It is official: Steve Jobs no longer thinks that PCs are going to be that important.
Speaking at the D8 conference, the Apple supremo said the day is coming when only one out of “every few people” will need a traditional computer.
For evidence he said that when the US was 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,” he said.
He thinks that PCs are going to be like trucks. They are still going to be around… but only “one out of x people will need them.”
Of course x is an unknown figure so Jobs is hedging his bets a bit. He could mean that only one in ten people will need one or one in two. It is a moot point if very many people need one now, but whether or not they own one is another matter.
Jobs claimed that advances in chips and software will allow tablet devices like the iPad to do tasks that today are really only suited for a traditional computer, things like video editing and graphic arts work.
He said that the move will make many PC veterans uneasy, “because the PC has taken us a long way.”
“We like to talk about the post-PC era, but when it really starts to happen, it’s uncomfortable,” he said.
Jobs said that people still laugh at him when he talks about 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.”
However while many of the tame Apple press have branded Jobs as a visionary with such statements, there is no indication that he is actually right. Certainly the iPad is not the product that will do what Jobs wants.
However it does send a message, long suspected, that Jobs is uninterested in Apple’s PCs and laptops. Although these are lucrative for Apple, it seems that Jobs really does see the outfit’s future as being based around internet gizmos which are cheap to make and have high mark-ups. Now if he can just sell enough people on that vision…