Steve Jobs is right about tablets, right about RIM, wrong about Android, and kills off the "7-inch iPad" nonsense

Steve Jobs is right about tablets, right about RIM, wrong about Android, and kills off the "7-inch iPad" nonsense

Summary: Apple CEO Steve Jobs was in fighting spirits during yesterday's earnings conference call and found the time to take swipes at, well, pretty much every Apple competitor out there.

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Apple CEO Steve Jobs was in fighting spirits during yesterday's earnings conference call and found the time to take swipes at, well, pretty much every Apple competitor out there.

This is the first time we've heard Jobs address investors for two years, and he took the opportunity to attack almost everything non-Apple.

Let's start with tablets. Here's what Jobs had to say

"The current crop of 7-inch tablets are going to be DOA, dead on arrival. Their manufacturers will learn the painful lesson that their tablets are too small."

I agree with Jobs on this one. I believe that price has more to do with 7-inch tablets than portability or usability does. OEMs like the idea of 7-inch tablets because they'll be cheaper than 9.7-inch tablets like the iPad. In theory a 7-inch screen tablet sounds like a good idea, but in practice it's a size that falls uncomfortably between the iPad and smartphones. Too large to carry like a cellphone, too small to use like a proper tablet.

The fact that Jobs attacked 7-inch tablets so hard is the best indication to date that Apple doesn't have plans for a 7-inch iPad. I never believed that there were any plans for a 7-inch iPad outside of the minds of people who spend their time building houses of cards out of guesses and hunches. And that's putting it mildly. In fact, I'd go as far as to say that the 7-inch iPad "rumors" were little more than slow news day BS.

It's hard to see how Apple could have competitively priced a 7-inch iPad given the cost of the screen compared to the total component cost of the device.

I sense a rocky road for 7-inch tablets.

Let's now shift out attention to what Jobs had to say about RIM:

"I don't see them catching up with us in the foreseeable future."

Makes sense. RIM nowadays seems to be more interested in clinging onto its existing customer base than dramatically expanding.

Google's Android platform came under scrutiny:

"Unlike Windows, where most PCs have the same user interface and run the same apps, many Android OEMs, including the two largest, HTC and Motorola, install user interfaces to differentiate themselves. Compare this with iPhone, where every handset looks the same."

He went on to say:

"We think Android is very, very fragmented and becomes more so every day. We think this is a huge strength of our approach when compared to Google's. We think integrated will trump fragmented every time."

And:

"The multiple hardware and software iterations presents developers with a daunting challenge."

I think that Jobs is trying to make out that the Android market is far more fragmented and differentiated than it actually is. Sure, there are plenty of handsets on offer, but underneath a thin veneer of customizations Android is Android. And as 2.0+ versions of the OS take over from earlier versions, the fragmentation issue is getting better, as opposed to getting worse.

And what about those multiple handsets from a variety of OEMs (and offered of a variety of networks)? What Jobs sees as fragmentation, others see as choice.

Jobs did go on to make a point about Android in general that I agree with:

Apple strives for the integrated model so that the user isn't forced to be the systems integrator. We see tremendous value at having Apple, rather than our users, be the systems integrator. We think this a huge strength of our approach compared to Google's. When selling to users who want their devices to just work, we believe that integrated will trump fragmented every time.

That's a good point, and strikes at the heart of what Android ultimately is - a platform for people who relish technology and like to tinker. iOS is designed with consumers in mind. Android is designed with geeks in mind.

Jobs spend a lot of time Google-bashing during the conference call, going well beyond the swipes he took at other competitors. It's clear that Google, or at least Android, that represents the biggest threat to Apple's business today. Apple no longer sees Microsoft as a threat.

Oh, and for your entertainment, I give you Steve Jobs' five minute Google rant. Enjoy!

No matter what you think of Apple, that was one heck of an earnings conference call!

Topics: Hardware, Apple, iPad, Laptops, Mobility, BlackBerry, Tablets

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59 comments
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  • Tablet technology is overhyped

    Netbooks are currently outselling iPads by a margin of 4:1.

    Steve Jobs seems to overlook that and is more than a bit disingenuous himself when he characterizes Google, Android in an 'open' vs. 'closed' context. Does he truly not know what was meant by 'open'? I think not.

    fyi:
    http://www.reghardware.com/2010/10/14/netbook_shipments_vs_tablets/

    Netbook sales will continue to eclipse tablet sales for at least another year.

    The iPad, in particular, is really a niche, walled garden product.
    Dietrich T. Schmitz, ~ Your Linux Advocate
    • I kind of view tablets as a netbook without the keyboard. For now, I might

      like a plain old larger screen netbook (11.5 inches), but, with a touchscreen.

      I bet that apple will announce some larger screen tablets soon, and, some smaller screen Macbook Airs.
      DonnieBoy
    • RE: Steve Jobs is right about tablets, right about RIM, wrong about Android, and kills off the

      @Dietrich T. Schmitz, Your Linux Advocate Android maybe open, but the US carriers are making it closed, they are adding things to make root harder and harder to get.
      mrlinux
      • RE: Steve Jobs is right about tablets, right about RIM, wrong about Android, and kills off the

        @mrlinux I cant remember who it was, but someone released an android based phone over the summer that was rooted the same day it was released. not sure how thats making things harder......
        nickdangerthirdi@...
      • RE: Steve Jobs is right about tablets, right about RIM, wrong about Android, and kills off the

        @mrlinux Yup, some are. That's the problem with freedom... everyone gets to use it or abuse it their own way. Given today's free flow of information, it's pretty clear that, as long as fully open hardware is demanded, there will be customers rejecting that sort of thing. And laws, perhaps. Reviewers need to be diligent in exposing these limitations, and consumers need to be vocal about why they're rejecting a particular phone model. This can be stopped, but not if everyone assumes it's just inevitable.
        Hazydave
    • RE: Steve Jobs is right about tablets, right about RIM, wrong about Android, and kills off the

      "The iPad, in particular, is really a niche, walled garden product."

      Really? Is that just a jab to get people going or do you truely believe that? My iPad quickly replaced my netbook, and may very well replace my laptop too. Sure there is a learning curve, and content creation is different, but this is an outstanding computing device that will only get better, netbooks will be replaced by tablets, and I doubt any other tablet will outshine the iPad any time soon.
      E Conner
      • RE: Steve Jobs is right about tablets, right about RIM, wrong about Android, and kills off the

        @E Conner
        Yeah, Really!
        sackbut
      • RE: Steve Jobs is right about tablets, right about RIM, wrong about Android, and kills off the

        @E Conner
        I agree with this. I can't believe how my iPad is my second appendage (my iPhone being the other), and I only use my netbook when my iPad is currently charging, which I might add is few and far between charges. I was happy to experience such a robust and functional product owning an iPad. So far the tablet prototypes out there seem to be small, ugly buggers. HA!
        iMaverick
      • RE: Steve Jobs is right about tablets, right about RIM, wrong about Android, and kills off the

        @E Conner
        You may not use your laptop for any serious tasks, but for a heavy user no matter how much one likes the concept of the iPad, its not going to replace a laptop due to its single tasking limitations, and if you need to do a lot of typing a keyboard has a definite advantage.
        Of course if apple brings out one with multitasking and a usb connection so you can plug a keyboard in that may change, but I don't think thats coming soon.

        the lack of flash support is also another reason to not abandon the laptop but thats a more personal thing and may not bother some as much.
        toviz@...
      • RE: Steve Jobs is right about tablets, right about RIM, wrong about Android, and kills off the

        @E Conner

        If you plan on replacing your laptop with an iPad, then you probably dont do a lot with your laptop. Keyboard wins over touchscreen for data entry every time (imo).
        The Horns
    • RE: Steve Jobs is right about tablets, right about RIM, wrong about Android, and kills off the

      @Dietrich T. Schmitz, Your Linux Advocate ... sure Dietrich, sales of 4.19 million units in one quarter really seems a niche market to me, lol?
      ron.connal@...
      • RE: Steve Jobs is right about tablets, right about RIM, wrong about Android, and kills off the

        @ron.connal@... There are 6 billion people on the planet, 4.19 mill isnt a drop in the bucket
        nickdangerthirdi@...
    • RE: Steve Jobs is right about tablets, right about RIM, wrong about Android, and kills off the

      @Dietrich T. Schmitz: Jobsie is a marketing guy. You would think that, one of these days, someone would explain to him the meaning of "open" (well, the various meanings of "open", in-context).

      And while they're at it, they ought to explain to him the main purpose of an OS -- to isolate applications from hardware. His claim of "integerated" systems failed back in the early Mac days (the early Macs were among the most abysmal hardware designs ever inflicted on the computer buying public, a shame after the excellent Apple ][ series), and it's even less appropos today... in a world where Macs ARE exactly the same as PCs, and pretty much all smart phones and tablets, including Apple's, are based on the same SOC cores from ARM and a few others (Apple's A4 is a stripped-down versions of the SOCs Samsung's using in the Galaxy S series).
      Hazydave
  • "Apple no longer sees Microsoft as a threat."

    That line must be really depressing reading for those oh so silly Microsoft fans.

    iSteve no longer cares about what Microsoft does or does not, bwahaha.
    OS Reload
    • Well, without MS, Jobs would sell a lot more computers, but, for the time

      being, he is more than willing to let MS self-destruct, they are doing a fine job without any help from Apple.
      DonnieBoy
    • RE: Steve Jobs is right about tablets, right about RIM, wrong about Android, and kills off the

      @OS Reload

      Reverse the names and I was pretty sure I read that same line about 12 years ago regarding Apple.
      Yax_to_the_Max
    • I can't understand why you're so fixated on MS..

      @OS Reload At the end of the day the iPad is a toy; a very good toy mind you. I have access to ipads/iphones but choose RIM for corporate use and Android for personal use. The iPad is way too big for practical office use and I would't be so cocky if I were you or iJobs. I've long advocated a smaller pad and 7" does it for me. Something I'm likely to uplift as I go about my job, something like the natty clamshell designs I spotted earlier today.

      Ipad is largely consumer use as far as I'm concerned and does serve a good purpose in internet and movie content. Business wise... give me a smaller gadget that sits on the right side of the firewall any day.

      The next few months will be interesting! And you should open your mind before your mouth!
      johnmckay
      • RE: Steve Jobs is right about tablets, right about RIM, wrong about Android, and kills off the

        @GetReal-mac.com a toy and a tool
        small|great
        lyt/lite|big

        http://google.com/groups?q=%22Comparisons+for+the+illiterate%22
        ​
  • RE: Steve Jobs is right about tablets, right about RIM, wrong about Android, and kills off the

    What a fucking blowhard. People actually listen to this drivel?
    Droid101
    • What drivel, which blowhard? Are you talking about Jobs or Adrian?

      NT
      DonnieBoy