Despite growing sales, Apple says TV is still a “hobby”

Earlier this afternoon, Apple hosted a conference call to discuss its performance over the past three months. You can replay the call here, or you can check out our roundup of the most interesting points.

Among those points, was the fact that Apple sold an impressive 1.3 million Apple TVs last quarter. That’s up more than 170% year-over-year, and pushes current-year Apple TV sales to over 4 million…

But despite the growth, CEO Tim Cook continues to call the Apple TV a hobby. Even listening to the call, you can tell it’s an afterthought, as the sales numbers weren’t mentioned until an analyst asked about them during the Q&A portion.

Here’s a transcript from the conversation between Pacific Crest Securities analyst Andy Hargreaves:

“Cook: It’s [Apple TV] still at a level that we would call it a hobby. But we continue to pull strings to see where it takes us. We’re not one to keep around projects that we don’t believe in. There’s a lot of people here that are believers in Apple TV, and we continue to invest in it and see where it will take us.

Hargreaves: So you don’t do hobbies for the sake of hobbies, you do it in hopes that it gets to be something bigger?

Cook: That’s right, we do it because we think it will lead us somewhere. And so, we’ll see.”

This type of chatter is certainly interesting given the amount of speculation we continue to hear that Apple is building its own HDTV set. It seems like the question is more ‘when’ at this point, than ‘if.’

But Apple has to be pleased with the current Apple TV. GeekWire notes that at 1.3 million, Apple’s set-top box sold better than the popular Xbox 360 console (1.1 million) last quarter. Not bad for a hobby.

What are your thoughts on Apple’s plans for the TV space?