10 highlights from the D8 Steve Jobs interview

A two-hour Jobsathon boiled down into a two-minute read

iPhone 3GS

Last night Apple CEO Steve Jobs joined Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher at the All Things Digital D8 conference.

Over nearly two hours Jobs talked passionately about Apple products, explained the origin of the iPad and made it abundantly clear what he thought of Digital Rights Management (DRM) technology.

You'll find a transcript over at Engadget, but here are the highlights:

1. He annoyed all his enemies

You can always count on Steve Jobs for a good swipe at his enemies, and he didn't disappoint: during his interview he cited Google's Wi-Fi scanning when asked about privacy, described an unnamed app developer as "a son of a bitch liar", said of rivals that "their ad delivery system sucks", disparaged bloggers and compared Flash to the obsolete Floppy Disc.

Despite the interviewers' best efforts, though, he refused to give Google both barrels. "Just because we're competing with someone doesn't mean we have to be rude," Jobs said sweetly.

2. Apple is a really big small company

Despite being worth more than Microsoft - something that "doesn't matter very much," Jobs noted - Apple "is a company that doesn't have the most resources of everybody in the world. The way we've succeeded is by choosing what horses to ride really carefully… we're organised like a startup. We're the biggest startup on the planet."

3. The iPhone was the original iPad

The idea for the iPad predates the iPhone. "I had this idea of being able to get rid of the keyboard and type on a multi-touch glass display," Jobs explains, but when his engineers showed him the prototype "I thought, 'my God, we can build a phone out of this' and I put the tablet project on the shelf because the phone was more important".

4. Apple isn't building a search engine

Is Apple dumping Google from the iPhone and iPad? "No." Is Apple getting into search? "We have no plans to go into the search business. We don't care about it. Other people do it well."

5. Jobs isn't a fan of bloggers

Jobs believes that we need a free press. Why? "I don't want to see us descend into a nation of bloggers," he explains.

6. He isn't a fan of DRM, either

Asked about DRM on movies, Jobs was dismissive. According to Engadget, he told the audience: "The content creators are trying to protect this stuff, and they're grabbing at straws… if we want access to his stuff, we have to play by some of their rules. I feel your pain."

7. The trouble with Apple TV isn't technology

The problem with Apple TV isn't technology, Jobs says: it's the market. "The television industry fundamentally has a subsidised model that gives everyone a set-top box for free, or for ten dollars a month, which squashes any opportunity for innovation because nobody's willing to buy a set-top box. Ask TiVo. Ask ReplayTV… ask us, ask Google in a few months… [you have to] tear up the set-top box and redesign it from scratch with a consistent UI across all these different functions and get it to the consumer in a way they're willing to pay for it. And right now there's no way to do that."

8. The iPad won't save publishing if apps are too pricey

"I'm trying to get [publishers] to take more aggressive postures than what they charge traditionally for print - because they don't have the expenses of printing, they don't have the expenses of delivery - to charge a reasonable price and go for volume," Jobs says.

9. Foxconn isn't a dark satanic mill

"They have restaurants and swimming pools," Jobs says, adding "for a factory, it's a pretty nice factory." Nevertheless, "This is very troubling to us… we [sent] over our own people and some outside folks as well to look into the issue."

10. The iPad is the new Mac

Asked whether the iPad will replace the laptop, Jobs paused and then suggested that PCs are farmers' trucks and the iPad is more like the urban car. We're moving into a post-PC era, and "this transformation's going to make some people uneasy". The future of the everyday computing isn't the PC. "Is it the iPad? Who knows?" he says, but he clearly thinks it is: moments later he's suggesting future iPads will do video editing and content creation.

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