Steve Jobs Is Up To Something. Probably Big.
Today he had a wide range of observations on the industry, including the Amazon Kindle book reader, which he said would go nowhere largely because Americans have stopped reading.
“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.”
Emphasis added by me.
[C]omments from Apple chief executive Steve Jobs that flash-based digital music players are often received as gifts, rarely used, and “end up in a drawer[.]”
Here’s Jobs dissing flash players in his own words at MacWorld 2004:
January 2005: Jobs introduces the iPod Shuffle.
Mike Wendland: Happy anniversary. The iPod has just changed everything. The question now is what’s next for us? So how about full color video, color screen? Do you ever see it morphing into anything like an iPhone all purpose device?
Steve Jobs: You know, our next big step is we want it to make toast. I want to brown my bagels when I’m listening to my music. And we’re toying, you know, we’re toying with refrigeration, too.
Mike Wendland: Not bad. Where is it going? What are you doing? Is it going to stay strictly music or will there be other features that you do?
Steve Jobs: You know, one of the things that I say around Apple, I paraphrase Bill Clinton when he was running long ago when he said, “It’s the economy, stupid.” I say, “It’s the music, stupid.” We have to stay focused on the fact that people are buying these devices to listen to music. People love music. They love listening to music as a background activity when they’re doing..when they’re exercising, when they are commuting and when they are just hanging out, and music is a wonderful thing because: A, it’s music; and B, because it can be listened to as a background activity. And a lot of these other things that people are talking about building in such as video and things like that are foreground activities. You can’t drive a car when you’re watching a movie. You know? It’s really hard doing that.
So, we really are very focused on music because that’s what we think, that’s where we think the revolution is here.
Emphasis added by me.
January 2008: Apple has been advertising the Flash-based iPod Nano with the tagline “A little video for everyone” and introduces movie rentals to the iTunes Store.
If only 40% of people read, that’s still a huge market, just here in the U.S.. Besides that, readers are smarter than the 60% who never read at least one book a year. Smarter people often earn more money. And they can see the value in ebooks.