Apple chief Tim Cook said the company’s Apple TV set-top business last year pulled in more than $1 billion in revenue, a figure encompassing both hardware sales and content purchased through the devices.
“It’s a little more difficult to call it a hobby these days,” said Cook, speaking Friday at Apple’s annual shareholders meeting.
Apple is prepping a refreshed version of the Apple TV set-top with a faster processor and redesigned interface that may be announced as early as April, Bloomberg reported. The consumer-electronics giant also is said to have been engaged in talks with Time Warner Cable and others for the launch of the updated device, which is supposed to ship in time for the holiday shopping season.
Last May, Cook said the company had sold more than 13 million Apple TV boxes. Apple TV, in addition to playing iTunes content, provides access to more than two dozen third-party services, including Netflix, YouTube, HBO Go, Hulu Plus, Watch ABC, WatchESPN, Watch Disney Channel, PBS, Sony’s Crackle and Yahoo Screen.
Separately, the company on Friday launched an offer giving buyers of Apple TVs (listed at $99) a $25 iTunes gift card — a promo tied to the Academy Awards, as Apple is positioning it as a way to watch Oscar-nominated films. The promo, available in stores and online, is scheduled to run through March 5.
The company also recently added a dedicated section for Apple TV on its online storefront, fueling speculation that something new is on its way. Previously, Apple TV was (oddly) listed under the iPod section.