The Apple TV under development when Steve Jobs called it a 'hobby' is now obsolete

Apple updated its list of obsolete products that it doesn’t service anymore, and added the second-generation Apple TV on Wednesday.

The device, which first came out in 2010, let users stream shows and movies from iTunes as well as a few Apple-selected partners like Netflix. It was replaced by the “third-generation” Apple TV in 2012, which was nearly identical except for a faster processor.

Apple currently sells the 4th-generation Apple TV, which can now install apps from Apple’s tvOS App Store. Apple is rumoured to launch a 5th-generation model this year.

Apple tvAppleThe current Apple TV (left) vs the second-generation (right.)

In June 2010, three months before the second-generation Apple TV launched, late Apple CEO Steve Jobs called the entire Apple TV product line a “hobby” in an interview — a remark that still shapes how people see Apple’s television ambitions even today as the company has clearly placed additional emphasis on the device.

“The only way [TV is] ever going to change is if you can really go back to square one, tear up the set top box, redesign it from scratch with a consistent UI across all these different functions, and get it to consumers in a way that they’re willing to pay for it. And right now there’s no way to do that,” Jobs said.

“The TV is going to lose until there’s a better — until there’s a viable — go to market strategy,” he continued. “Otherwise you’re just making another Tivo. It’s not a problem with technology, not a problem with vision, it’s a fundamental go-to-market problem.”

“I’m sure smarter people than us will figure this out, but that’s why we say Apple TV a hobby. That’s why we use that phrase,” Jobs said.

It’s striking to see how few of the landscape problems in Jobs’ view have changed 7 years later. Apple has changed its strategy, though, and has recently emphasised the Apple TV as a platform for apps, although the company is still looking to sign up content creators for exclusive TV shows or movies, potentially for its own TV subscription service.

Apple typically declares a product obsolete 5 years after it stops manufacturing it.

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