has been an integral part of the success of the iPhone OS. Every device they sell, he said, helps to fuel more application sales from the App Store. "The iPod touch has been a runaway hit," Cook said.



    Screen's too small, but then the iPad is the answer...



    Rather have Apps on my MacBook Pro instead so I can use the same Apps on both my iPod Touch and my MacBook Pro and have them sync automagically.
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