JUNE 7, 2010 The iPad: Past, Present, Future Apple's Steve Jobs on where the PC is heading http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704764404575286192766121172.html Thirty-three years after he helped to usher in the personal-computer age, Apple Inc. Chief Executive Steve Jobs is still making waves. On his watch, the company has transformed digital music with the iPod and iTunes and shaken up the mobile-phone industry with its iPhone. In April, Mr. Jobs introduced the iPad, a tablet computer that he says could kick off the next computer revolution. He spoke with Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher about where the iPad came from, where it might be heading and how Apple views customer privacy. Here are edited excerpts of the discussion. A Fresh Look The Journal Report Read the complete report on D: All Things Digital The full interview with Steve Jobs will be available at 3 a.m. ET. MR. MOSSBERG: In the past, you gave reasons why a tablet PC wasn't such a good idea. One other time you talked about how you weren't going to do a phone because you had to sell it throughI think you called them the five orifices. MR. JOBS: Yeah. That's right. Four, I think. MR. MOSSBERG: The phone carriers. Jobs answers a question from the audience about whether AT&T's service for the iPhone will get better anytime soon. MR. JOBS: We found a way to change that. We found a way to sell the phone that we wanted to sell and define it the way we wanted to define it. Have the control that we wanted to have over what was on the phone vs. the carrier controlling that. What I remember telling you on the tablet was that handwriting was probably the slowest input method ever invented and that it was doomed to failure. What we tried to do was reimagine the tablet. I think Microsoft did a lot of interesting work on the tablet. What we've done is not compete with what they did. You know, they're completely stylus based. What we said was, if you need a stylus, you've already failed. That drove everything. Their tablet PC was based on a PC. Had all the expense of a PC. Had the battery life of a PC. Had the weight of a PC. It used a PC operating system. It really needed the precision of the type of an arrow of a cursor. The minute you throw a stylus out, you cannot get that precision. Therefore, you need to have totally different software. So you can't use a PC operating system, and you have to bite the bullet and say, we're going to have to create this from scratch because all the PC apps won't work without being rewritten anyway. So, we built a very different animal. Onstage at D8, Jobs talks with Kara Swisher and Walt Mossberg about the connection between the iPad and the iPhone. MR. MOSSBERG: When you built this multitouch gesture operating system for fingers, you didn't do it in a tablet right away, you did it in the phone. Did you consider doing a tablet when you did the iPhone? MR. JOBS: I'll tell you kind of a secret. I actually started on the tablet first. I had this idea to get rid of the keyboard. I asked our folks, "Could we come up with a multitouch display that we could type on?" About six months later, they called me in and showed me this prototype display, and it was amazing. This is in the early 2000s. I gave it to one of our other really brilliant UI [user interface] folks. He called me back a few weeks later, and he had inertial scrolling working and a few other things. I thought, "My God, we can build a phone out of this." I put the tablet project on the shelf, because the phone was more important. When we got our wind back, we pulled the tablet off the shelf, took everything we learned from the phone, went back to work on the tablet. MS. SWISHER: Where does the tablet go from here? There were a lot of stories about you going to visit publishers and talking about it being the savior of journalism. MR. JOBS: One of my beliefs very strongly is that any democracy depends on a free, healthy press, and so when I think of the most important journalistic endeavors in this country, I think of things like the Washington Post, the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and publications like that, and we all know what's happened to the economics of those businesses. I don't want to see us descend into a nation of bloggers. Anything that we can do to help the news-gathering organizations find new ways of expression so that they can afford to keep their news-gathering and editorial operations intact, I'm all for. MS. SWISHER: Do you actually think it will work? MR. JOBS: We've all moved to reading our news on the Web. What we have to do is figure out a way to get people to start paying for this hard-earned content. I don't know what's going to work, but the biggest lesson Apple's learned is: Price it aggressively and go for volume. I think people are willing to pay for content. I believed it in music, I believe it in media and I believe it in news content. MR. MOSSBERG: Is the tablet going to eventually replace the laptop? MR. JOBS: When we were an agrarian nation, all cars were trucks, because that's what you needed on the farm. But as vehicles started to be used in the urban centers, cars got more popular. Innovations like automatic transmission and power steering and things that you didn't care about in a truck as much started to become paramount in cars. PCs are going to be like trucks. They're still going to be around, they're still going to have a lot of value, but they're going to be used by one out of X people. I think that we're embarked on that. Is [the next step] the iPad? Who knows? Will it happen next year or five years from now or seven years from now? Who knows? But I think we're headed in that direction. MS. SWISHER: Are there some things you're seeing now that you think will change? MR. JOBS: People laugh at me because I have used the phrase "magical" to describe the iPad. But it's what I really think. You have a much more direct and intimate relationship with the Internet and media, your apps, your content. It's like some intermediate thing has been removed and stripped away. Is it the direct action? Is it the fact that you can move it all around? Is it the fact that you have no cables and 10-hour battery life? I don't know. It's all these things plus other things which I don't understand yet. I think we're just scratching the surface on the kind of apps we can build for it. I think one can create a lot of content on the tablet. MR. MOSSBERG: There are a lot of people who don't believe that this class of devices because of the typing and all thatis right for content creation. MR. JOBS: Why wouldn't they be is the question. You could say, "When I'm going to write that 35-page analyst report, I want to use my Bluetooth keyboard," but that's 1% of the time I'm using it. Your vision would have to be fairly short to say that these things can't over time grow into tools that can do many things. MR. MOSSBERG: Down the road, apparently you're going to be in the ad business. Jobs responds to a question about data collection and retention with a story about Flurry Analytics. MR. JOBS: We want to help our developers make some money so that they can keep providing free or really low-cost apps to customers. That's why we're doing it. We're not going to make much money in the ad business. Something really interesting is happening on mobile phones. They're not mirroring desktops or laptop PCs. If people want to find out what restaurant to go to, they're not going to their search engine typing in "Japanese" and "Palo Alto," they're going to Yelp or whatever app they want. The ads in apps now are banners, and you touch them, and what is the first thing they do? MR. MOSSBERG: They take you to a Web page. MR. JOBS: They rip you out of your app, send you to the browser and if you're not interested in that ad, you've got to figure out a way back to your app. So, wouldn't it be great if mobile ads didn't take you out of the app, but rather took over the screen, gave you this great experience of an interactive ad, but anytime you wanted you could hit a little button that takes you right back to where you left off in your app? We could build it into the operating system so the apps don't have to do it. We can make it so that an app developer can add these interactive ads in their apps with 30 minutes' worth of work versus working with every advertiser to do some custom thing in their app, which is crazy. MR. MOSSBERG: Is privacy looked at differently in Silicon Valley than in the rest of America? MR. JOBS: We've always had a very different view of privacy than some of our colleagues in the Valley. We take privacy extremely seriously. That's one of the reasons we have the curated apps store. We have rejected a lot of apps that want to take a lot of your personal data and suck it up into the cloud. Privacy means people know what they're signing up for. In plain English, and repeatedly, that's what it means. Ask them. Ask them every time. Make them tell you to stop asking if they get tired of your asking them. Let them know precisely what you're going to do with their data.