Steve Jobs shared secrets of Apple’s iPad but nobody listened

iPadOS introduces powerful new ways to work with multiple files and documents on iPad, and opens up new creativity and productivity possibilities using Apple Pencil.
iPadOS introduces powerful new ways to work with multiple files and documents on iPad, and opens up new creativity and productivity possibilities using Apple Pencil.

Daniel Eran Dilger for AppleInsider:

Jobs didn’t just unveil the iPad as a new product in 2010. He talked at length during the media event, providing a deep look into Apple’s strategic thinking on the subject of tablets. It was as if Jobs were giving the industry a Xerox PARC style tour of the secret labs inside Apple. He not only revealed the next big thing that would radically change the computing landscape but also detailed exactly what was going to make it commercially successful.

To compete for relevance and fill a valuable niche between a regular PC and a phone, Jobs said iPad would need to be much simpler to use than a PC. And to stand apart as useful next to a smartphone, it would be critical to have tablet-optimized mobile apps that were more sophisticated than a phone. These ideas may seem obvious today, but were once opposed and defied by competitors and critics.

In effect Jobs had detailed the exact x:y coordinates of the sweet spot for selling tablets to consumers. Why didn’t anyone listen? In part, it was because copying Apple strategy would require enormous amounts of work and required product development skills its competitors didn’t have.

MacDailyNews Take: And Jobs knew it. An iPad is not a Mac with a touch screen. It’s an iPad.


  1. In my opinion, the iPad reveal was Jobs’s greatest keynote performance. He brilliantly made the case for why tablets were an important category, and which tasks the iPad would perform better than the iPhone or Mac.

    1. And the iPad was introduced at roughly half the price of other tablet computers at the time, because everyone was expecting a miniaturized Mac, not an enlarged iPhone.

    1. Your “Nothing more!” statement sounds like the wishful thinking of a very desperate man. You’re going to be very surprised (and upset) over the next decade.

      1. Censorship upsets me, true. It is cause for despair.
        It also upsets me when hardware is intentionally crippled.

        I have 2 iPad Pros and several Android tablets. None can replace my PCs, including my Mac.

    1. Agreed, nothing tops:
      “Well, today, we’re introducing three revolutionary products of this class.
      The first one: is a widescreen iPod with touch controls.
      The second: is a revolutionary mobile phone.
      And the third is a breakthrough Internet communications device.

      So, three things: a widescreen iPod with touch controls; a revolutionary mobile phone; and a breakthrough Internet communications device.
      An iPod, a phone, and an Internet communicator. An iPod, a phone … are you getting it? ”

      Are you getting it?

      1. Widescreen iPod. Awesome, that is true.
        Adding a phone to it was an evolutionary jump, and not the first.
        An internet communicator, meh. Thank goodness for the Internet.

        The most profound, rightly so, but not without some drawbacks was the full face screen. In many ways the iPad is still catching up to DOS. If DOS could do it, don’t tell me it’s “magical”.

  2. History repeats for Apple… Go back to Macintosh. Big “mainframe” computers used a command line interface. Cryptic commands typed at a screen prompt. Take that proven interface and reuse it for personal computers, and that’s MS-DOS (and also Apple II). Then came Macintosh, and soon, all personal computers were Macs or imitation Macs.

    Most early smartphone interfaces scaled down the GUI of computers. They typically had a tiny physical keyboard, and a stylus (or maybe a tiny trackball) replaced the mouse with pull-down menus and boxes. Reuse a proven interface. Then came iPhone, and soon, all smartphones were iPhones or imitation iPhones.

    Without Apple Watch, the smart watch interface would likely be a scaled down smartphone interface. Even with iPod and its click wheel, Apple designed an elegant and efficient interface for that purpose, instead of simply re-purposing an existing user interface.

    It’s all quite obvious AFTER Apple shows the world how, AFTER initial resistance and skepticism. iPad is another example and Jobs recognized that it must be more than just a scaled up iPhone to be truly successful.

    1. My friend, you grossly underrated estimate Mr. Cook. Steve was a visionary genius and Cook is not at all the same. He is a genuis at delegating, with full knowledge that no one could possibly replace Steve. He wisely picked a lot of people to do the job of Jobs. It has made Apple the world’s highest valued company. That’s something Steve could not achieve, but he knew who could. As usual, he was right.

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