During the Code Conference on Wednesday, Apple SVP of Internet Software and Services Eddy Cue revealed Apple sold 20 million Apple TVs to date and raked in more than $1 billion from set-top streamer sales in fiscal 2013. He expects the business to grow even larger in 2014.
Among the expected music-related topics discussed during Re/code's talk with Cue and Beats co-founder Jimmy Iovine, a brief exchange on the future of Apple TV yielded interesting insight into what Apple once called a "beloved hobby."
Talking about the apparent rift between Silicon Valley and Hollywood, Walt Mossberg asked Cue about Apple's TV business and how the company plans to innovate in the sector.
Cue said "the TV experience sucks," adding that modern advances like the DVR are only "glorified VCRs." He admitted that TV is a "complicated landscape" with simple problems that turn into complex issues due to the number of parties involved. This is counter to the music industry, which is apparently much easier to deal with because content rights are fairly straightforward.
Mossberg asked why Apple hasn't delivered a TV that "doesn't suck," but Cue refused to give up any information on possible future products. The impetus to make a change is there, however, as the Apple exec said TV should be much more accessible and user-friendly. As an example, Cue said he wanted to watch a TV program on his iPad today, but it's currently difficult — or in some regions impossible — to do so.
Speaking about Apple TV as a business, the exec said Apple has sold more than 20 million units since the set-top streamer's inception. In 2013,
Apple TV brought in more than $1 billion, a number that is expected to grow in 2014.
While light on specifics, Cue said Apple TV is going to evolve this year as Apple continues to improve content offerings much like last year's addition of HBO Go and other streaming channels.