Apple said it expects to sell more than 1 million new Apple TV units this week in a move that is timed perfectly to mock Google TV.
Steve Jobs' "hobby" is a $99 box that brings iTunes, Netflix, YouTube, Flickr and MobileMe to an HDTV. The first Apple TV didn't sell so well. Jobs took those lessons, simplified and made some headway.
But more importantly for Apple's announcement is the timing. Apple is almost taunting Google with 1 million units of Apple TV even as connected Google TV sets aren't selling all that well. Best Buy has said 3DTV and Internet connected TV hasn't lived up to industry expectations. Meanwhile, Google seems to be slowing its Google TV reviews over mixed reviews. Google TV won't be making a huge splash at the Consumer Electronics Show.
Google's problem is that it saw Google TV as a blend of the Internet, TV and computer. The problem is that Google TV may have been too complicated. No one is going to use a keyboard and mouse on the couch.
Like Apple learned, scaling down a TV effort can work---even though modestly. Google will learn the same. At some point these tech giants will get TV right.