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Apple TV Deal Spotlights Software, Services

Apple has continued to tout the success of its $99 Apple TV set top box, announcing recently it's sold more than 13 million units. By potentially partnering with Time Warner Cable, as well as the recent hiring of Pete Distad from Hulu, Apple is serious about changing the television watching experience.

Apple shares were lower in early Wednesday trading, off 0.32% to $417.15, while Time Warner Cable shares were not active in pre-market.

More consumers are watching television when they want to, as opposed to being subject to a live television programming schedule. By adding HBO GO, WatchESPN, as well as live programming from Time Warner Cable, Apple is placating to this trend.

It's becoming clear that Apple is focusing more on delivering content to users, with Apple TV and iTunes becoming an increasingly important part of the company's business. Apple recently said more than 1 billion TV episodes and 380 million movies have been downloaded from iTunes. Over 800,000 TV episodes and over 350,000 movies are being bought per day. That's serious revenue for Apple, even if it pales in comparison to the money it makes from the iPhone and iPad.

In recent months, Apple's Cook has focused his attention on showcasing Apple as more of a software and services company than simply hardware. Deals such as this continue to stress that focus.

That may play to investor sentiment, which has soured on Apple over the past six months. Shares are down 21.36% year-to-date, trailing the 13.7% gain in the Nasdaq, as earnings and revenue growth have slowed dramatically from 2012.

Apple is set to report third-quarter earnings after the close on July 23. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expect Apple to earn $7.33 on $35.16 billion in revenue for its fiscal third quarter.

-- Written by Chris Ciaccia in New York.

>Contact by Email.

-- Written by Chris Ciaccia in New York

>Contact by Email.

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