Steve Jobs interview at D8 (D: All Things Digital) was long and wide ranging. They indicate a man who is passionate about his work, perhaps to the detriment of the popularity of his products or overall market dominance. In many ways he has the job we all aspire to; he gets to go to work everyday and make what he wants, not what’s dictated by the competition. And in being that person and doing that job we see the present and future of Apple. We can say all we want about Apple not going with the flow or giving into a pundit’s wishlist but at the end of the day Jobs’ is right, if Apple wasn’t doing a good job they wouldn’t be selling an iPad every three seconds. Some may say that what we saw Tuesday night was classic Steve Jobs and they would be right. The unique combination of hard-nosed businessman and wide-eyed dreamer is what makes the Apple CEO unique. It’s what lead him to found an alternative computer company in the age of IBM’s dominance, it’s what lead him to leave the company he founded and start over again at NExT, and it’s what lead him back to his original love when it was most in trouble.
What were his thoughts on the subjects and stories we’ve obsessed about for the last year? Let’s briefly break them down:
New iPhone Carriers – There have been two main stories in the last year around iPhone carriers; the mythical Verizon iPhone 4G / HD and AT&T. The Apple chief had nothing but praise for the iPhone’s exclusive American carrier, noting there have been some difficulties but that AT&T is working very hard to both upgrade its network and provide excellent service to its customers. Jobs didn’t talk specifically about any impending end to AT&T’s exclusivity but he did note there would be advantages to multiple American iPhone carriers. For the moment though, he seemed to indicate they were happy to stick with the company that was first willing to take a chance on the iPhone.
Google – The simmering war between the two Silicon Valley behemoths seems to be a non-issue with Steve. While he acknowledges Google’s encroachment into Apple’s spheres of influence he reiterated Apple’s decision not to encroach into Google’s. Apple’s focus is on making great products people want to use, not worrying about what the competition is doing. He acknowledges that refusing to fight a war with Microsoft in the 90s may have led to the near extinction of Apple (“Apple was about 90 days from going bankrupt.”) but says they will not get into a slugging match with Google. He also seemed to indicate Google’s removal from the iPhone was not imminent, “Just because we’re competing doesn’t mean we have to be rude.”
iPad – It’s clear the tablet plays a large part in Apple’s future plans. Steve sees the iPad as the beginning of a shift in the way we compute. Likening the shift from PC to tablet to the shift from truck to car as the primary means of transportation, Jobs sees a limited and specialized future for what we think of today as the personal computer. The iPad was the product of throwing out existing notions of tablet computing and starting from scratch. He also mentioned that research into the iPad resulted in the iPhone, not the other way around; a fact often conjectured about but never officially recognized.
Foxconn – The troubles with Foxconn seem to trouble Jobs. He states that “We’re all over this.” He points out the suicide rate at Foxconn, who has over 400,000 employees, is well below the American average. That being the case, he also points out that Apple has people specifically assigned to the case.
What do you think of the D8 interview? Did it reveal any new insight into the Apple CEO? Did the interview say more about Apple the company or Steve Jobs the man? Let us know your thoughts on these questions and any other pertaining to the D8 interview below.
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