Steve Jobs talks MacBook Air, China Mobile, Amazon Kindle, more

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
In a pair of interviews following his Macworld keynote address on Tuesday, Apple chief executive spoke of his firm's two-year initiative to develop the world's thinnest notebook and also weighed in on the iPhone in China, Amazon's Kindle and Google's Android mobile platform.



"We decided a few years ago to build the world's thinnest notebook. And so, it started in the design phase, figuring out how small we could make things," Jobs told CNBCs Jim Goldman. "And we probably built 100 models to get to this. So the first step was just holding a model in your hand and saying, 'if we could make this real, we would all just lust after this.' And, we did! So its been about two years of work to make this."



"It's [takes] precision machined aluminum to get it this light and this thin," he said.



In a separate interview with the New York Times' John Markoff, Jobs also revealed that the MacBook Air's circuit board, which includes the custom-shrunk Core 2 Duo chip, is about the length of a pencil.



?I?m going to be the first one in line to buy one of these,? he added. ?I?ve been lusting after this.?



Meanwhile, Jobs also weighed in on other recent industry developments, like Amazon's new $400 Kindle eBook reader, which he believes is destine for failure.



"It doesn?t matter how good or bad the product is, the fact is that people don?t read anymore," he said. "Forty percent of the people in the U.S. read one book or less last year. The whole conception is flawed at the top because people don?t read anymore."



Jobs was equally skeptical about Google?s decision to move into the cellular market with its new open-source Android software platform (1, 2).



"Having created a phone its a lot harder than it looks,? he told the Times. "We?ll see how good their software is and we?ll see how consumers like it and how quickly it is adopted.? Jobs instead believes the search giant had actually achieved its goal of not getting locked out of the cellular market without Android.



"I now think Android hurts them more than it helps them," he professed. "It?s just going to divide them and people who want to be their partners.?



In his interview with the Times, Jobs also discounted reports that his company's Apple TV model will extend to cable television. "We?re not going to go there with the cable cards,? he insisted, referring to ongoing analyst speculation that a future version of the wireless set-top-box would ship with TV tuner cards. "That whole industry, their go-to-market strategy is pretty loopy, and it?s fractured,? he said. "Our model is like DVD."



In his interview with CNBC's Goldman, Jobs also insisted that all those rumors of negotiations between Apple and China mobile over bringing iPhone to China are just not true. Instead, he said a single representative from China Mobile has flown into Cupertino just once, and that there are no on-again off-again negotiations as some in the mainstream media have been reporting.



Obviously, Jobs said he's eager to launch the iPhone in China -- one of the world's hottest cellular markets -- but has nothing new to announce at this time.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 108
    *Chuckle*



    Well, you just gotta love Jobs for his insistence that Android is a go-nowhere platform. I tend to disagree, but we'll see.
  • Reply 2 of 108
    Job's is spot on about the Kindle. In order to succeed it has to do way more than just be a reader.
  • Reply 3 of 108
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by cygnusrk727 View Post


    Job's is spot on about the Kindle. In order to succeed it has to do way more than just be a reader.



    It's also an MP3 player, even though that's not obvious.
  • Reply 4 of 108
    People don't read anymore? I doubt that very much. While I'd agree that there's probably some correlation between tech savvy and reading books that might make those people most likely to use a device be the very ones to shun it while those who love books are less likely to be computer slaves, it's not right that people don't read.



    The people I know want to sit with a book precisely because it's NOT a screen and a desk. That, if there's any reason for devices like the Kindle not catching on, is probably closer to the truth than "people don't read anymore". Yeesh.
  • Reply 5 of 108
    I'm surprised to hear Jobs promoting illiteracy. Its shameful if most Americans aren't reading, but I'm pretty sure that Amazon sells a lot of books, so they see a market for it. Where I think that they're going to have trouble is getting people to pay $400 for a device that helps them read books.



    You need to save a lot of money on print books before the $400 starts to make sense. If a books copyright has expired, you an usually pick up a paperback copy for about $5 and if the copyright is still valid, then even an ebook is going to cost you money, so it could take a very long time to pay off the $400 cost.
  • Reply 6 of 108
    kkerstkkerst Posts: 330member
    If people don't read anymore, why is Amazon, Barne's and Noble, Walden Books and other bookstores thriving? You'd think they'd be 40% as big as they are if Stevo were right. I think he kinda did the "insert foot into mouth" routine he's famous for.
  • Reply 7 of 108
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    "It doesn?t matter how good or bad the product is, the fact is that people don?t read anymore," he said. "Forty percent of the people in the U.S. read one book or less last year. The whole conception is flawed at the top because people don?t read anymore."



    Erm... So does that mean the 60% of Americans read more than one book a year? Thought about picking up a maths book, Steve?



    There are far better arguments against eBook readers, and particularly the disappointing Kindle, than claiming, falsely, that there isn't a market for it.





    M
  • Reply 8 of 108
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by kkerst View Post


    I think he kinda did the "insert foot into mouth" routine he's famous for.



    I doubt that you can reference that. And note to make it a 'routine' it has to be with continuous frequency as defined, for example, by a Command-spacebar and typing in "routine" to select the dictionary.
  • Reply 9 of 108
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by machei View Post


    The people I know want to sit with a book precisely because it's NOT a screen and a desk. That, if there's any reason for devices like the Kindle not catching on, is probably closer to the truth than "people don't read anymore". Yeesh.



    I agree. As big a fan as I am of the podcast, it is never going to have the same joy as the actual New York Times on a quiet saturday or sunday morning. As for books, when it comes to usablility, portability, availability, battery life, and the selection of content available I think it's too soon to write off the format. In fact, there's a place around the corner from my house that'll rent them to me for free! (I can keep it longer than 24 hours and use it as many times as I want, I can even share it with as many friends as I like)!
  • Reply 10 of 108
    kkerstkkerst Posts: 330member
    I think he meant as opposed to the other 60% who read no book last year, but I can see your logic too.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mnem View Post


    Erm... So does that mean the 60% of Americans read more than one book a year? Thought about picking up a maths book, Steve?



    There are far better arguments against eBook readers, and particularly the disappointing Kindle, than claiming, falsely, that there isn't a market for it.





    M



  • Reply 11 of 108
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mnem View Post


    Erm... So does that mean the 60% of Americans read more than one book a year? Thought about picking up a maths book, Steve?



    There are far better arguments against eBook readers, and particularly the disappointing Kindle, than claiming, falsely, that there isn't a market for it.





    M



    Umm...I dont get what you are saying. I think what Jobs is trying to say is that 40% of the US market is not even a market. They dont even engage in this activity. So you are not competing for 100% of the US market (for example, one may not own a music player of any kind, but they do listen to music, or watch movies/tv) but only 60%. Of that 60%, a large percentage will not be able to justify it economically (too expensive to buy a Kindle). A large percentage, will not like it because it isnt a book. What you are left with is a market that even at complete saturation would be less than 50% of the US market.



    And then, you have to split this market amongst all your competitors. Assuming that it even exists...
  • Reply 12 of 108
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by bryand View Post


    I'm surprised to hear Jobs promoting illiteracy. Its shameful if most Americans aren't reading, but I'm pretty sure that Amazon sells a lot of books, so they see a market for it. Where I think that they're going to have trouble is getting people to pay $400 for a device that helps them read books.



    You need to save a lot of money on print books before the $400 starts to make sense. If a books copyright has expired, you an usually pick up a paperback copy for about $5 and if the copyright is still valid, then even an ebook is going to cost you money, so it could take a very long time to pay off the $400 cost.



    Well, he's not promoting illiteracy, he's acknowledging it.
  • Reply 13 of 108
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    In a pair of interviews following his Macworld keynote address on Tuesday, Apple chief executive spoke of his firm's two-year initiative to develop the world's thinnest notebook and also weighed in on the iPhone in China, Amazon's Kindle and Google's Android mobile platform.



    More here: http://www.cnbc.com/id/22673034



    including some video of the interview.
  • Reply 14 of 108
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,431moderator
    ?I?ve been lusting after this.? ^ boing



    Missed opportunity to use the new 'boom' replacement IMO.



    "It doesn?t matter how good or bad the product is, the fact is that people don?t read anymore,"



    I actually agree. I don't like reading books. I read reference manuals all the time but when it comes to entertainment, I much prefer a movie or audio book. I much prefer a news movie clip than a piece of text. Reading about Paris Hilton being sent to jail isn't nearly as entertaining as watching her whine like a little 5 year old. I certainly don't read to the extent that I would need a specialized device for it. The iphone/ipod is perfectly capable of displaying text and in full vivid colors as well as doing a whole load of other stuff.



    "I now think Android hurts them more than it helps them," he professed. "It?s just going to divide them and people who want to be their partners.?



    Ouch, was that a reprimand? People immediately suggested Apple wouldn't be happy about this and they speculated there might be some deeper ties due to the khtml in Android but maybe not after all.



    "That whole industry, their go-to-market strategy is pretty loopy, and it?s fractured,? he said. "Our model is like DVD."



    I tend to find that's all I do these days anyway. I don't watch all the endless reruns of crap on TV any more. I don't think I've turned the TV on this week. I just watch all the episodes from various TV series from DVD. I can watch them in my own time with no annoying adverts.



    I do however wish that it was easier to get the content and I still don't think Apple's offering improves on it. There's no way that I'll try and download a DRM TV series from itunes when I can buy a box set from Amazon cheaper and it can be delivered within a few days without using up my bandwidth. Apple doesn't have enough content to make to worthwhile anyway.
  • Reply 15 of 108
    eckingecking Posts: 1,588member
    The kindle is pointless. The kindle needs to be structured just like mp3s and videos. Make books readable on computers, ipod touch and iphone, and other media devices. Ebooks will never reach mass market unless the kindle cost like $50 bucks and even that's too much for people who don't care.



    People have to be able to buy a book and have that be the kindle($20-50), then when they want to buy a second book they just pay $10 bucks or something. That's a model people would get behind, at least much more than the current model for the kindle.
  • Reply 16 of 108
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post


    Well, he's not promoting illiteracy, he's acknowledging it.



    Perhaps the evidence is further supported here: http://www.readforpleasure.com/2007/...o-we-read.html
  • Reply 17 of 108
    eckingecking Posts: 1,588member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by bryand View Post


    I'm surprised to hear Jobs promoting illiteracy. Its shameful if most Americans aren't reading, but I'm pretty sure that Amazon sells a lot of books, so they see a market for it. Where I think that they're going to have trouble is getting people to pay $400 for a device that helps them read books.



    You need to save a lot of money on print books before the $400 starts to make sense. If a books copyright has expired, you an usually pick up a paperback copy for about $5 and if the copyright is still valid, then even an ebook is going to cost you money, so it could take a very long time to pay off the $400 cost.



    I think your missing the point illterate people cannot read anything. There are millions of literate americans that can read and do read (newspapers, magazines, websites, billboards, subtitles, what have you), but do they read books?



    No, unfortunately not, and if they are it's not often.

    That's why separate devices at that price point will fail.

    Spend $400 on an iphone that hopefully might be able to be used as an ebook reader

    or

    Spend $400 on an ebook reader/unimpressive mp3 player



    Hmmmmm.... which one would be more popular?
  • Reply 18 of 108
    k.c.k.c. Posts: 60member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by kkerst View Post


    If people don't read anymore, why is Amazon, Barne's and Noble, Walden Books and other bookstores thriving? You'd think they'd be 40% as big as they are if Stevo were right. I think he kinda did the "insert foot into mouth" routine he's famous for.



    Go to amazon right now and pay attention to what comes up. How many items are books ? Amazon's diversity is the key to they survival and dominance in the market. Left to books alone they probably would be only 40% as big. The same is true for the other vendors you reference.
  • Reply 19 of 108
    aaarrrggghaaarrrgggh Posts: 1,607member
    The number that matters for Amazon is the percentage of people that read more than 20 or 30 books a year. That could very well be over 20% of the US population. The only question left then is are they gadget freaks or do they embrace dead trees?
  • Reply 20 of 108
    desarcdesarc Posts: 642member
    this is why ebook readers will fail:



    NOBODY is going to spend $400 so that they can spend MORE money on a book.



    i don't know how many eBooks you have to buy to break even - i don't even know the cost comparison between a paperback and an eBook, but i don't buy $400 worth of books in 2 years, and i read a LOT of books.

    if it takes me 4 years to break even on the ebooks, how antiquated is my eBook reader by then? do i shell out another $400 for a new ebook reader?



    i love having a library. l love having actual physical books that i can pick up, take with me on vacation, and not have to remember the charger or worry that i've only got 2 more hours before the battery in my book dies.



    Steve's excuse of 40% of americans not being a big enough market is ridiculous - what percent of americans purchase ultralight laptops? 6 - 7%?





    [aaarrrgggh - i would bet that those reading 20 - 30 books per year don't tend to have many gadgets]
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