D8: Steve Jobs on Adobe, Google, how iPad gave birth to iPhone, and much more

MacBook ProApple CEO Steve Jobs appeared live at The Wall Street Journal’seighth annual “D: All Things Digital” (D8) Conference tonight in California.

Highlights included:

• On Adobe’s Flash: “Sometimes when we get rid of things, people call us crazy… But sometimes you just have to pick the things that are going to be the right horse to ride forward… And Flash has had it’s day… but HTML5 is starting emerge… The video looks better and it works better and you don’t need a plugin to run it… We’re just trying to make great products. We don’t think Flash makes a great product, so we’re leaving it out. Instead, we’re going to focus on technologies that are in ascendancy. If we succeed, people will buy them and if we don’t they won’t… and, so far, I have to say, people seem to be liking the iPad. We sell like 3 iPads a second.”

• On Foxconn: “Foxconn is not a sweatshop. They’re got restaurants and swimming pools… For a factory, it’s a pretty nice factory.:” Jobs notes that the recent suicides at Foxconn — which number 15 at last count I think — is still below the national average. “But this is very troubling to us, so we send over our own people and some outside folks as well to look into the issue.”

• On the possibility of removing Google from the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch: “No.”

• On Apple’s acquisition of Siri: “It’s an AI company… We’re not going into search.”

• On AT&T: “They’re doing pretty good in some ways and in others they could do better. We meet with them once a quarter. Remember, they deal with way more data traffic than anyone else. And they’re having trouble. But they have the fastest 3G network and they’re improving. I wish they were improving faster… I’m convinced that any other network, had you put the iPhone on it would have had the same problems… You can bet we’re doing everything we can do… I can tell you what I’m told by reliable people: to make things better, people reallocate spectrum and they do things like increasing backhaul and they put in more robust switches… and things in general, when they start to fix them get worse before they get better… and if you believe that, [then] things should be getting a lot better real soon.”

• On iPad and iPhone: “I’ll tell you a secret. It began with the tablet. Jobs first charged his staff with developing a tablet, but after seeing their first efforts decided the way to go was a phone. ‘My God, I said, this would make a great phone.’ So we shelved the tablet and built the iPhone.”

• On content providers: Content providers are not pricing their offerings as aggressively as they should.

• On the iPad succeeding the notebook: “The transformation of PC to new form factors like the tablet is going to make some people uneasy because the PC has taken us a long ways. The PC is brilliant… and we like to talk about the post-PC era, but it’s uncomfortable… Why wouldn’t they be good for content creation? It can’t be that the software isn’t powerful enough, because the software is improving… These devices over time are going to grow to do new things [like] productivity apps… video editing software…”

• On iAds: [It’s to] make developers more money…. People are using apps way more than they are using search. So if you want to make developers more money, you’ve got to get the ads into apps. But the mobile ads we’ve got today rip you out of the app…” Apple has figured out a better way.

• On Hollywood: “It needs to let people watch the content they want to watch, when they want to watch it and where they want to watch it.. We didn’t invent [HDCP]. The problem is that Hollywood doesn’t want what happened to the music industry to happen to them. You can’t blame them. But content protection isn’t their business and they’re grasping at straws here. But we’ve got to deal with their restrictions… I feel your pain.”

• On the future of TV: “The television industry fundamentally has a subsidized business model that gives everyone a set-tip box and that pretty much undermines innovation in the sector. Ask TiVo, ask Roku, ask Google in a few months. The only way this is going to change is if you start from scratch, tear up the box, redesign and get it to the consumer in a way that they want to buy it. But right now, there’s no way to do that… The TV is going to lose until there’s a viable go-to-market strategy. That’s the fundamental problem with the industry. It’s not a problem with the technology, it’s a problem with the go-to-market strategy… I’m sure smarter people than us will figure this out, but that’s why we say Apple TV is a hobby.”

Full article here.

The D8 Conference pages are here.


  1. Finally, he explains why Apple TV is a “hobby”. And that makes sense. Now all the pundits can shut their fat mouth’s about Apple not giving enough attention to the thing. I have my “hobby” box and I love the hell out of it.

  2. Use some of that 40 B$ to start producing viable TV programming exclusive to iTunes, then combine that with an AT&T;or Verizon 4G service that subsidizes the TV or box. This along with a combined phone, internet everywhere and iTunes content and you’ve created the better product. The only issue then is live broadcasts of sports and getting around their contracts. MLB has mostly solved that. Then you get one bill, and how much would you pay a month for unlimited phone, internet anywhere you go and access to at least what Netflix gives with watch instantly. Then if they would realize they just need to make every Mac shipped an Apple TV then they would increase their foothold for developers. Decide on a low level set of features in the least expensive Mac Mini and MacBook, then every Mac from that day forward including previous more powerful Macs along with every TV and set top Apple TV you sell would use the same apps, games, content etc. all controlled by the same iPhones, iPod touches, iPads, bluetooth game controllers, bluetooth keyboards, what ever. Even specialized controllers that software companies could use GameStops for. That will be disruptive.

    Just my 2¢.

  3. Ok. That last comment about smarter people figuring out TV is almost classic Jobsian admission that Apple is targeting this tech segment with something in the near future. He almost comes out and says we’re not focused on it and not gonna get beyond what we already have. Seems to me he said something similar about reading and about putting movies on the iPod… I’m calling new TV product from apple in less than two years that is no longer a hobby, possibly in the next six months.

  4. I have to agree on everything but AT&T;, AT&T;’s network in Eastern Washington where I work at about 12Kbytes/sec from about 9:00 in the morning till 4:00 PM for data running Edge at 5 bars. I would like to see Steve choke on that all day. Sprint in the same area is about 20x faster when comparing my iPhone to a friends on sprint. Perhaps I live in one of those areas that they could do better.

  5. Also, they could use this to introduce touch to the Mac without it being layered on top of OSX. Just add it into Front Row, have Front Row become the real alt Apple TV it was supposed to be, then you can pull up your iPhone, iPad, touch controlled interface for your media on the Mac but it does not get layered on to the desktop metaphor. Kind of like HP touch smart but not half assed.

  6. I’m with you. I travel in my work, have an iPhone and a Verizon 3G mobile hotspot, a MacBook & an iPad WiFi.
    AT & T can BS all they want- I know better. Verizon 3G has much better coverage and is faster everywhere I have used both. It’s not even close.

  7. I gotta say, PLEX is incredible. I just replaced my SetTopBox with it on a Mac Mini, and linked it up with Canadian provider plugins… CTV, CBC, YouTube…. Watching Mad Men right now. On Demand. Commercial free.

    One step closer to how TV should be.

  8. Ok having two us iPhone carriers soon….
    “you know I can’t comment on that”

    if he can’t comment it’s because he can’t say that there is a continuing definite exclusive deal with att, which he would have.

    There you have it. AT&T;exclusivity is over.

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