As many of you know, Steve Jobs has been in the center of a media frenzy. The subject of unbridled love and some pretty harsh criticism, all at the same time. On one hand, Ken Auletta proclaimed him this generation's Einstein. And then the other Media Pundit and all around Apple fan-club cheerleader Shelly Palmer derided the new Apple tablet device as DOA. Ouch.
So, I wondered what Jobs felt about all this -- and I decided to ask him. (*See footnote for disclosures as to the actual time and place of this interview.)
Q: So Steve, what's up with this now extra large iPhone thingy? It seems like it's not quite a computer, not quite an e-reader, and not-quite a communication device. What's the deal?
Jobs: Well, first of all -- the 'magic' and marketing hype aside, what we've done is invent a whole new category of device. What folks need to remember is that I've made more than my share of media history by taking stuff away. Remember the floppy drive? I killed that -- saying that the only drive we'd support was the CD-ROM. People freaked at that! And then there was the on-off switch; when we released the first iPod without buttons, you would have though we'd sacrificed a goat! So, when we take stuff away, there's a reason.
Q: So, you mean the USB port on the new iPad is gone for a reason?
Jobs: (grin) Yeah, well -- let's just say that it's not like I forgot it. And all this conspiracy theory stuff about locking people to iTunes? Come on, you've got WiFi, so you'll have access to the world. Just chill -- ok?
Q: Yeah, ok -- but what about the name? Kinda off -- don't you think?
Jobs: What I think is that we've had so many hits in a row, this device was bound to get some blow back. It's new, it has a lot of things taken off, and it takes us into new territory: mobile media. So if the worst thing folks can find to criticize is the name, I'm cool with that. In the end what will matter is that people will LOVE the device.
Q: Ok, so tell us in your own words, what kind of users will LOVE the device?
Jobs: That's the first good question you've asked. Ok, first -- we wanted to be in the media reader market. Love that guy Bezos, but hey, he's not going to be the only one making a device/content play. So, books will be better on the iPad than on the Kindle. That's for sure. We win with books. And publishers will play us against each other a bit, and that's good for consumers.
Second. Gaming. No games on the Kindle! We'll rock with games. We've got the software. Now you'll have a multi-touch play surface.
Third. Media. Watching videos, movies and all kinds of multi-media. This will be both a flat-screen player and an interactive media device. We will RULE portable media consumption.
Q: Hmmm... So I don't hear content creation on that list.
Jobs: Let's see, you mean the things you do with a keyboard, a camera, applications like Photoshop and other computer intensive devices? Well, hmm... let's see - the iPad is a sub $1,000 device, our pro laptops are up around $2,500. Ok, you caught us. We didn't carve up our laptop business with the iPad. Stockholders - deep breath - we're still making computers.
Q: So, why is the WiFi model coming out first, then the wireless? And no camera on either?
Jobs: Does anybody have any memory? Check our playbook -- it's public. Remember iPod 1.0 or iPhone 1.0? We've got a slate of releases with more features and memory already laid out. First we'll get the crazy early adopter money (they'll buy ANYTHING), then we'll get the pro users, then the middle market and then the value purchasers. To keep that game going we need to release features and functionality at premium price points every six months. Wait till you see iPad 2.0 -- we've got some super-awesome surprises in the wings!
Q: Ok, last question. This Flash thing is getting kinda crazy. Are you every going to support Flash? Or is there some Adobe boycott that just won't ever allow it to happen?
Jobs: Flash. Yeah, ok -- it's been a long week so I'll admit it. We kinda punted on that. I'm pretty sure that a browsing experience without Flash is going to suck -- we may have to work that out sooner rather than later. But hey, if that's our biggest problem then I'm going to get myself a glass of Apricot nectar and celebrate.
Q: Any last comments, taunts, or wisdom from our generation's "Einstein"?
Jobs: Well, sure. First of all, for everyone who proclaimed the year of the Tablet back five years ago -- Ha! Gotcha. And, about that USB thing -- check out the Jetsons. Their media tablet is a rubbery soft foam pad thingy that you can roll up. Flexi-video-multitouch-pad. Can't really put hardware connections on a rubber screen. So, that's a clue.
Q: Thank you very much. You've been generous with your time. And I'm sure you've got to get back to One Infinite Loop and plot continued domination of media and entertainment.
Jobs: Domination? Nah. Dis-intermediation -- ah, now that I like.
*As a noted tech blogger and Silicon Alley CEO, I'm wise enough to know that Jobs isn't going to do an interview with me. Even if I have bought every computer he's ever invented since the Apple 2e (ok, not the LIsa, but the other one). So, instead -- I closed my eyes and channeled my inner Steve Jobs, and these are his answers. If the real Steve Jobs doesn't agree with any of these responses, he of course should feel free to add his thoughts in the comments section. Otherwise, I stand by the answers provided by my fake Steve Jobs.
(from MediaBiz Bloggers: Published: February 2, 2010 at 06:07 PM GMT
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