Peter Kafka

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Apple TV Sales Have Doubled, but It’s Still an Experiment, Says Tim Cook (Video)

Tim Cook won’t say a word about his Apple TV plans. But he is willing to explain what he thinks about his current Apple TV product: It’s a little different from his other products, because it’s not a big hit. And that’s okay.

“We’re not a hobby kind of company,” he told Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher at D10. “Our tendency is to do very few things; put all of our wood behind a few arrows. And if something creeps in and isn’t a big success, we move on and put it away.”

But even though Apple TV is still a sort of hobby for Apple — “it’s not a fifth leg of the stool” — Cook says they’ll keep plugging away at it. “We’re going to keep pulling the string and see where it takes us. … I┬áthink many people would say, [TV] is an area in their life where they’re not really pleased with it … it’s an interesting area.”

Cook did point out that Apple TV sales are increasing. In 2011, Apple sold 2.8 million boxes; in the last six months it has sold 2.7 million.

Okay. But does that mean Apple is really going to make a full-fledged TV? Or does it think Apple TV will continue to be an accessory like the current box?

Cook wouldn’t come close to answering that, but instead offered a guide to Apple’s new products in general. When the company thinks about new stuff, he said, it considers questions like this: “Can we control the key technology? Can we make a significant contribution — far beyond what others have done — in this area? Can we make a product that we all want?”

Full D10 Conference Coverage