Tim Cook hints at broader Apple TV plans in speech

February 15, 2012

In a speech at the Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet conference Tuesday, Apple’s chief executive Tim Cook hinted at the company’s plans for the television space while simultaneously declining to comment on what Apple’s plans for a television are.

Apple’s only television product, the set-top box Apple TV, has long been classified as a “hobby” by the Cupertino, Calif.-based company, but that hobby has sold 1.4 million units in the last quarter alone.

Which means it could be time to take things more seriously.

“Apple doesn’t do hobbies, as a general rule. We believe in focus and only working on a few things. With Apple TV, however, despite the barriers in that market, for those of us who use it, we’ve always thought there was something there,” Cook said, according to a livestream of the event that Apple posted on its Web site Tuesday.

Cook said that he didn’t want to go into detail about future plans about Apple’s plans for television but that the company has “always thought there was something there.” He went on to say that the company needs something that “could go more main market” in order to compete in the television industry.

He also addressed several other issues facing Apple at the moment, including worker factory conditions.

Cook said that the issues in the supply chain are complex but “ our commitment is very, very simple: We believe that every worker has the right to a fair and safe work environment, free of discrimination, where they can earn competitive wages and they can voice their concerns freely. And Apple suppliers must live up to this to do business with Apple.”

He said that he knows people hold Apple to high expectations, but that Apple has an even higher expectation of itself.

Cook also spoke at length about Apple and its culture after the death of co-founder Steve Jobs, saying that Jobs’s philosophies are baked deeply into the company and that he is “not going to witness or permit the slow undoing of it, because I believe in it so deeply.”

The executive’s speech seems to have been a hit overall, leading The New York Times to say that Cook revealed himself as Apple’s next best product.

Related stories:

Report: Apple ‘iTV’ prototypes at TV makers’ labs

Jobs’s final plan: an ‘integrated’ Apple TV

More technology coverage from The Post

Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.
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