Newsweek Q&A: Apple CEO Steve Jobs discusses iPod’s impact, Microsoft’s Zune, and more

With iPod’s fifth birthday around the corner (October 23rd), Steve Jobs discusses the MP3 player’s design, cool factor and impact with Newsweek’s Steven Levy:

During the iPod’s development process did you get a sense of how big it would become?
Jobs: The way you can tell that you’re onto something interesting is if everybody who knows about the project wants one themselves, if they can’t wait to go out and open up their own wallets to buy one. That was clearly the case with the iPod. Everybody on the team wanted one.

Other companies had already tried to make a hard disk drive music player. Why did Apple get it right?
Jobs: We had the hardware expertise, the industrial design expertise and the software expertise, including iTunes. One of the biggest insights we have was that we decided not to try to manage your music library on the iPod, but to manage it in iTunes. Other companies tried to do everything on the device itself and made it so complicated that it was useless.

Now people at some labels think that iTunes, with its dominant market share has too much power.
Jobs: We’ve never once gone to them and asked them to lower their prices.

Do you think that it’s fair to the customer that the songs they buy from Apple will only work on iTunes and the iPod?
Jobs: Well, they knew that all along.

Microsoft has announced its new iPod competitor, Zune. It says that this device is all about building communities. Are you worried?
Jobs: In a word, no. I’ve seen the demonstrations on the Internet about how you can find another person using a Zune and give them a song they can play three times. It takes forever. By the time you’ve gone through all that, the girl’s got up and left! You’re much better off to take one of your earbuds out and put it in her ear. Then you’re connected with about two feet of headphone cable.

In the full article, Jobs talks about the the design lesson of the iPod, iPod popularity and coolness, how he got the record labels to sign up, and more here.

Related articles:
Apple announces iPod nano (PRODUCT) RED Special Edition, iTunes (PRODUCT) RED gift card – October 13, 2006
RUMOR: Apple to announce wireless video iPod in ‘very near future’ – October 10, 2006
The Channel Checkers: Apple iPod recommended by over 73% vs. other MP3 players – October 05, 2006
Study reveals Apple continues to gain share in music markets – October 04, 2006
Mossberg: Apple’s new iPod+iTunes are ‘better products at better prices’ – October 04, 2006
Computerworld review: ‘Apple’s new iPods are better than ever’ – September 27, 2006
PC Magazine’s 19th Annual Readers’ Choice Awards for MP3 players: Apple iPod line – September 25, 2006
USA Today reviews new Apple iPod nanos, updated iPods, iTunes 7 (each earns 4 stars out of 4) – September 21, 2006
Time Magazine’s Gadget of the Week: Apple iPod 80GB – September 21, 2006
CNET Editor’s Choice: Apple fifth-gen updated iPod – ‘best, most attractive iPod to date’ – September 20, 2006
Disney’s remarkable 1st week iTunes movies sales should have studios clambering aboard Apple train – September 20, 2006
Disney sells 125,000 movie downloads via Apple’s iTunes Store in first week – September 19, 2006
PC Magazine review: iTunes 7 ‘Apple’s best effort yet’ (4 stars out of 5) – September 15, 2006
CNET Editor’s Pick: Apple’s new 2G iPod nano – ‘sure to be top choice among wide range of users’ – September 14, 2006
Apple debuts new iPod in 30GB and 80GB with Hollywood movies, games and new lower price – September 12, 2006
Apple intros new iPod nano with new aluminum design in five colors and 24-hour battery life – September 12, 2006
Apple unveils new iPod shuffle: world’s smallest digital music player – September 12, 2006
Apple debuts iTunes 7 – September 12, 2006

Microsoft’s Ballmer: Zune device not money loser, wishes Apple’s 30GB iPod was $299 instead of $249 – October 11, 2006
Microsoft’s consumer electronics track record: long string of failures – October 11, 2006 founder: ‘Zune will be an expensive failure for Microsoft because consumers aren’t stupid’ – October 06, 2006
Microsoft fails to secure key Zune domains – October 04, 2006
Microsoft rigs Zune with tricky pricing and proprietary money schemes – October 03, 2006
Why Microsoft’s Zune won’t kill Apple’s iPod – October 03, 2006
10 Apple iPod vs. Microsoft Zune myths – October 02, 2006
Analyst: Zune could lead to ‘civil war’ between Microsoft and Windows Media partners – September 29, 2006
Thurrott on Microsoft’s Zune: ‘The makings of a disaster, what the heck are these people thinking?’ – September 29, 2006
Analyst: Microsoft Zune’s as good as dead on arrival – September 28, 2006
Microsoft sets 30GB Zune price at $249.99 – September 28, 2006
How Microsoft’s Zune can kill Apple’s iPod – September 21, 2006
Microsoft’s Zune insanity – September 21, 2006
The Microsoft Zune 1.0 dud – September 20, 2006
Microsoft’s underwhelming Zune a ‘viral DRM’ device – September 18, 2006
SanDisk teams with RealNetworks against new common foe: Microsoft Zune – September 18, 2006
Creative does Apple’s dirty work by immediately attacking Microsoft’s Zune – September 17, 2006
Motley Fool’s Jayson: Microsoft’s ‘just plain ugly’ Zune a meager offering, not an iPod killer – September 15, 2006
What’s in a name? ‘Zune’ a French-Canadian euphemism for penis or vagina – September 15, 2006
Crave at CNET: ‘Microsoft Zune, all the excitement that brown can bring’ – September 15, 2006
Microsoft’s Zune underwhelms – September 15, 2006
Enderle: Microsoft Zune ‘a design mistake’ – September 15, 2006
Microsoft hypocrisy exposed with Zune: What ever happened to ‘choice?’ – September 14, 2006
Analyst: Microsoft Zune with fake scroll wheel ‘hardly an Apple iPod killer’ – September 14, 2006
Analyst: Microsoft Zune won’t spoil Apple’s biggest iPod Christmas ever – September 14, 2006
Microsoft unveils Zune 30GB player, Zune Marketplace; declines to disclose prices – September 14, 2006
Analyst: Microsoft’s Zune an ‘underwhelming’ repackaged Toshiba Gigabeat; no threat to Apple iPod – August 30, 2006
Microsoft confirms brick-like Zune to be made by Toshiba – August 25, 2006
Microsoft Zune is chunky brick made by Toshiba – August 25, 2006
Microsoft to spend hundreds of millions, several years on Zune trying to catch Apple iPod+iTunes – July 27, 2006
Zune: Apple cannot lose. Microsoft cannot win. – July 26, 2006


  1. I drove my daughter and a friend to a sleepover yesterday afternoon and the whole way there they shared earbuds connected to one of their nanos, even though they each have one. This type of social networking has been available with the iPod since Day One.

  2. “Microsoft has announced its new iPod competitor, Zune. It says that this device is all about building communities. Are you worried?
    Jobs: In a word, no.

    I love his man. (and i’m a guy)

  3. Rabid Horny Dog,

    Managing your music is not the same as downloading tracks directly to iPod.

    Also, it’s quite possible a future version of iPod will let you buy tracks directly, especially if you consider the new 5.5G iPods’ ability to let you transfer iTunes-bought tracks between computers via iPod. This functionality could allow future iPods to download tracks to iPod (when out and about) and then transfer them to your computer later (when at home). Ta da!

  4. Your wrong Rabid Horny Dog, Zune does NOT let you manage your library from the device. You cannot purchase music from the device, you need a computer. It can only download files from a nearby zune, and then ONLY for three days. If you wish to have the file for more than three days, you need to purchase it with your PC.

    You shouldn’t make comments like that unless you get your facts straight.

    BTW I doubt apple is worried too much, microsoft has a long history of hardware failures, gooogle it.

  5. “I drove my daughter and a friend to a sleepover yesterday afternoon and the whole way there they shared earbuds connected to one of their nanos, even though they each have one. This type of social networking has been available with the iPod since Day One.”

    Great example…my daughter is on a swim team and that form of social sharing at swim meets goes on continuously.

    Further, only one person needs an ipod to share that way. I will truly be surprised if the “social sharing” via wi-fi on the Zune actually takes off.

    However, I do applaud Microsoft for trying to think of something to counteract Apple. I just think it will fail.

  6. Rabid Horny Dog… you are wrong.

    Steve was talking about the past, pre iPod the MP3 players tried to manage everything, and consequentially were complicated and no fun to use.

    The simple iPod revolutionised ease of use.
    Became a Walkman without having to change cassettes and turn them over!

    5000 songs in your pocket AND easy to use.

  7. Compare and Contrast:

    Steve (MonkeyBoy) Ballmer, Speaking about Zune: “We’ll figure out how to make money on the community perhaps later though advertising or other means.”

    Steve Jobs, Speaking about the iPod:”Music is so deep within all of us, but it’s easy to go for a day or a week or a month or a year without really listening to music. And the iPod has changed that for tens of millions of people, and that makes me really happy, because I think music is good for the soul.”

  8. Smart man, that Steve Jobs.

    As for me, I’d choose to manage my music library in iTunes every single time. Not only it is easier and more fun to shop on a 21″ monitor than in a tiny little screen, but also, I’ve got five iPods; imagine having to fiddle around with five separate libraries. That’d be stooopid. Specially with 6,000 songs in a device that could easily be stolen.

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