Poor little Apple TV. It doesn’t get the big, extravagant launch events that other Apple products receive. And even Chief Executive Tim Cook has sounded vague when he talks about Apple’s feelings about it:
“It’s an area of intense interest for us,” said Cook during an interview at All Things D earlier this year. “It’s not a fifth leg of the stool. It’s not the same size as the phone or Mac or tablet business.”
But Cook also said he can’t live without his Apple TV. And apparently, he’s not alone.
In the wake of Cyber Monday, there was an interesting indicator that Apple TV is becoming a sleeper hit for Apple. Or at the very least, a popular gift this holiday season.
In peeking at the top-selling electronic gadgets at Amazon, Apple TV ranked No. 7 on Tuesday. By Wednesday, it had fallen to No. 8. On Friday, it was No. 10.
Most of the top spots are held, not surprisingly, by Kindles. Still, it’s an impressive showing given the vast range of gadgets that Amazon does sell.
Apple TV continues to gain some traction, even as many Apple watchers speculate that the company may have grander plans in this area, like building its own television unit.
In the meantime, Apple TV seems to be a great complement for a household that already has several Apple products. If you have an iPad or MacBook, then $99 for Apple TV doesn’t seem like much to turn your TV into Internet TV, complete with your iTunes library and the ability to beam content from other devices onto the big screen.
This little gadget completes an ecosystem that still gives Apple an advantage over competitors like Google or Samsung: that ability to tie a host of devices together seamlessly in your house. Only Microsoft comes close, as the Xbox 360 evolves into a home entertainment platform. But it remains to be seen whether Microsoft can leverage that to create the same kind of desirable ecosystem that drives sales of Windows 8, its new Surface tablet, and Windows 8 phones.
For now, Apple TV may not be the full-blown revolution in TV that Apple fans want. But it may be time to at least give it a bit more respect.
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