Apple's Steve Jobs at D8: Plenty of insight with ammo in reserve for WWDC

Apple's Steve Jobs at D8: Plenty of insight with ammo in reserve for WWDC

Summary: Apple CEO Steve Jobs kicks off the D8 conference with a Q&A session that offers no news but plenty of insight on topics that dominate Apple-related headlines these days.

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Apple CEO Steve Jobs doesn't seem interested in revolutionizing TV the same way his company changed the mobile phone industry. But he is hopeful that newspapers will find a way to tap into iPad technology to keep the news flowing and keep us from becoming a nation that gets its news from bloggers.

Hey, should I be offended?

Apple's CEO spent 90 minutes Tuesday evening on the stage of the "D: All Things Digital" conference, kicking off the event, which is being held near Los Angeles this week. During the Q&A session, he tackled a lot of different topics - from the iPhone prototype that was lost/stolen and the back-and-forth battles with Adobe over Flash to his thoughts on AT&T's network and the competitive relationship with Google (Techmeme).

There was no news, of course. Jobs will be back on stage in less than a week to deliver a keynote address at his company's Worldwide Developers Forum in San Francisco. That's where everyone seems to expect the big iPhone announcement to take place.

But he did offer some insight into where tablet computing might be going and why television isn't necessarily the industry that he wants to tackle, something many of us had already figured out given the company's lack of love for its AppleTV product.

I wasn't in the audience at the D8 conference so my take on the event is based solely on what I've read in tweets, live blogs and other posts. What I've gathered from his comments about TV, it seems that until the set-top box can be blown up and re-launched with some sort of new user interface, there isn't room for yet another set-top box on the television.

He jabbed at companies like Roku and TiVo, which have tried to enhance the TV viewing experience with set-top boxes of their own - but really haven't gained much traction. He even jabbed at Google, which announced Google TV at the I/O developer's conference last month.

I don't know that I necessarily agree with Jobs' assessment of television's future, largely because consumers have shown that they can be receptive to new technologies if the companies providing them offer enough value. TiVo introduced a disruptive technology that people loved once they understood it. But it also made huge marketing and advertising missteps in its early years, as well as some poor partnership deals that forced into becoming a perpetually niche product while cable and satellite companies offered DVR technology in their own set-top boxes.

Google, on the other hand, recognized that consumers want to be able to watch all content on their living rooms screens - whether from a cable provider or hosted on the Web - and has come up with a multi-pronged approach that includes set-top boxes but also TVs themselves that would have its technology built in.

Newspapers, Jobs said, are in trouble and could make some money by bringing their content to platforms like the iPad - but they're going to have to get more aggressive about cutting their prices, going for volume and figuring out ways for people to pay for hard-earned content.

Asked if tablets could replace laptops, Jobs used the analogy of early automobiles. Trucks were the preferred vehicles because people needed them for their farms. But, over time, transportation evolved and people started to buy passenger cars. That didn't spell the end for trucks - it just fragmented the markets into different types of buyers. The same goes for the laptop/tablet game.

Finally, in terms of AT&T and its exclusive relationship for the iPhone in the U.S., Jobs offered no hints of a deal with other carriers in the future but did say that AT&T has the fastest 3G service in the nation and that's it's getting better - but that he also wishes it would get better faster.

So do we, Steve. So do we.

Key videos to watch:

On AT&T...

On TV...

More on the D8 video page

Topics: Apple, Hardware, Laptops, Mobility, Tablets

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28 comments
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  • Looking healthy as a horse.

    It's nice to see that he has fully recovered and hasn't lost his energy after all he's been through.
    rynning
    • RE: Apple's Steve Jobs at D8: Plenty of insight with ammo in reserve for WWDC

      @rynning -
      http://www.barcampabidjan.info/learn-iphone-programming-make-money-myth-or-reality.html

      I wonder if anybody bought Canabalt for $2.99 -- originally a **FLASH** game, which never crashed anybody's browser, did the makers have to learn Objective-C or did they go against Steve and use an alternate method to recompile... for $3, it's overpriced, but that's beside the point.
      HypnoToad72
    • RE: Apple's Steve Jobs at D8: Plenty of insight with ammo in reserve for WWDC

      @rynning - and I wonder if he was as choosy about his liver as he is about how his developers work for him.
      HypnoToad72
      • And I wonder if it takes a special kind of jackass

        to compare a liver transplant to writing a piece of software.
        frgough
    • RE: Apple's Steve Jobs at D8: Plenty of insight with ammo in reserve for WWDC

      @rynning

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    • RE: Apple's Steve Jobs at D8: Plenty of insight with ammo in reserve for WWDC

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  • RE: Apple's Steve Jobs at D8: Plenty of insight with ammo in reserve for WWDC

    Steve is right about TV. We're not talking about a new technology, and thus TV will become one of the items available with a vast amount of content. Now first off, TV is broadcast and has been from its inception. In the 70s a few new communities decided they didn't want ugly TV antennas on the roofs of their housing, so they opted for cable.

    From there on video was a service, not a right, as TV was an outcome of the 1934 Communications Act parceling out available spectrum for broadcast.

    Today we have no broadcast for all practical purposes, although the major networks and local stations still broadcast their TV shows. But this is relegated to mostly rural areas where broadband hasn't been cost effective.

    So Steve is right. There's no reason to be concerned about TV, because TV will be brought along into the 21st Century kicking and screaming.
    RWNorman
  • RE: Apple's Steve Jobs at D8: Plenty of insight with ammo in reserve for WWDC

    Steve is right about TV. We're not talking about a new technology, and thus TV will become one of the items available with a vast amount of content. Now first off, TV is broadcast and has been from its inception. In the 70s a few new communities decided they didn't want ugly TV antennas on the roofs of their housing, so they opted for cable.<br><br>From there on video was a service, not a right, as TV was an outcome of the 1934 Communications Act parceling out available spectrum for broadcast.<br><br>Today we have no broadcast for all practical purposes, although the major networks and local stations still broadcast their TV shows. But this is relegated to mostly rural areas where broadband hasn't been cost effective.<br><br>So Steve is right. There's no reason to be concerned about TV, because TV will be brought along into the 21st Century kicking and screaming.
    RWNorman
  • RE: Apple's Steve Jobs at D8: Plenty of insight with ammo in reserve for WWDC

    Here's why I think Google's TV project will succeed where Apple can't: they're partnered up with <a href="http://www.skylinksystems.com">DISH</a>, so they can use their existing infrastructure to reach TV customers. They don't have to reinvent the wheel like Apple. This isn't like the iPod, which was a totally new thing - people already have TVs and cable, so their impulse to switch providers is lower.
    sasha84
    • Except that, the iPod wasn't a totally new thing

      there were scads of mp3 players on the market when the iPod was introduced.

      Google TV will fail for the same reason all web TV fails. TV is passive entertainment. The web is interactive entertainment. No one wants to sit with a keyboard on their lap to watch television. For some strange reason, geeks still can't wrap their brain around that concept.
      frgough
    • "Reinvent the wheel"??

      @sasha84

      iPhone uses an established carrier. Apple did not create their own branded mobile virtual network operator.

      iChat plugs into AOL's messaging network -- AND can connect to several others via Jabber. Apple did not create their own branded instant messaging network.

      The iGadgets use Google Search and Earth. Apple did not create their own branded services (like MS has tried to do by their failed acquisition of Yahoo and their home-rolled Bing).

      So, the broad conclusion that Apple always reinvents their wheels is not totally accurate -- or totally applicable. True, in some instances (iTunes Store), but not all-encompassing.

      Your bringing up Google and Dish Network totally proves Jobs' point: Dish Network only operates in the United State and Mexico. Therefore, a global reach is not possible through them, exclusively, and so Google TV's impact on television broadcasting as a whole will probably be minimal.

      In the D8 video I saw of Jobs addressing this issue he took a long and hard pause, searching for the right adjective to the state of all of this. The word he ended up using is accurate: the TV (distribution) industry is very "balkanized". Different technical standards, different delivery mediums, different licensing across several territories, worldwide (which STILL inhibits online viewing of "TV shows"), varying royalty and revenue structures and on and on. And everyone is set in their ways, too scared to venture forth. Apple has been through enough challenges getting the record labels and film and TV content creators to get onto iTunes that trying to get a WORLDWIDE service going is probably beyond their desire and energy at this time, and the only way Apple seems t launch and permeate markets is to do it on a global level, not regional. It aint gonna happen -- for Apple, Google or anyone else...

      But here's something I have come to learn about Jobs, being a follower of his for many years. NEVER trust his word when it comes to anything Apple may or may not do in the future. His modus operandi is to talk something "down" in public while Apple is toiling away on it in private... and then release it as a "reinvention" of something other companies have already failed to do. Given how things have gone for Apple over the past ten years I'd say the strategy works!
      dropzone@...
    • What about directv?

      @sasha84 From persona experience I can tell you that DISH is markedly inferior to Directv: both hardware and, in particular, software.

      I don't understand what partnering with Satellite TV means for Google TV. Satellite bandwidth is expensive. I know this because I pay the Hughes satellite people $80. per month for 425 internet gigs a day though there is a five hour unlimited download time from 11PM to 4AM pacific time.

      I presume Google would offer internet content through DISH. Is this correct? If this is so and the prices are low I might switch from Hughes to DISH, but then there's the pesky bandwidth issue.

      Can somebody out there enlighten me on what is going on here with Google and DISH?
      godsfault
  • Is he still going to say how nobody uses Java?

    http://blogs.msdn.com/b/sprague/archive/2007/01/18/java.aspx

    I love this guy. He tries so hard to manipulate the market for his company's sole benefit...
    HypnoToad72
    • Company's benefit

      @HypnoToad72 And Ballmer doesn't? Or any other CEO (or Chairman or VP or...).
      levinson
    • Surprise

      NEWSFLASH - CEO tries to "manipulate the market for his company's sole benefit". Amazing, Apple shareholders should be in the streets protesting.<br><br>levinson wrties:<br>"And Ballmer doesn't? "<br><br>If he does I haven't seen any evidence of it. The man drives people away<br><br>Sam writes: <br>"Hey, should I be offended?"<br><br>Good one.<br><br>Bring on the WWDC, sadly I won't be there this year (it's been too long).
      Richard Flude
    • Re: Is he still going to say how nobody uses Java?

      @HypnoToad72
      Who do you mean by "this guy"? If you mean Richard Sprague, who wrote the blog you linked, I agree. On the page that you linked, Sprague tells us:

      "Bookmark this page and come back in December 2008 if Apple sells anywhere near the 10M phones Jobs predicts for 2008"

      Well, Apple sold 11.6 million in 2008 and now they've sold more than 50 million iPhones.
      StandardPerson
  • Profit protection

    Apparently Jobs wants TV to change, but doesn't want to be the one to do it... but he could. I'd say... obviously, he could do what Google is doing, plus combine broadcast, cable, and Internet audio/video delivery... and bring about the convergence much faster... but he wants to sell iPads right now. Trouble is... he'd be putting an Apple computer in a box and calling it a TV settop box... he doesn't want to cannabalize the other product lines with a cheap convergence device. Just another corporate CEO who wants to milk the markets, at least for another 5+/- years. There seems to be always just a little bit 'missing'... whether it's bluetooth, or stereo, or dual cams or multitasking, etc... saved for the next product or for partner-contractual milk the market reasons.
    RpDnn
  • RE: Apple's Steve Jobs at D8: Plenty of insight with ammo in reserve for WW

    All of the 'corporate bashing' that goes on here is simply annoying at best and ignorant at worst. The Free Enterprise system of competition, open marketplaces, transparent finances, et al is the life's blood of the modern world. Even 'communist' China has embraced it. Corporations are no more evil than they are allowed to be by their customers for the most part. The CEOs answer to a board of directors and stockholders, not to mention the market place where their ideas and products live or die on their own merits. Notwithstanding a corporation which has a monopoly and abuses it, like Microsoft has been convicted in the past, corporations by their design if not nature are probably more 'ethical' than most average human beings. The world watches corporations a whole lot more closely than you or I.
    Mr. Jobs has already made several 'dents in the universe' and if he doesn't see a market in revolutionizing TV I suspect his vision is better than mine on that count.
    dheady@...
    • Spot on

      Lift up the blanket covering "evil" business, and you'll find government in the bed.
      frgough
    • RE: Apple's Steve Jobs at D8: Plenty of insight with ammo in reserve for WW

      @dheady@... You are one of the extreme minority here. Someone that actually knows what he is talking about.
      Serton