Apple’s Steve Jobs unveils new iPad with a clenched fist and jabs aplenty
Steve Jobs may be on medical leave from Apple, but he was brimming with vigor, and seemingly itching for a fight, when he took the stage to unveil the new iPad 2 on Wednesday.
Clad in his customary turtleneck and blue jeans, Jobs came out swinging. His target: the slew of “copycat” tablet PCs that are beginning to flood the market, impudently challenging his beloved iPad.
The competition was “flummoxed,” by the iPad, Jobs declared, and they have proven unable to match his creation’s low price or desirability.
“They went back to the drawing boards,” Jobs said of his rivals’ tablet efforts. “They tore up their designs because they weren’t competitive.”
Did you hear the one about Samsung’s Galaxy Tab, he asked? He then relayed a quote in which a Samsung executive was reported to have described retail sales of the tablet PC as quite small.
“A lot of these were probably on the shelf by the end of the year,” Jobs said to a chorus of approving laughter in the audience.
[Note that Samsung has said the comments were misinterpreted, and that the executive actually said sales were "quite smooth."]
Apple’s app store now boasts 65,000 apps specifically made for the iPad, Jobs continued.
“That compares to our competitors who are trying to launch these days with at most 100 apps.” [more laughs] “And I think we’re being a little generous here.”
A giant image of a bee, similar to the icon for Google’s new “Honeycomb” tablet software, was projected on the screen behind Jobs, lest anyone miss the reference.
But the real backdrop, of course, is the history of Apple, which pioneered the modern day PC only to be overrun by hordes of Windows-based PCs churned out by the likes of Dell and HP. More recently, Apple’s early lead in smartphones has been leapfrogged by Google, which gives away its Android software free to phone makers.
History won’t repeat itself in tablets, Jobs insisted.
“A lot of folks in this tablet market are rushing in and they’re looking at this as the next PC – the hardware and the software done by different companies, and they’re talking about speeds and feeds just like they did with PCs. And our experience and every bone in our body says that that is not the right approach to this.”
With Jobs on indefinite medical leave though, the question is will Apple be able to see the right approach and maintain its lead in the tablet war going forward.
Jobs seemed to address the question at the conclusion of Wednesday’s big event.
“We think we’re on the right track with this,” he said. “We think we have the right architecture not just in silicon, but in the organization to build these kinds of products.”