Tim Cook dances around the Apple TV question -- again

The CEO pulls out the ol' "we can continue to pull the string and see where it leads us" line when asked about Apple's future foray into television.

Jason Cipriani/CNET

Apple CEO Tim Cook had a bit of deja vu today when an analyst asked him to expound on Apple's future contributions to the TV industry.

"There's a lot we can contribute in this space so we can continue to pull the string and see where it leads us," he said during Apple's first quarter earnings call today, after remarking on the growth of sales for the Apple TV device.

The company sold more than 2 million Apple TV devices last quarter, according to Cook. This is up from 1.4 million devices from the same period last year.

Cook's answer sounds a lot like his response to a similar question from the same analyst, Piper Jaffray's Gene Munster, during last year's call.

Instead of answering the question, which relates to speculation over the possibility of an Apple-built TV, Cook pointed to the success of the Apple TV device. He said the device is favored by a "small niche" of people, a group that has grown. That's sort of different from "hobby," right?

The company said in October that it sold 5.3 million Apple TV set-top boxes in 2012. The device connects Web videos and other media to the traditional television, but it isn't a full blown substitute for TV.

Cook previously hinted at a possible Apple-built television. Analysts have gone back and forth on whether this will happen, but many believe that TV is the next industry Apple could enter and revolutionize, just like it's done with smartphones and tablets.

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