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Wednesday, January 21, 2009, 02:45 pm PT (05:45 pm ET)

Apple TV sales up threefold, will see continued investment

Purportedly left for dead and mocked by pundits, Apple TV has actually turned into a productive hobby for Apple that will see continued development in the future, with sales rising threefold over the past year, according to acting chief executive Tim Cook.

Speaking in the company's financial results conference call, Cook said, "there was a tremendous tickup year over year [for Apple TV]. In fact unit sales were up over 3 times vs the year-ago quarter.  However let me be clear, we still consider this a hobby."

Cook explained, "It Is clear the movie rental business is working and there are more customers who want to try it.  We will continue to invest there, because we believe there is something there for us in the future."

When asked about the "digital living room opportunity and how it relates to Apple TV" during the last quarterly conference call in October, Steve Jobs replied, "well again I think the whole category is still a hobby right now. I don't think anybody has succeeded at it. And actually the experimentation has slowed down. A lot of the early companies that were trying things have faded away."

"So I have to say that given the economic conditions, given the venture capital outlook and stuff, I continue to believe that it will be a hobby in 2009."

Apple released its Take Two software update for Apple TV a year ago, and has since released additional three free updates for users.

Additional coverage of Apple's Q109 release

Apple profits edge higher on sales of 2.52m Macs, 22.7m iPods
Notes of interest for Apple's Q1 2009 financial results call
Apple rules out "iPhone nano," not keen on Mac netbook