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Apple TV and gaming together "could be interesting" - Apple

Apple TV "an area of intense interest for us".

Apple TV and gaming together "could be interesting", new Apple CEO Tim Cook has teased.

His comments were made at the D: All Things Digital conference at the weekend.

"I view that we are in gaming now in a fairly big way," Cook said, answering a gaming question from The Verge, reported by AllThingsD.

"One of the reasons people buy an iPod touch is gaming. Some buy it for music. I realise that is not the big screen you are talking about. Gaming has kind of evolved a bit. More people play on portable devices. Where we might go in the future, we'll see. Customers love games.

Sorry Apple, you've been pipped to the post.

"I'm not interested in being in the console business in what is thought of as traditional gaming," he stated. "But Apple is a big player today, and things in the future will only make that bigger."

Then, when asked specifically about gaming on Apple TV, Cook answered: "I think it could be interesting."

"I'm not interested in being in the console business in what is thought of as traditional gaming."

Tim Cook, CEO, Apple

Apple TV - a small and neat, curved-edged box - is a digital media receiver that can play content from Netflix, iTunes, YouTube, Flickr and from networked PCs and Macs. The first generation of Apple TV arrived in 2007. The third generation of Apple TV arrived in March this year. It added an A5 processor and 1080p support for iTunes and Netflix content.

By Apple's own high standards, Apple TV hasn't been terribly successful.

"You know, very uncharacteristic of us, we've stayed in the Apple TV product," Cook said. "We're not a hobby kind of company as you know. Our tendency is to do very few things. And if something creeps in and isn't a big success, we get it out of the way and put our energies on something else.

"Apple TV though, you see what we've done. We've stuck in this. It's not a fifth leg of the stool. It's not of the same market size as the phone business or the Mac business or the music business or the tablet business."

But the numbers are improving. In the "first few months" of 2012, Apple shifted nearly as many Apple TVs (2.7 million) as it did during all of last year (2.8 million).

"This is an area of intense interest for us," Tim Cook affirmed.

"It's more something where you keep pulling the string to see where it goes."

Will doing an iPod or an iPhone or an iPad to the living room be as simple as adding App Store functionality to Apple TV? Or will Apple need to build an entire TV set, flashy glass screen and all?

"We would look not just at this area, but other areas, and ask, can we control the key technology?" said Cook. "Can we make a significant contribution far beyond what others have done in this area? Can we make a product that we all want?

"Those are all the things we would ask about any new product category."