A good friend of mine pointed out the money phrase from Steve Jobs at this week’s iPad 2 introduction: “This is worth repeating. It’s in Apple’s DNA that technology is not enough. It’s tech married with the liberal arts and the humanities. Nowhere is that more true than in the post-PC products. Our competitors are looking at this like it’s the next PC market. That is not the right approach to this. These are post-PC devices that need to be easier to use than a PC, more intuitive.”
It’s an insightful even brilliant statement that’s 100 percent true. Then why doesn’t Steve Jobs practice what he preaches?
Jobs and Apple definitely have a better handle on the future of mobile devices and interfaces right now than any other CEO and company and are bold enough to come right out and say it: “Our competitors are looking at this like it’s the next PC market. That is not the right approach to this.” It’s a gutsy move, telling your competitors precisely what they are doing wrong to compete.
But then we come to this very rational critique of the iPad 2 from a blogger named Allahpundit who points out that despite the iPad 2 being thinner and faster and just as cheap as the original iPad with two new cameras to boot, it is still a pain in the ass to cut and paste text with one.
Why, given Steve Jobs’s boast that these are post-PC devices that need to be easier to use than a PC, would he build a device that is in this one important area is clearly harder to use than even a Windows PC?
It’s not like Apple couldn’t come up with clever gestures for cut and paste. It’s that they chose not to. And they chose not to because Steve is, well, a little bit of a hypocrite here.
For all Steve’s bold talk, Apple still relies on Mac sales for a quarter of its revenue — about $15 billion per year — which is a lot of revenue, so they have deliberately kept some things like production cutting and pasting text easier to do on a Mac than on an iPad 2.
Surely they have those gestures ready and waiting to go. Waiting for a dip in Mac sales or a blip in cloud capability or just for some other company to finally match or beat the iPad, forcing Apple to reveal these hidden capabilities and blow-up the MacBook line in an act of self-defense and technical imolation.
Yet until one of those precursor events happens Steve seems determined to have it both ways.
Nothing new there.