Roku seems ignorant to the fact that Apple is about to take another huge chunk of the living room with the release of a (rumored) revamped TV box that puts the entire iTunes Store on users’ televisions, including games.During an interview at the Re/code Code/Media conference, Roku CEO and founder Anthony Wood said, “Apple TV is essentially an accessory for the iPad. They lose money, which is unusual for Apple. If you’re losing money, why would you want to sell more?”
During an investor conference in February, Tim Cook revealed that Apple TV had generated $1 billion in revenue throughout 2013. He then piqued, “It’s a little hard to call it a hobby anymore.”
Cook’s remark came just as the media was igniting a rumor about the company revamping its TV box with an all-new interface and even support for game controllers, essentially turning the $99 / €109 puck-sized device into a full-fledged console. The rumor is very likely to materialize even within the next few weeks, though Wood seems adamant that Apple can expand its TV business.
“Every year about this time, the Amazon box comes up that they’re about to launch. And the new Apple TV is about to launch … We’ve been competing with Apple TV for six years now, and every year, we’ve grown,” Wood said. “We’re in the TV platform business. Our goal is to be the operating system for TV.”
Amazon is also known to be announcing a TV box at an upcoming event, though its plans are not even half as ambitious as Apple’s (rumored) outlook is.
Admittedly there have been a lot of times rumorists got it wrong, especially those going on and on about the Cupertino giant rolling out a full-fledged television set (i.e. with a display). However, the company seems determined to milk its cheap set-top box for all it’s worth.
Cook’s comments indicate that the product isn’t going anywhere, and history has shown that when Apple doesn’t phase out a business, it continues to expand it. As Wood himself noted, Apple isn’t into charity, and “If you’re losing money, why would you want to sell more?”
Wood may have well answered his own question, though it’s still Apple’s move. The Mac maker will upgrade its TV offerings one way or another. Timing remains crucial, but it looks like there will be an announcement no later than the end of 2014.