All Things Apple: Steve Jobs Gets Grilled At D8

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image credit Engadget

This year's D8 tech conference opened with a sit-down live interview pitting All Things Digital's Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher against Steve Jobs.  Considering that Jobs and Mossberg amiably butt heads on a regular basis (most recently at the iPad launch), this had the potential to be "interesting."

Some highlights:

– Jobs justified his now-infamous "Flash sucks" open letter by explaining "Apple is a company that doesn't have the resources that everyone else has. We choose what tech horses to ride, we look for tech that has a future and is headed up. Different pieces of tech go in cycles… they have summer and then they go to the grave.  If you choose wisely, you save yourself an enormous amount of work."  He pointed out Apple's decision to adopt, then abandon, 3 1/2 inch floppy disks — and later, serial and parallel ports and optical drives, then reiterated "Flash looks like it had its day but it's waning, and HTML5 looks like it's coming up," and pooh-poohed the idea that a "Flash phone" could exist in the market for more than a couple of years.

– On the even more-infamous iPhone 4G leak: When Mossberg brought up the police investigation that wound up seizing Gizmodo editor Jason Chen's belongings, Jobs sniffed "Well a guy… who can say if he's a journalist," then clarified: "There's an ongoing investigation. I can tell you what I do know, though. To make a product you need to test it. You have to carry them outside. One of our employees was carrying one. There's a debate about whether he left it in a bar, or it was stolen out of his bag. The person who found it tried to sell it, they called Engadget, they called Gizmodo.  The person who took the phone plugged it into his roommates computer. And this guy was trying to destroy evidence… and his roommate called the police. So this is a story that's amazing — it's got theft, it's got buying stolen property, it's got extortion, I'm sure there's some sex in there (huge laughs)… the whole thing is very colorful. The DA is looking into it, and to my knowledge they have someone making sure they only see stuff that relates to this case. I don't know how it will end up."

– When asked if he agreed with Mossberg and Swisher's opinion that — between Chrome OS, Android, and socila networks like Facebook — there's a new plaform war going on, similar to the old MS/Apple battle, Jobs flatly replied "No.  And I never have. We never saw ourselves in a platform war with MSFT, and maybe that's why we lost.  (more laughs)  We just wanted to make the best thing — we just thought about how can we build a better product."  As for Google, Jobs reiterated "Well they decided to compete with us. We didn't go into the search business!"

– On the topic of AT&T and the iPhone: "[They're doing pretty] good actually. Remember, they're handling WAY MORE data traffic than all of their other competitors combined…Well they have issues…"  Asked if there would be advantages to an iPhone on multiple US cell networks, Jobs conceded "There might be," but wouldn't comment further.

– The iPhone was originally planned to be a tablet!  When the iPhone OS was first envisioned, it was for a tablet design that dumped handwriting recognition (and the need for a stylus) as well as the PC cursor: "I had this idea about having a glass display, a multitouch display you could type on. I asked our people about it. And six months later they came back with this amazing display. And I gave it to one of our really brilliant UI guys. He then got inertial scrolling working and some other things, and I thought, 'my god, we can build a phone with this' and we put the tablet aside, and we went to work on the phone."

– Asked if the iPad (and tablets in general) would replace PC's, Jobs offered the following analogy: "When we were an agrarian nation, all cars were trucks. But as people moved more towards urban centers, people started to get into cars. I think PCs are going to be like trucks. Less people will need them. And this is going to make some people uneasy."

[Via Engadget ]