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Still A Hobby, But A Beloved Hobby: Apple Sold 1.3 Million Apple TVs In Q4, Bringing Total To 5.3 Million In Fiscal 2012

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It might not ship as many units as the iPhone or the iPad, but Apple TV continues to gain ground in the connected TV market. During today’s earnings call, Apple CEO Tim Cook said the company sold 1.3M units of the device in its fourth quarter, ending with 5.3M total sold over the last 12 months — not bad for a device that Apple has considered a “hobby” over the years.

Cook said today:

It still has the hobby label, however, it’s a beloved hobby.

While Apple TV sales growth continues, speculation that Apple would begin building an actual HDTV device has actually died down in recent months. Meanwhile, Apple has been making the streaming device more useful — mostly by adding AirPlay to more devices, and by making the technology more useful.

With the latest version of its Mac operating system, OSX Mountain Lion, Apple gave users the ability to do AirPlay Mirroring from their computers. That allows anyone to stream full-screen video from a Mac to the Apple TV, eliminating the need to connect devices by cable.

And with the release of iOS6, Apple gave developers better tools for creating dual-screen apps for the iPhone and iPad. Apple hasn’t added a ton of new apps to the Apple TV device over the years, but with better AirPlay support it doesn’t need to: Developers can leverage Apple’s entire existing ecosystem of iOS devices and create apps that allow users to stream video to the TV while interacting with the iPhone or iPad. That creates more value not just for the Apple TV, but also for those devices as well.