Apple TV remains just a hobby, the Cupertino, Calif. company’s chief executive said in a Tuesday interview. The problem: the cable industry.
Cable operators “give everybody a set-top box for free, or for $10 per month,” Steve Jobs told an audience at the All Things Digital conference. “That pretty much squashes any opportunity for innovation, because nobody’s willing to buy a set-top box,” he said.
Offering just another set-top box, which consumers would add to their existing collection of cable box, dvrs, DVD players and associated cables snaking into a home entertainment center seemed pointless to Jobs. “Ask TiVo, ask Replay TV, ask Roku, ask Vudu, ask as, ask Google in a few month,” the Apple co-founder joked. The Internet giant recently unveiled its own Google TV software powered by its Android operating system and included in upcoming televisions and set-top boxes.
To make Apple TV marketable, the company would need to “tear up the set-top box, redesign it from scratch with a consistent UI across all these different functions, and get it to consumers in a way that they’re willing to pay for it,” Jobs said, adding: “right now, there’s no way to do that.”
That attitude is why Apple places a low priority on Apple TV – behind the iPhone and the iPad. “The TV is going to lose until there’s a better –until there’s a viable — ‘go to market’ strategy,” Jobs said.
He repeated the phrase many fans of Apple’s media box hate hearing: the h-word. “I’m sure smarter people than us will figure this out, but that’s why we say Apple TV is a hobby; that’s why we use that phrase.”
These latest comments appear to put in doubt reports Apple TV is still a viable product. A recent report suggested the Cupertino, Calif. will combine both its popular iPhone OS and the cloud-computing concept to create a television set able to stream programming.