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Steve Jobs talks Flash, 'lying S.O.B' devs, sex, and Gizmodocrime

iPad conceived before the iPhone

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Steve Jobs says that Flash has had its day, work on the iPad began before work on the iPhone, the Gizmodophone may have been "stolen out of [Apple engineer Gray Powell's] bag", at least one iPhone app developer is a "son of a bitch liar," and his sex life is "pretty good".

These remarks — and many more — came in a wide-ranging interview that kicked off this week's D: All Things Digital conference in the plush Terranea Resort in Rancho Palos Verdes, California, as reported by Ina Fried of Cnet and Joshua Topolsky of Engadget.

Speaking about his dismissal of Flash, Jobs said that its time had passed, and that HTML5 was the new hotness. "We choose what tech horses to ride, we look for tech that has a future and is headed up. Different pieces of tech go in cycles," he said. "They have summer and then they go to the grave."

Jobs was prickly about the Flash contretemps. "We told Adobe to show us something better, and they never did. It wasn't until we shipped the iPad that Adobe started to raise a stink about it," Jobs said. "They made a big deal of it — that's why I wrote that letter. I said enough is enough. We're tired of these guys trashing us."

But Jobs believes that the acceptance of the iPad is proof that the decision to forgo Flash was a good one. "If we succeed, they'll buy them, and if we don't, they won't. So far, I have to say that people seem to be liking iPads. We've sold one every three seconds since we launched it."

Jobs waxed metaphorically about how the rise of the iPad heralds the end of the PC era. "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 is going to make some people uneasy."

Perhaps stung by media teasing about his "magical and revolutionary" tablet, Jobs said: "People laugh at me because I describe the iPad as magical. You have a much more direct and intimate relationship with the internet and media and apps and your content. It's like some intermediate thing has been removed and stripped away. Like that Claritin commercial where they strip away the film. It's like that."

But the iPad had to wait its turn to pull off its magical and revolutionary, uh, revolutionary magic. When asked why Apple released the iPhone before the iPad, Jobs said: "I'll tell you a secret. I actually started on tablet first, in the 'early 2000s" — an admission that will bring a smile to those who have been reporting for years about secret Apple tablet projects.

The tablet idea was shelved because the phone appeared more promising at the time. "When we got our wind back and thought we could do something else, we took the tablet back off the shelf."

With the next-generation iPhone almost certainly to be announced next Monday, questions inevitably arose about the Gizmodophone. "So this is a story that's amazing — it's got theft, it's got buying stolen property, it's got extortion, I'm sure there's some sex in there," Jobs said. "The whole thing is very colorful." Fried noted that Jobs — without providing any substantiation — added that "there is a debate of whether it was left in a bar or stolen out of [Powell's] bag".

Jobs was also pressed on the ongoing embarrassment that is the unpredictable, time-consuming, and seemingly arbitrary App Store police force. Jobs was having none of it, insisting that 95 per cent of all apps submitted to the App Store were approved within a week.

When problems in the App Store process become public, Jobs said, they're more often than not the developer's fault. "We're doing the best we can. We're fixing mistakes. But what happens is: people lie. And then they run to the press and tell people about this oppression, and they get their 15 minutes of fame. We don't run to the press and say: 'This guy is a son of a bitch liar!' We don't do that."

Finally, interviewer Walt Mossberg queried Jobs about Apple's increasing competition with Google, and asked if Eric Schmidt had called Jobs to inform him about Android. "No," Jobs said. "They started competing with us and it got more and more serious." And when Mossberg pressed on, asking if Jobs felt "betrayed," the Apple CEO deflected the question somewhat enigmatically. "My sex life is pretty good these days," he said to the 63-year-old Mossberg. "How's yours?" ®

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