Apple CEO Steve Jobs’ top six sneakiest statements

“Steve Jobs was reportedly wearing a top hat when he visited New York publishers last week. It’s a fitting lid for the Apple CEO, who can be as tricky as a magician,” Brian X. Chen writes for Wired. “Jobs has a knack for throwing off Apple watchers with his masterful misdirections.”

“Ever wonder why analysts and journalists grossly overestimated the price of the Apple tablet prior to its official announcement? Part of the reason is that Jobs had said during a 2008 earnings call that Apple could not make a $500 computer that was not a ‘piece of junk.’ That assertion lent credence to rumors that the tablet would cost $1,000,” Chen writes. “Oops. The entry-level iPad announced in January will cost: $500, at least at the low end of scale. Presumably Jobs doesn’t consider it a piece of junk.”

Chen writes, “What follows is a list of five more famously misleading quotes that Jobs pulled from his bag of tricks.”

• No Plans to Make a Tablet (iPad)
• Not Interested in the Cellphone Business (iPhone)
• People Don’t Read Any More (e-reader)
• No Movies on a Tiny Little Screen (video iPods)
• We Don’t Need to Add New Stuff (camera in iPod touch)

Full article here.

26 Comments

  1. Dates important.

    For example the ‘No Plans to make a tablet’ was 2003!

    In computer years thats in the Jurassic. All kinds of things changed: multi touch tech, battery life etc.

    sure there might be stuff on the drawing boards 7 years ago but they say vast majority of concepts Apple thinks about doesn’t end up as products. If in 2003 Apple said they were interested in tablets people will be bashing Apple endlessly if they didn’t sell one in late 2003 or early 2004!!!

    If Apple has a virtual reality 3D interface in concept planning but not be ready until say 2018 or might not even ship, what should Apple say today if asked about it, should they say ‘we’re planning it?” Microsoft would as they seem to thrive on vaporware…

  2. Along the same timing lines, Steve also said that 3G was a battery hog and it wasn’t ubiquitous enough (paraphrasing). Of course, the unspoken intent of what he said included “at this time.” It was coming, he just didn’t say when. When talking about Apple products, he only speaks in the present tense. He doesn’t look back, and he doesn’t discuss what’s to come.

    Steve doesn’t talk about the future, because he doesn’t know what it is…until he creates it.

  3. “…. don’t know how to make a $500 computer that’s not a piece of junk ….”

    Some say the iPad is not a ‘computer’ in the ‘traditional sense’. Of course, the Mac was never a computer in the ‘traditional sense’ when it was introduced.

    The very word ‘computer’ is really an anachronism. The devices we call computers are multi-use portals, communicators, media conduits. There is a ‘computer’ in there somewhere … the part that does the ‘computing’ … but we will sooner or later have to find another word. Same thing with phones. How is a device which is becoming more and more visually oriented still called a ‘phone’. I don’t mind a little cognitive dissonance in my life, but words do have real meanings.

    I think Steve Jobs likes to play with the meanings of words and so a statement like “we don’t know how to make a $500 computer that’s not a piece of junk” has to be parsed carefully. Especially in retrospect.

    Keeping people guessing is the best way to maintain a competitive advantage in business … as long as you also deliver.

  4. So Steve Jobs doesn’t want the world (and competitors) to know about what Apple is doing to gain marketing and competitive advantage. Meanwhile, other CEOs feel compelled to brag about things that are “coming Holidays 2010” or kill sales of their company’s existing products by PRE-announcing the replacement a few quarters in advance.

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