D10 Conference: Apple CEO Tim Cook Sees TV as Area of ‘Intense Interest’

Apple CEO Tim Cook has admitted that television is “an area of intense interest for us” in comments that are likely to fuel speculation that the company plans to make TVs.

Apple Inc Chief Executive Tim Cook said technology for televisions was of "intense interest" but stressed the company's efforts would unfold gradually amid speculation the iPad and iPhone maker was on the brink of unveiling a revolutionary iTV. Photo: Valery Marchive/Flickr

Apple CEO Tim Cook used AllThingsD’s D10 conference in San Francisco on Tuesday to discuss patent wars, controversies in the company’s supply chain and plans for upcoming products, reports The Huff Post.

According to industry insiders and executives, Apple may unveil a TV-based device in late 2012 or 2013 that has the potential to shake up the cozy television content and distribution industry the way the iPod and iPhone disrupted music and mobile content, but Cook has steered clear of commenting on that issue directly.

“We’re not a hobby kind of company, as you know,” Cook said of Apple’s current TV offering. “We’ve stuck in this.”

Cook refused to mention explicitly any plans the company might have to manufacture what is already referred to as an “iTV. ” However, he said television is “an area of intense interest for [Apple].”

“We are going to keep pulling the string and see where this takes us,” Cook said of its future TV plans, as reported by The Telegraph.

Apple already sells a $99 set top box called Apple TV that streams Netflix and other content. The device hasn’t enjoyed the success of the MacBook, iPhone or iPad, but the Apple TV may provided clues to the company’s plans for new products and strategies.

Many experts believe that Apple has already secured or is working to secure partnerships for streaming and syndicated content that would be available on such a device.

Other rumors suggest a potential Apple television set will feature Siri-like voice control and may even accept touchless gesture input.

However, Cook said Mossberg and Swisher that customers bought 2.8 million Apple TV devices last year, and that Apple sold nearly as many set top boxes in the early months of 2012.

Gene Munster, an analyst at Piper Jaffray, says that an Apple TV could come by the end of this year.

Apple CEO also said he would like to see more of the company’s products assembled at home than in China and contain more U.S. components such as semiconductors.

“There are things that can be done in the U.S., not just for the U.S. market but that can be exported for the world,” Cook said.

“On the assembly piece, could that be done in the U.S.? I hope so, again, one day,” he added.

Reuters writes that Apple has been criticized for relying on low-cost Asian manufacturers to assemble its products and for contributing to the decline of the U.S. manufacturing sector.

Apple currently makes the A5 processor in a 1.6 million square-foot factory in Austin, Texas, owned by Korean electronics giant Samsung Electronics.

Cook also noted that some of the glass for the iPhone and iPad is made in a plant in Kentucky.

Cook also talked about how the iPad was just in the “first innings,” but he refused to say what was in store for it next. He said he believed that many consumers would use the iPad more than computers.

“The more you look at the tablet as a PC, the more the baggage from the past affects the product,” Cook said.

Apple released the iPad in 2010 and it has quickly defined the tablet computer market, selling more than 67 million units so far.

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