THE PATRON SAINT of shiny expensive objects, Steve Jobs has given Apple's suicide ridden Chinese manufacturering arm a clean bill of health.
Jobs said that he found reports that Foxconn employees were throwing themselves off high buildings rather than working on Apple gadgets deeply disturbing. After all people who work for Apple stores are happy to work for peanuts in an autocratic environment just for the privilege of touching a slice of Jobs' Dream. We guess he thought the Chinese would be the same.
Talking at the D8 conference he said that Apple was "all over" Foxconn looking at how it dealt with the problem.
However he was emphatic. Foxconn is "not a sweatshop" so that is okay. Go back to bed America, it does not not matter that making your Iphone has contributed to the deaths of 11 young Chinese people, they were not working in a sweatshop because Steve says it isn't one.
Steve made a lot of other pronouncements in his speech. It seems that he is largely moving away from the idea of the PC. He sees a future where most people use Ipads and hardly anyone touches a PC.
"When we were an agrarian nation, all cars were trucks because that's what you needed on the farms. Cars became more popular as cities rose, and things like power steering and automatic transmission became popular. PCs are going to be like trucks," Jobs said. "They are still going to be around." However, he said, only "one out of x people will need them."
Of course "x" means unknown so Steve is really saying he does not know how many people will be using a PC, but the impression he is giving is that no one really will be using a PC much in the future.
While we don't see his vision as likely, at least not yet, there are elements which does indicate that Apple is moving away from its PC/Laptop roots and into more gadgets. This has been coming since the iPod and the effect of the iPad will probably do more to change Apple than it will to kill off the PC. After all making Apple notebooks and PCs is hard work in comparison to knocking together a $150 bit of gear and stuffing it into a nice bit of plastic and charging $500 for it.
Jobs noted that people still laugh at him when he talks about the Ipad as magical, he explained that it was having a "much more direct and intimate relationship with the Internet and media and apps and your content."
How does that work when you can't see half of the Internet content out there because Steve won't let his gadgets run Flash?
Well the reason for the Flash thing, says Jobs, is because he chooses to focus that energy by picking technologies that are in their "springs" as opposed to those on the wane. He said the way Apple has suceeded has been by choosing which horses to ride very carefully. We guess the Apple Newton was a case in point, but somehow he didn't mention that.
He noted the company's moves in the past, such as building the Imac without a floppy drive or making a mouse with only one button, as examples of Apple's thinking on this sort of thing.
So the logic in spiking Flash is that he does not think that it has any future mileage in it. However when a technology has that much of the market and is supported by 90 per cent of the Internet, you don't say it is doomed. Even if it were dying, which it isn't, it is going to still be with you for a long time.
Jobs' seems to believe that by shouting at Flash he can make it go away. Maybe he thinks he is Steve Ballmer's secret twin brother, except that he does not eat red meat or have the strength to lob chairs and run around the stage much. µ