Did Tim Cook Tip Us Off to What Apple TV Will Be?

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- As Apple (AAPL) CEOs go, Tim Cook is hitting the interview circuit hard these days. Next thing you know, he'll turn up on Oprah!, though that's not as big a deal as it used to be.

You're getting peppered today with excerpts from powwows Cook gave to NBC's Brian Williams and BloombergBusinessWeek. Both worthy pieces, no doubt, but other than news that's two days old, there's not a whole heck of a lot to chew on.

As an unabashed Steve Jobs cheerleader, an Apple without the great one still worries me long term (just like the Oilers without Wayne Gretzky). However, Tim Cook can pack a punch. He continues to show that more and more.

He proves this by saying so much at the same time as saying nothing at all.

For instance, on the prospects of an Apple TV, Cook came with the standard "it's an intense area of interest" talking point, but he also said:
When I go into my living room and turn on the TV, I feel like I have gone backwards in time by 20 to 30 years.

I don't think he was talking about his wood-panelled walls and shag carpeting.

Cook told Williams he couldn't say anymore, but, if you read between the lines, he said a lot.

It's all about the user experience. That "back in time" quote focuses on what Apple does best -- creating beautiful products and the most intuitive and enjoyable user experience out there.

Cook's words make me think we're going to see some sort of device completely detached from programming other than the fact that you'll watch programming on it. In other words, the rumors that Apple is interested in all of this expensive programming -- from sports to movies -- probably have no merit.

It's not in Apple's purview to get into the cable business or the content ownership business. It can integrate what it already has via iTunes into its television platform, but it makes no sense for the company to get deeper into that mess.

Plus, it probably can't get deeper even if it wanted to. It doesn't make sense that Apple is holding itself up in intense negotiations with programmers. What are they negotiating for? Sloppy seconds to programming companies such as News Corp ( NWSA) and Time Warner ( TWX) pay billions of dollars for?

Do you really think Major League Baseball would go for Fox cutting some sort of sideline exclusive deal with Apple? It's not contractually or even logistically possible. Plus, Apple already has access to so much of this prime programming, such as MLB Extra Innings via its Apple TV set top box.

Certainly, if Apple can somehow score NFL Sunday Ticket or something, it will. However, that's not the focus. It cannot be the focus. It better not be.

Because, if it is, it's a sure sign that Tim Cook cannot carry on Steve Jobs's legacy. Apple will take its eye off the ball getting into a business it has no business or no need ( just like streaming radio) to get into.

Here's another prediction for 2013: Apple will release an actual television -- integrated with iTunes -- that commands a premium price. Everybody will want one, but not everybody will be able to afford one. Don't expect Tim Cook to pull a Google ( GOOG) and open up a price war with Samsung.

Apple doesn't do that. I knew it wouldn't do it with iPad mini and it will not do it with Apple TV. That wasn't Steve Jobs's style. Thankfully, it's not Tim Cook's style either.

--Written by Rocco Pendola in Santa Monica, Calif.

Rocco Pendola is TheStreet's Director of Social Media. Pendola's daily contributions to TheStreet frequently appear on CNBC and at various top online properties, such as Forbes.

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