Adobe and Google, the stolen phone, the iPad of yesterday, today and tomorrow. But also privacy and Apple, advertising through applications and the work that is being done in Cupertino on the synchronization of content, music and video, via wireless. This and much more there was in the interview meeting that, tonight, saw Steve Jobs as protagonist at All Things D, the big event that every year sees the main actors of the world of technology as protagonists and that this year in its evening of opening had guest Steve Jobs.
Interviewed (transcripts from C / Net and Egadget) by Kara Swisher and Walt Mossberg (Wall Street Journal journalists and event organizers), Jobs did not escape the fire of questions by also talking to some of those present in the room who were able introduce him to some topic to comment.
One of the most interesting parts of the long face-to-face, revolved around the issues of competitiveness and in particular the story that opposes Apple to Adobe. Jobs justified the stop to Flash for a strategic reason: the desire not to waste resources. We don't have the possibility to ride more horses, we have to choose wisely – Jobs said -; doing so (choosing not to support Flash NDR) saved us a lot of work. We did this by abandoning the floppy, the serial and parallel ports or by embracing the USB. They gave us crazy things, but we did what we had to do according to our strategies. As regards specifically the abandonment of Flash, this was therefore a decision made by eminently evaluating the technical problem to avoid complicating the situation for Apple engineers working on the mobile platform. We didn't want to make a war on Flash or at least not the state – Jobs said – until Adobe was the one to make controversy. My letter "considerations on Flash" arrived only when we got tired of being mocked in the press. We have the courage to support our convictions – Jobs continued – and we are willing to support the consequences because we want to make the best possible products for our customers. If we succeed, people buy them, otherwise they don't. To date it seems that people love the iPad, we sell one every three seconds.
According to the Apple CEO, however, there is currently no mobile phone that supports Flash and soon 50% of the content will be in HTML5 against 25% today. Hypercard in his day was more important than Flash
Jobs then talked about the comparison with other protagonists of the world of technology and the battles, old and new, going on with the competition. The CEO of Apple has denied the approach to competition at its roots, rather than the strict sense of business: We have never thought of it this way; for example, we have never seen each other in a platform war with Microsoft and this is probably why we lost against them. We think about how to create better products. The same thing happens with Google: They are the ones who have decided to compete against us; for our part we have not entered the research business. However, we will not remove Google from the iPhone, but we will try to make better products than their own. If people appreciate them, we will have a future. And then not just because we have an industry where we compete this means immediately that we have to use bad manners.
Jobs then talked about privacy, the way Apple treats customer personal data and the closed ecosystem of the App Store. Privacy is very important to us – says Jobs – and for this reason applications that use GPS must have an explicit approval system. This is the reason why we created the App Store. That privacy is important Apple experienced it firsthand; we saw that a company called Flurry had information about the devices we use on our campus and this was because some developers installed in their applications that sent information to this company. This made us jump out of the chair. For this reason we have decided to allow analysis systems only to collect information only for advertising.
Jobs then mentioned precisely the advertising via iAD: what we understood that those who use a phone do not visit sites a lot but love applications. Today's advertisements take you out of the application. Wouldn't it be exceptional, we said to ourselves, if an advertisement didn't do this? Our competitors in this respect are very few. Jobs said the main purpose was to make developers make money. We won't get a big deal
When Jobs was made aware that, in any case, the App Store system appears too closed, the CEO has denied that there is a problem because Apple actually has two platforms on which it is possible to work: HTML 5 which is completely open and which we enthusiastically support and the App Store platform. On the latter we have some rules that are basic: an application must do what it says, must not crash and must not use undocumented APIs; this is the reason why we reject most applications. However, we approve 95% of applications per week and thousands every day. Then Jobs let himself go by commenting bitterly on the episodes in which Apple is involved with the allegations of censorship: We do the best we can to fix our mistakes. Then there is always someone who does what should not, uses undocumented Bees or creates applications that do things that are not allowed, runs from the press and talks about oppression and thus obtains his quarter of an hour of advertising. We don't go to the newspapers instead to say "this guy is an infamous liar". No, we don't do these things
Jobs then spoke at length about the iPad, also revealing some unpublished details, such as its origins as an "ancestor" of the iPhone and hinged around a multitouch screen. Jobs' idea of a multitouch screen product was born in the early 2000s while we were working on a tablet. I was thinking of a screen on which one could write. I spoke to our technicians and six months later they arrived with these incredible screens. I passed the display to one of our most brilliant guys who deal with human interface. This submitted to me the inertial sliding project and many other things and I thought: damn, this could make a phone out of it. So we put the tablet aside and moved to work on the phone that became iPhone. Jobs then explained that handwriting is a slow system. So we reimagined the tablet, doing what Microsoft didn't do. They have a completely different idea from ours; their PC-based tablet which has battery life, weight and also has a slider. The moment you abandon a pen and have only the precision of a finger, you must also abandon the idea of a traditional Os. Jobs then answered a question about the future for iPad in which, thanks to faster processors, he will be able to do other things, such as editing, content creation: Time will have the chance to say it….
The image with which Jbs described iPad is interesting: when we were an agricultural nation most of the motor vehicles were trucks. Now people moved into urban centers and began to buy cars. I think PCs are like trucks; fewer people need it and this is making someone uncomfortable. The PC took us very far; it is an incredible machine but times change; we are immersed in this revolution. Will the iPad replace the PC and when will it happen? Next year or in five years? Who knows?
Jobs did not even avoid the question about the phone lost at the bar, giving his version, although he did not fail to emphasize that there is an ongoing investigation and that therefore it is not possible to say everything. The person who took the phone connected it to a roommate's computer, this guy wanted to destroy the evidence. And his partner called the police. an incredible story, there is a theft, those who buy stolen goods, there is an extortion. And I'm sure there will be sex somewhere too. There is an investigation and I don't know how it will end; I can only say what I know. If you have to try a phone you have to do it on the field. One of our employees had one and it is clear whether he left it in a bar or was stolen from the bag. The one who is sure that the guy who found it tried to sell it and called Engadget and Gizmodo. Jobs then made it clear that he has no intention of letting go of the affair: They advised me to pretend that it was not fair to pursue a journalist just because he bought a stolen property and then tried to carry out an extortion (Jobs probably refers to the fact that Gizmodo asked for more attention from the Apple press offices after getting their hands on the iPhone NDR). I thought about it but I concluded that the worst thing would have been to change our founding values and let it go. I can not do that. I'd rather resign
Jobs then seemed to confirm the idea of a system based "on the cloud" for content synchronization: we want to allow people to watch what they want where they want. We need to allow people to share their documents on various devices. Today you can do these operations with a cable but not without a cable. We have to work hard on this and do better. Will it happen soon? We are working on it. And then answering a question that spoke of sharing and access to the file system (therefore the possibility of managing files and folders) we are working on several things
Apple's CEO hasn't even avoided Foxconn suicide questions: they don't have a forced labor camp. They have cinemas and restaurants. The suicide rate, 13 out of 400,000 employees, is lower than that of the United States than 11 per 100,000 people. Despite this, it is something of concern. We are trying to understand and find a solution. However, we do what nobody does: let's see how people work and how even their suppliers, secondary and tertiary ones work.
In the final part also a mention of his personal and human condition. Would you add anything – asked by the public referring to a public speech to Stanford graduates – to that speech five years ago? I have no idea. I would probably say even louder what I said. The last few years have reminded me that fragile life