Apple CEO Steve Jobs also seized a solo spot at yesterday's D: All Things Digital event.
He talked about Apple, categorising its increasingly diverse businesses as: "Three businesses and a hobby." Businesses include Macs, music and the iPhone, while the Apple TV is "a hobby".
On Apple TV he observed: “The reason I call it a hobby is, a lot of people have tried and failed to make it a business. And it’s a hard problem. So we’re trying. I think if we work on it and improve things over the next year, 18 months, we can crack that,” said Jobs, as reported by Macworld US.
What everybody’s tried, and where we’ve come from, too, is coming from the personal computer market, you first think about getting content from PC to widescreen TV. And I’m not sure that’s what consumers want,” Jobs said.
“It’s great to get that all on there, but we tend to think of that as the entree. And the more we think about it, we think that that stuff is the peas on the side. And the entree might be content on the internet.”
Beyond introducing his audience to the Apple TV's soon-to-come support for YouTube, Jobs wouldn't share any future product plans. He did dismiss the notion that the iPod needs updating, pointing out that new models only debuted in September 2006.
Jobs stressed his company remains deeply committed to the Mac market, predicting June's WWDC would be the best attended yet and adding that the company is making "massive investments in the computer business".
Apple's marketshare is climbing. “Our share in notebooks is ahead of the industry, two-thirds notebooks. I can see a time when notebooks are 80, 90 per cent of what we sell. We’re also always improving our OS, generally have a release 18 months or so. And we had a big release we didn’t get much credit for, which is Mac OS X Tiger for Intel,” he said.
On iPods, he promised more ahed: "We’re working on the best iPods that we’ve ever worked on, and they’re awesome," he said, and hinted at 3G support in future iterations of the iPhone.
Jobs also once again confirmed that the iPhone runs a full version of OS X, stripped of inappropriate elements such as sound files, desktop patterns. "If you take out the data, the OS isn't that huge," he said.
Apple's leader chose to dismiss the idea of making the iTunes Store accessible through the iPhone, "we have nothing to announce today", he said, observing that high mobile network data charges at present make such services impractical.
Answering critics who say Apple is missing a trick by not opening the iPhone up to third-party developers, he said the decision was based on security problems.
“I think sometime later this year we will find a way to let third parties write apps and still preserve security. But until we can find that way, we can’t compromise the security of the phone. Nobody’s perfect, but we sure don’t want our phone to crash. We would like to solve this problem, if you could be just a little more patient with us, I think everyone can get what they want,” he said.
Jobs confirmed that 300 million copies of iTunes have been downloaded so far, mainly to Windows machines. "That's like a glass of ice water in hell," he quipped, on the presence of an Apple application on a Windows computer.
Jobs also observed some surprise at the success of the iPod: “I never thought we’d ship 100 million iPods. No, never," he said.
He ended his appearance demonstrating the new feature addition of YouTube videos running on the Apple TV (interestingly, this features an on-screen alphanumeric keyboard for searching for new clips). The company later revealed that YouTube is re-encoding all its video archives into the Apple TV supported video codec, H.264.
Jobs admitted that high-definition videos aren't yet available for the Apple TV, but admitted that this may change.
“We’re not selling HD yet, because of the tradeoffs between download time and quality. But that might change in the future,” said Jobs.