PCs

Steve Jobs proclaims the post-PC era has arrived

On Tuesday, Steve Jobs said we've reached the beginning of the post-PC era, while acknowledging PCs have "taken us a long way" and that the transition could be lengthy, and uncomfortable for some.

Steve Jobs believes people will be doing lot more work on tablets in the future, including heavy workloads typically associated with desktop PCs. On Tuesday, Jobs proclaimed that the post-PC era has arrived, while acknowledging that PCs have "taken us a long way" and that the transition will be lengthy, and uncomfortable for some.

Jobs was the opening act at the D: All Things Digital conference on June 1 in Southern California. In a 90-minute interview with The Wall Street Journal's Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher, Jobs (below) discussed a wide range of topics, from tablets replacing PCs to Apple rejecting Adobe Flash to competing with Google to AT&T's data network challenges. I've compiled a selection of Job's most salient statements.

For instant analysis of tech news, follow my Twitter feed: @jasonhiner

Will tablets replace PCs?

"I'm trying to think of a good analogy. When we were an agrarian nation, all cars were trucks. But as people moved more towards urban centers, people started to get into cars. I think PCs are going to be like trucks. Less people will need them. And this transformation is going to make some people uneasy... because the PC has taken us a long way. They were amazing. But it changes. Vested interests are going to change. And, I think we've embarked on that change. Is it the iPad? Who knows? Will it be next year or five years? ... We like to talk about the post-PC era, but when it really starts to happen, it's uncomfortable."

Rejecting Adobe Flash

"Flash looks like a technology that had its day but is really waning, and HTML5 looks like the technology that is really on the ascendency right now... We didn't start off to have a war with Flash. We just made a technical decision... We told Adobe, 'If you ever have this thing running fast, come back and show us.' Which they never did... We shipped iPhone and it [didn't] use Flash. It wasn't until we shipped the iPad and it didn't use Flash that Adobe started to raise a stink about it. And that's why I wrote 'Thoughts on Flash' because we were trying to be real professional about this and weren't talking to the press about it ... and we finally just said, 'Enough is enough. We're tired of these guys trashing us in the press over this.'"

[Listen to Jobs respond to this question in the video clip below. It is Steve Jobs as his most passionate.]

Competing with Google

"They decided to compete with us. We didn't go into the search business... No, they started competing with us, and it got more and more serious... We [still] have some Google properties on our phone. Just because we're competing with someone doesn't mean we have to be rude."

Apple's deal with AT&T

"We really changed the rules of the game... When you bought a phone the carrier dictated what you had on the phone. iPhone was the first phone where we said, 'You worry about the network. We'll worry about the phone.'"

What AT&T is doing to improve the network

"Remember, they're handling way more data traffic than all of their other competitors combined... To make things better, [carriers] re-allocate [wireless] spectrum.They take spectrum they weren't using or were using for something else and allocate it to this problem. And, they do things like increase the backhaul. So they put in things like Gigabit Ethernet instead of T1s. And they put in more robust switches to switch the data. Things in general when they start to fix them get worse before they get better. That's what I'm told. If you believe that, things should be getting a lot better soon. I am told that a lot of places are getting a lot better, certainly by the end of this summer, and I believe the people that are telling me that truly believe it and are high-competency people."

Passing Microsoft in market valuation

"For those of us who have been in the industry for a long time, it's surreal. But, it doesn't matter very much... It's not what's important. It's not what makes you come to work in the morning." [For background on this story, read this CNET report]

PC vs. Mac platform wars

"We never saw ourselves in a platform war with Microsoft, and maybe that's why we lost... Sure we thought about Microsoft, but we never saw it as a platform war."

Closed ecosystem for iPhone and iPad

"Well, let's first say we have two platforms we support. One is open and uncontrolled. That's HTML5. We support HTML5. We have the best support for it of anyone in the world. We then support a curated platform which is the App Store. It is the most vital app community on any platform. How do we curate this? It's a bunch of people, and they come into work every day. We have a few rules: It has to do what it's advertised to do. It has to not crash. It can't use private APIs. And those are the three biggest reasons we reject apps. But, we approve 95% of all the apps that are submitted every week."

Apple's stance on user privacy

"We worry a lot about location in phones... We worry that some 14-year-old gets stalked and something terrible happens to them. That's why the system requires its own dialog pop-up [to reveal location information]... We have rejected a lot of apps that want to take your personal data and suck it up into the cloud. A lot of people in the Valley think we are really old-fashioned about that, and maybe we are. Privacy means people know what they are signing up for in plain English... Some people want to share more data. Ask them. Ask them every time. Let them know precisely what you are going to do with their data."

Emailing with customers

"Nothing makes my day more than getting a random email from someone talking about how cool the iPad is. That's what keeps me going. That's what kept me going back then, and now, and will keep me going in the future." [Jobs' public email address is well known: sjobs@apple.com]

Apple's tablet preceded iPhone

"I'll tell you a secret. I actually started on tablet first. I had an idea of a multitouch display that you could type on. About six months later they called me in and showed me this prototype display. This was in the early 2000s. I gave it to one of Apple's early UI folks who got inertia scrolling and other things working and I thought, 'My God, we can build a phone with this.' And we put the tablet aside and we went to work on the phone."

Going after Gizmodo over iPhone 4 leak

"You know, when this whole thing with Gizmodo happened, I got advice from people who said, 'You gotta just let it slide. You shouldn't go after a journalist just because they bought stolen property and tried to extort you.' And I thought deeply about this, and I concluded the worst thing that could happen is if we change our core values and let it slide. I can't do that. I'd rather quit... There's an ongoing investigation. I can tell you what I do know, though. To make a product you need to test it. You have to carry them outside. One of our employees was carrying one. There's a debate about whether he left it in a bar, or it was stolen out of his bag."

How Apple is organized as a company

"One of the keys to Apple is that Apple is an incredibly collaborative company. You know how many committees we have at Apple? Zero. We're organized like a startup. We're the biggest start up on the planet. We meet for three hours every morning and talk about all the business, about what's going on everywhere. We're great at figuring out how to divide things up into great teams, and we talk to each other. So what I do all day is meet with teams of people... I have one of the best jobs in the world. I get to come in and work with some of the most brilliant people in the world. We play in the best sandbox."

Quote of the night

"We want to make better products... What I love about the marketplace is that we do our products, we tell people about them, and if they like them, we get to come to work tomorrow."

See also

Poll

About

Jason Hiner is the Global Editor in Chief of TechRepublic and Global Long Form Editor of ZDNet. He is an award-winning journalist who writes about the people, products, and ideas that are revolutionizing the ways we live and work in the 21st century.

164 comments
Tim Acheson
Tim Acheson

The majority of people in the above poll correctly flag "post-PC" as a myth. It's easy to understand why Apple would conceive and promote "post-PC" as a concept and as an official Apple propaganda term -- when after all these years Mac has barely scraped past 5% market share versus Windows, and iOS (now old news and in decline) was the company's big break into the mainstream.

jfreedle2
jfreedle2

Any one who claims that we were entering a post-PC era is a complete idiot and has their head up their rear. They have stopped working on computers because they just cannot make a good computer that is competetive on cost and functionality.

devlin_X
devlin_X

First I'd like to say I hate when people use the term PC to refer to Windows based machines. We have multipule "PC"'s at our house yet not one runs a Microsoft OS. Now on to my subject. Apple has notoriously been priced above the average joe's afford-ability. I can pick up a decent "PC" for under $300.00 USD (even with MS Windows 7). This is unheard of in the Mac world. For what the average user does there is little need to spend over $500.00 USD on a system. Most have standard parts so they are inexpensive to find and replace, Mac's are still status symbols. iPad's are extreme limited in use as well. I doubt you'll find a writer, artist, video creator, etc doing their work on an iPad or anything similar for some time to come. I'm a PC...... and I replaced Windows with Linux and never looked back.

piratesmvp04
piratesmvp04

Wow, Steve Jobs really has a cocky attitude.

Alex
Alex

I have this Microwave oven with a glass touch screen bought in the 1970's, wonderful thing, and you see the plug-in panels in Startrek. Why can't you get an open source, like Ubuntu or Fedora touch screen computer that doubles as WIFI connected machine control panel that you can plug into a bay, hand carrier, medical rack drawer, dinner table (games anyone), or machines so as to do all sorts of cross application stuff like startrek. Adding I/O racks for output intensive apps, assembly lines, greenhouses, dairy barns, should be easy with today's embedded processors and some digital transmission protocol glue chips. Simple key slots in the sides for securing the computer, maybe super magnets to secure for kitchen or wall apps, even wall slot like HAL in the movies. The programming crew then can either swap out panels, wifi upgrade, or memory chip swap to change apps. A low watt lipstick wall projector or WIFI high beam projector would be nice too.

Gis Bun
Gis Bun

What do Steve Jobs and Steve Ballmar have in common [besides the same first name]? They are both morons. Up until recently I respected Jobs. But of late, nope. Between his crap against Adobe and now proclaiming the PC is dead just because the market cap for Apple finally exceeded that of Microsoft. What does one have got to do with the other? Apple sells gadgets now. Not computers? I could see - if anything -Apple dumping the MacBooks and such....

djdetar
djdetar

An apple is merely a PC with a different operating system. There's no difference between a PC and an Apple. They just have different software! Apple will never take over 100% market share from Microsoft. They're software is to inclusive. You have to buy from them or you can't use it(software). I for one would never switch to Apple!

HypnoToad72
HypnoToad72

http://blogs.msdn.com/b/sprague/archive/2007/01/18/java.aspx He's manipulating the market. So much for "open standards" as he claims and so much for "free market". End of story. I'll spare the Flash tangent, of which most of his arguments are readily successfully retorted, but here's a question: Can you turn off ads made in HTML5? There you, yet another reason - albeit this one not yet as noticeable by the press or many in general - as to why he's hyping up a new standard. You can't turn the thing off, that's why.

mjd420nova
mjd420nova

Just because he, or anyone says so, doesn't make it so. Not everyone can afford to or want to purchase some new fangled device everytime a new one hits the market. Being that this person has some vested interest in a change in the consumer technology and he stands to be the one that will put your money in his pocket, I think it is just wishful thinking.

ScarF
ScarF

the Americans are still an agrarian nation since I see so many trucks on the city roads and businesses parking lots. Including Apple's HQ on 1 Infinity Loop, as seen on Google's maps (satellite view).

XnavyDK
XnavyDK

If the pc era is going away then there better be something better to replace it with than a tablet. Now that Computer they had in the movie Red planet was quite sexy, also the Minority Report was also a sexy setup. Can one really see people walking down the street waving in the air like mad people. I can see the halo device shooting images and data directly into our eyeballs. What if this time in 20-30 years we are all cyborgs and there is no need to have an external interface at all, Ghost in the shell so to speak. Scary isn't it. One can dream.

Rodo1
Rodo1

Steve Jobs is irrelevant. The man is a self-absorbed arrogant arse. The one thing I can agree with him on is Adobe. I can't figure out how they stay in business...

baz
baz

Yeah right! The I-Pad just ariived in Britain and I've spent all week rushing out not to buy one and celebrating my good sense in so doing! At twice the price of any PC laptop even before you take into account the cost of content, and barely the functionality of a high-end mobile (cell) phone (and a quarter its convenience!), this is the future? In what insane universe does anybody take Jobs seriously?

kwatters
kwatters

technically almost everything is a PC these days so this is a retarded article. My Iphone is a PC!

bo.forsberg
bo.forsberg

What's a tablet? It's a PC without a keyboard, you have to hold it in your hand or put it on a stand to get a good viewing angle. Total un-ergonomic. Anyone who has attempted to enter a large mass of text (such as the article above) on a flat surface without moving parts will rush to the store and get an external keyboard with real keys and connect it to the tablet PC. There is something called "tactile feedback" that the brain uses to position your fingers on the keys without you having to look intently at the keyboard. And it is the EDGES of the keys that you need to feel. There is no such thing on a flat piece of glass or plastic.

ra.kish
ra.kish

...is quickly becoming the Niintendo of PCs.

Darren B - KC
Darren B - KC

That pretty much says it all, but the ridiculous notion that we've entered some kind of "post-pc era" is the lunatic ravings of a man who thinks himself a god among men. I personally know plenty of people in the IT world scattered across different types of business and we all agree that there's been no real change in the ratio of Macs to PC's. Nobody I know is planning on ditching thier Windows desktops anytime in the forseeable future. Most of them are gearing up to move to Windows 7 and upgrade servers to Server 08. As for friends and family, I get LOTS of questions on just about everything from networking to hardware options... nobody ever asks me about switching to a Mac. Jobs and the rest of his holier-than-thou militant Aqqle fanbois have been waiting and praying for SOOO long to get any kind of victory, and now that the money has shifted (temporarily) in thier favor, they think they've suddenly risen to glory once and for all. BZZZZZ! Wrong.

Nsaf
Nsaf

I just read the title: You go Steve.

melekali
melekali

Jobs is a visionary, but I think he's a bit ahead of himself presently. Give it another 5 - 10 years.

jkameleon
jkameleon

> We didn?t start off to have a war with Flash. We just made a technical decision? We told Adobe, ?If you ever have this thing running fast, come back and show us.? Oh my, how nice of Apple to protect users from slow software. Real philantrophists!

VytautasB
VytautasB

A hand portable device is the future for convenience and quick no brainer work. However if you want to do some creative work you still need a workstation with a big screen. The major change is the requirement to be on-line that's all.

.Martin.
.Martin.

play in depth games do auto-cad work run a server have a gigabit network upgrade components myself all in a tablet, you give me a call.

Ryan_Fischer
Ryan_Fischer

So if we are not going to use Personal Computers anymore then what are we going to use? A pad of paper and Pen? A tablet is a personal computer. Apparently Apple has its own meaning for the acronym PC. If at tablet is not a PC then I don't know what it. Stop trying to confuse people.

jasonhiner
jasonhiner

I don't think that has anything to do with why Jobs is interested in HTML5, but it's true. Jobs likes open standards because he's free to manipulate them any way he chooses (just like everyone else). He doesn't like proprietary stuff because then other companies can control part of his platform, and he has always been into controlling the user experience from end-to-end as a way to deliver quality products. That's his schtick.

Slayer_
Slayer_

The older traditional ad blocking methods of blocking domain names will likely be the only way.

dwdino
dwdino

...the EU is comprised mostly of midgets due to the number of sub-compacts on the roads (as seen by Google Earth).

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

How does the number of trucks on the road indicate an agrarian nation? Less than 3% of US jobs are in agriculture. We long ago transitioned to a manufacturing nation and, for better or worse, are well on our way to becoming a service economy.

XnavyDK
XnavyDK

are used to haul air mostly. I suppose they like trucks over cars just in case they wanted to help someone move. Mostly air. One of my neighbors uses his to throw his garbage in so he can go down the road a few days and it will all fly out eventually...

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

[i]"It's a PC without a keyboard,..."[/i] Wrong. If you are having to stand it up and attach a keyboard, you are using it wrong. A tablet is a mobility device, not a desktop device. A tablet should be used in the same way a clipboard is used; on the go and while walking between point A and point B. Do you carry your desktop computer to your business meetings? Do you connect it to a PC monitor to show your Powerpoint Presentations. No. You use a laptop. Why? Because a laptop is a mobile desktop. Do you need all that processing capability just to show a slideshow? No. You used to do just as well with a Kodak slide projector (or Bell and Howell, or whomever.) Question: do you use a hammer to drive a screw? Do you use a screwdriver to hammer a nail? So why use a desktop computer (or something just as powerful) to present and display pictures? You need to use the right tool for the job, and now we have the right tool for most mobility jobs. Microsoft tried to introduce this concept ten years ago--but made several mistakes along the way. Apple showed us how it should have been done, and Google is now on its way to becoming the Microsoft of mobile computing. Get out of that rut. Start looking at what you're doing. Are you using too much machine for your needs? A tablet is NOT a PC in the sense you want to believe. A tablet is an MC--a Mobile Computer--far more capable of doing a mobile job than any other current device, and just enough tool for the job without tying you to a flat surface. The minute you have to set it down, you're back to desktop computing.

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

Maybe because they know how much you hate it? What you seem to be unaware if is the fact that roughly 40% of the Fortune 500 companies are actively looking for alternatives to Windows. What you seem to be unaware of is that a number of different enterprises have already adopted devices like the iPad to perform mobility computing for them; one notable case having iPads visible on customers' TV screens daily. What you seem to be unaware of is that mobility computing has become the standard, not the exception, in both enterprise and personal computing--in the form of notebooks and netbooks. In other words, desktop computing [i]as we know it[/i] is primed and set for a fall. This doesn't mean there's no need for it; it doesn't even mean that desktop computing is going to disappear--what it does mean is that how we use those computers is changing, and the keyboard and mouse are going to gradually be replaced by touch interfaces.

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

That's why nearly everything he's done has led the market in one way or another. This doesn't mean he's always been first--or the largest--but it does mean that he has directly influenced the market for over 30 years, now.

Tommy S.
Tommy S.

When Jobs lose a war he say that he never started it in the first place... Yeah right. The sad part is that he is still around.

ScarF
ScarF

Steve's analogy with trucks and cars really amused me. According to him, the Americans - not being an agrarian society anymore - replaced the use of trucks with cars. Using this analogy and judging by the number of trucks one may see everywhere in the States - as in Canada - one may judge that the Americans are still an agrarian society. Deep thinker this Steve Jobs, eh?

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

"Do you need all that processing capability just to show a slideshow? No. ... So why use a desktop computer (or something just as powerful) to present and display pictures?" Why pay $500 or more for a second mobility device when the one the user already has will do everything the second one will do, and more? We have older desktops in conference rooms connected to the projectors, connected to the network by wire. Just a suggestion.

ScarF
ScarF

a phone to listen music? Or to take pictures? Or to type notes? Bwahaha. Who has ever heard of typing texts with the phone. And, yes. I use a hammer to drive a screw. Or a screwdriver to hammer a nail. Depends on how you look at it, it is both and many other things. It's a hammer multi tool.

Nsaf
Nsaf

therefore iPad is out :)

Slayer_
Slayer_

Big space, good fuel economy, built on a truck frame, with truck engine, truck transmission. Seats 8 people. Just another example of Chevy's stupidity in dropping the line, and consumers stupidity in judging their own needs.

XnavyDK
XnavyDK

but also why I wont buy one, because I don't need one doesn't mean that other person don't at some point. I can remember in the last 2 weeks where I had to borrow a truck. I still missed jobs point or I didn't see it. I'm still mulling over the utilities analogy comeback, have not come up with anything concrete or bullet proof. //sigh

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

until someone here (Tony the Tiger?) pointed out to me it wasn't any of my business. Now I just laugh and don't worry about what it costs them to fill the tank. It's no worse than the massive Caddys and Chryslers of the '70s.

XnavyDK
XnavyDK

missed that one too. but im ADHD by nature, I could barely focus on the video... so i have an excuse. still, trucks haul air more often than not...

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

I'd completely forgotten that Jobs had used that analogy. I thought you were starting from scratch and didn't realize you were riffing off him. Never mind...

Slayer_
Slayer_

You're supposed to bow down and do whatever Jobs says to do, even if that include replacing a multi-use device with 2 limited devices. /Sarcasm

Slayer_
Slayer_

Thankfully he does attempt to have reasonable arguments and conversations without resorting to flaming.

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