[Update] Steve Jobs: Apple and Android Winning Developers and Mindshare, Google Calling Apple “Closed” is Disingenuous, 7-inch Tablets Dead on Arrival


Mark this day on your calendar, folks, because we thought it’d be centuries before we heard Steve Jobs acknowledge that the competition is right up there with him. In an investors conference call going on right now, he reportedly let out the following comment regarding certain direct competitors:

“right now it’s a battle for developers and mindshare, and right now the iPhone and Android are winning that battle.”

Our friend Noah Kravitz – who just hung up his PhoneDog hat today – listened out for the comment. I eyed the tweet and couldn’t believe what I was reading. (And I had a very hard time picturing Jobs say these exact words.)


He also took a quick, light jab at Google, as well, stating:

“Google wants to characterize Android as open, and iOS and the iPhone as closed. We think this is disingenuous”

I don’t have much commentary for these particular quotes considering I’m still not exactly sure in what contexts they were spoken, but we’ll be sure to look out for details of the conference call later on today to see if he had any other “nice” things to say about Android and Google.

[Update]: Full details from the investors call are here, courtesy of AppleInsider. Other notable comments by the CEO include their trumping Google’s activation rates against iPhone’s and the number of apps in the App Store vs in the Android Market, Google’s Android confusing users thanks to carrier and manufacturer customization (this is fragmentation, as he calls it.), 7-inch tablets vs 10-inch tablets and why any of the former offerings are dead on arrival, and a whole lot more. Here are all the juicy quotes in their entirety.

“As most of you know,” Jobs said on Monday’s conference call, “I don’t usually participate in earnings calls since you’re all in such capable hands.  But I couldn’t help dropping by for our first $20 billion quarter.  I’d like to chat about a few things and stay for the Q and A.”

RIM Shot

“First, let me discuss iPhone. We sold 14.1 million iPhones in the quarter, a 91% unit growth over year ago and way ahead of IDC’s estimate of 64% growth for global smartphone market.

“It handily beat RIM’s 12.1 million Blackberries sold in their last quarter.  We’ve now passed RIM. I don’t see them catching up with us in the foreseeable future.  It will be a challenge for them to create a mobile software platform and convince developers to support a third platform.”

Google’s fragmented Android

“What about Google? Eric Schmidt said they’re activating 200,000 devices per day and 90,000 apps in their store. Apple activating 275,000 iOS devices a day on average for the last 30 days with a peak of 300,000 per day on some of those. There’s 300,000 apps on App Store.

“Unfortunately there’s no solid data on how many Android phones are shipped each quarter. We hope manufacturers will start reporting it, but it’s not the case now.

“We await to see if iPhone or Android was the winner in most recent quarter. Google loves to characterize Android as open and iPhone as closed. We see this disingenuous and clouding the difference.

“The first thing we think of when we hear open is Windows, which is available on a lot of devices. Unlike Windows, where PCs have the same interface, Android is very fragmented. HTC and Motorola install proprietary user interfaces to differentiate themselves.  The user left to figure it out.

“Compare this to iPhone where every handset works the same. Twitter client TwitterDeck [sic] recently launched their Android app, and had to contend with 100 different versions of software on 244 different handsets.  That’s a daunting challenge.

“Many Android apps work only on selected handsets, or selected Android versions. This is for handsets that shipped 12 months ago.  Compare with iPhone, where are two versions to test against, the current and most recent predecessor.”

Android stores fragmenting

“There will be at least four app stores on Android which customers must search among to find the app they want and developers will have to work with. This will be a mess for users and developers. Contrast this with Apple’s integrated app store. Has three times as many apps and offers developers one-stop shopping and get paid swiftly.

“Even if Google was right and the real issue was closed vs open, it’s worth remembering open doesn’t always win. Look at PlaysForSure. Even Microsoft finally abandoned this open strategy in favor of copying Apple’s integrated approach with the Zune, leaving their OEMs empty-handed.

“In reality we think the open vs closed argument is just a smokescreen to try and hide the real issue which is: what’s best for the customer, fragmented or integrated? We think Android is very fragmented and becoming more fragmented by the day. We prefer integrated so the user doesn’t have to be the systems integrator.

“We think this is a huge strength of our approach vs Google’s.  We think integrated will trump fragmented every time.  We think developers will be more innovative by focusing on one handset, rather than testing against a lot of hardware.  No matter how many times Google tries to characterize it as closed, we are confident iPhone will triumph.”

The avalanche of 7 inch tablets

Jobs then addressed the “avalanche of tablets poised to enter the market,” noting that there are really “only a handful of credible entrants. They use 7 inch screens rather than iPad’s near 10 inch display.

Pointing out that “screen measurements diagonal,” Jobs explained that a 7 inch screen was just 45% as large as the iPad. “This size isn’t sufficient to create great tablet apps,” Jobs said, extinguishing any hopes for a smaller sized iPad.

Jobs then quipped that small form-factor tablets will need to ship with sandpaper so users can file down their fingers to the point where they can hit smaller targets on the screen. Elements can only get so small before users can’t perform these types of touch and pinch gestures, Jobs insisted.

Noting that all tablet users already have a mobile smartphone, Jobs indicated that tablets need to be big enough to be differentiated from mobile devices in terms of features. “No tablet can compete with mobility of a smartphone. Pocket size tablets are tweeners,” Jobs said; too big for a smartphone and not big enough to work well as a tablet.

Tablets running Android against Google’s recommendation

“Nearly all of these tablets use Android. But even Google is saying don’t use Froyo [the current release of Android OS], and instead to wait to use next years’ version. What does it mean when a software maker says not to use their release and you use it anyway?

The new crop of tablets will have near zero apps.

Finally, Jobs noted that “our potential competitors [in tablets] are having a tough time coming close to iPad’s pricing. iPad incorporates everything we’ve learned about building high value products. We create our own A4 chip, software, battery chemistry, enclosure, everything. This results in an incredible product at a great price. The proof will be in the pricing of our competitors’ products, which will offer less for more.

“We think the 7 inch tablets will be dead on arrival, and manufacturers will realize they’re too small and abandon them next year. They’ll then increase the size, abandoning the customers and developers who bought into the smaller format,” Jobs predicted.

Jobs stayed to provide answers to analysts’ questions, joining chief operations officer Tim Cook and chief financial officer Peter Oppenheimer. Note that Jobs’ comments above are in some cases paraphrased, based on rapid transcript notes made AppleInsider’s transcriber and by the author.

Quentyn Kennemer
The "Google Phone" sounded too awesome to pass up, so I bought a G1. The rest is history. And yes, I know my name isn't Wilson.

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  1. iPhone is still mostly a phone, Android an OS. Is this a hint that we’re gonna see an iPhone running Android next year?


  2. Steve Jobs finally taking his head out of his ass for one? Is this one of the signs of the end of times? lol

  3. *for once?

  4. Not closed? Name one other smart phone that has a non-standard USB connection.

  5. hes scared now he better pull something incredible ooh wait he already have that

  6. Treo.

    Wait what happened to Palm..?

  7. Last time I checked (which was about 90 days ago, just before I sold my unused MacBook) I still needed to own a Mac before I could deploy an iPhone app to the iTunes store.

    Case closed.

  8. Also, don’t forget, you also have to pay Apple money just for the privilege of adding your own apps to your own device.

  9. I think Mac pretty much nailed it on the head of a long, shiny, and sharp nail that gets hammered deep into Apple user’s souls, hahaha. I was able to escape the Apple fanboy clutches years ago after I saw how expensive peripherals were for my Macintosh LCIII in the early 90’s – $316 to upgrade that 25Mhz pig from 4Mb of RAM to 20Mb?!?! …compared to the early pentiums, and after getting my first PC (P100 Compaq with 32 megs of RAM) hooked into compuserve’s (AOL was still a Mac only bulletin board without ‘the internet’ at the time) early TCP/IP connectivity to access WAIS/GOPHER/IRC etc. with my external dialup US robotics modem I never opened another Macmall catalog or dealt with an apple retailer again. Funny how history is repeating itself. I wonder how many iPhone users are going to wake up in the next few years and see how how expensive and limited the apple camp is… it is not just peripherals anymore, Apple got a lot trickier over the years and busted out tricks like locking people into iTunes and not allowing carriers to sell warranties for their iPhone, etc.

  10. Isn’t that the point of having a unique cellular phone…one that no one has? Customization is what’s basic to every single phone. Besides, who needs ALL 300K apps??? Oh, he failed to mention how many useless apps there are out of that number too…

  11. We think this is disingenuous… lol, as most of us do of Apple! Hmmmmm… so their Patent Lawsuits are what then? Or their plan to keep their hardware on ONE exclusive carrier, only now relenting due to the onslaught of so many Android Phones across multiple networks kicking Apple’s butt that Apple has finally relented to Verizon carrying it’s product (iPad). That mind you is a home run for them as Apple will instantly gain a few million sales… it’s a shame though.

    As for Ingenuity… well now, JOBS, how disingenuous is offering a product which only works on WiFi? or is little changed since the last version but you call it NEW and INNOVATIVE! lmao, or how about that ingenuity in NO MEMORY EXPANSION SLOTS or REPLACEABLE BATTERIES in your devices, etc., etc., etc.

    Only those who have drank the kool-aid believe your crapola Mr. Jobs, the rest of us laugh with amusement at your deranged rhetoric!

  12. He was right on one part. Fragmentation. I very much hope Gingerbread/Honeycomb pulls forward to completely remove the need for a UI overlay by companies (Blur, Sense, Touchwiz), and allows android to be updated nearly instantly on every device to new versions, as well as allow them to run faster, and more compatible. Overall, this not only brings us faster, more concise apps. We can already customize our own UIs with launcher pro and ADW, so why do they need to waste months doing it themselves.

  13. We can deny it all we want. But, it doesn’t change the fact that Android is becoming heavily fragmented. The manufacturers are killing it with their overlays. Amazon is going to have their own app store. Bing on Verizon phones. Blur, Touchwiz, and Sense. These are all the same mistakes winmo has made the past decade.

  14. Sounds to me like Jobsy is scared. You can’t stop the Androids with you smear campaign Jobs!

  15. Speaking as someone who recently purchased an iPod Touch4, I can assure you that the AppStore is fragmented too. This app works with the iPhone and iPad but not the iPod Touch. That app only works with the iPhone 4, not the 3G.

  16. O great I hope this doesn’t turn into another Apple obsessed blog. Can we please stick to Android and not linger on everything that comes from Steve Jobs’ mouth

  17. Quoting wikipedia about the 1st Gen “The original iPhone did not receive the iOS 4 software upgrade, which indicates that it is no longer supported”

    Sounds a lot like fragmenting to me, but according to Jobs fragmenting is what will kill Android.

  18. Dont feed the trolls!!!

    Why even post an article about this knucklehead!?!

  19. @Terrence

    I can understand what you are saying, but the benefit of the people ranting here is that some of them are also explaining the other side of the coin that Jobs leaves out. This helped educate everyone or for others to ponder on an opposing view.

  20. so apple has like 10 devices including ipods and what not and android has 244

  21. Android has beaten Iphone + IPad this quarter in numbers, no question about it

  22. what he said about google fragmentation is true. if android will be a failure, its fragmentation fault. Im hoping google and manufactures will help fix that.

  23. The comments on netflix’s new iphone app release are a very interesting read which shows outstanding evidence of several things:

    1. Despite only releasing one phone per year, fragmentation and lack of homogeneity in the iOS realm is a very real problem – even for LARGE technology giants with big budgets for their apps. This app works on some ipod touches, but not all, only 3GS and 4G, but 3GS has limited features. Some people with either model can’t get it to work at all, etc.

    2. That there is a very large growing contingency of Android users demanding that developers recognize the platform and they are willing to put their money where their mouth is! This was NOT that case at all this time last year.

    3. There are a lot of iHoles out there who don’t get it, and there probably always will be like the obnoxious fools that have the apple sticker on the back of their prius parked outside the local coffee shop. These are the same worthless fools that will ask you for help with changing their tire when they get a flat.

  24. What an iHole. If I was in on that call I would question the amount of time he spends thinking and talking about Android.

  25. google has disrupted mobile market no question about it. 4 years ago, people would have laughed at you if you said, we will give an OS for free and make money up through advertising. Guess what it is working now with android.

  26. @cool that is no way to talk about Kool-Aid cuz i drink it! anyways Jobs has a point. its good to see an oppistion say somthing wrong about us cuz we can fix that! i hope gingerbread will fix all those problems he mentioned.just saying theres always room for improvement!

  27. Sense, Touchwiz and Motoblur are very easy to use and very customizable, you can even change your homescreen with 3rd party apps, by the way Stevo…

    What is not closed about the iphone? The casing is closed and can’t access battery, there is no memory card slot so you charge for different models according to storage amount, os is not customizable for homescreen + keyboards etc, when you own it you are locked in to using the itunes store for everything and can’t even use the device before you have set it up.

    7″ tablets are nothing like what he describes. The Samsung Galaxy Tab is very user friendly and others like the Archos 70 are very good too. They are much easier to carry around and hold in your hands than a 10″ tablet. There are of course plenty of 10″ Android tablets on the way too, so Steve needs to do his homework

    I’ll admit that Google has been nasty about its Android Market, not making it accessible to all Android devices + not accessible to all countries (though added quite a lot recently) and some alternatives like Archos’ Appslib, upcoming Amazon Android Market and some other online ones.
    It is also easy enough to hack the Android Market app onto most devices that don’t have it anyway.

  28. Pardon me while I file down my fingertips so that I can use apps on my cell phone, which is even smaller than a 7″ tablet. Strange I’ve never noticed a problem before. As for tablets though, I hate to admit it but from what I’ve seen and read, the Blackberry Playbook is the best on the market at this point in time. Android’s hope is the Notion Ink’s Adam, which isn’t on sale just yet.

    Rovio just proved his point about developers wrong with 2 million in 2 days time for their Angry Birds downloads.

    I think the point that was made a few days ago about the customers having the final say was the most accurate when it comes to how OEMs are tweaking Android. Android is still a newcomer and customers are taking sides to what they like and dislike. I’ve read a ton of comments about Sense being good and Motoblur being bad. Soon it will all start to iron out and fragmentation will be spoken of less as things get streamlined.

    No word about Google TV? I think they know Google TV trumped iTV before theirs even had a chance to get going. I’ve read and heard a ton about how awesome Google TV is over the past couple of weeks. iTV, not so much.

    Apple is still making money though, Steve is just upset that Android has caused him to not make as much as he thought they would, or could have made. I also see Android developing the end customer into a more open minded force that won’t put up with “closed” systems like they used to. Websites like this and countless others have helped people make better choices and see more of what there is to offer from a phone. Keep up the good work and keep spreading the word on new phones, devices, and developments from Google.

  29. Fragmentation of phones is not an issue – it will drive sales and is not that difficult to deal with as a developer. Fragmentation of app stores is a HUGE deal!!! Windows mobile has thousands of apps out there and no one knows where the hell to find them, or what they can trust – this will hurt Android in the long run. Every carrier will want there own store to take their cut of the sales, and it will eventually lead to carriers ONLY allowing you to download apps from THEIR store.

  30. @OMG Ponies!
    palm was dead,don’t hold any false hopes for Treo.

  31. Steve Jobs is right on almost every point:
    1. Fragmentation: clearly a con for android. iPhone’s interface will be the same in verizon phones and ATT.
    2. More android devices vs. iPhones… well, let’s see what happens after the iPhone hits verizon markets. I know a lot of people waiting for this to get their iPhones.
    3. Tablets with an OS that will not be supported: He nailed it. Case in point: Nokia Internet Tablets. Very open, very neat idea, very forgotten by Nokia.
    4. Multiple stores: I think Jobs is wrong here. Many app stores is a great way to differentiate apps quality. For example, amazon could say: “all of our apps are tested” and that is a differentiating factor. There can be a store dedicated to android games, and so on.
    5. Tweener tablets: The jury is still out. I for one would like to have a 7” tablet.

  32. he’s saying 7 inches is too small? then this proves that android handsets are better than the iphone since most are bigger than the piddly 3.5 screen you get on the iphone.

  33. as much as i hate to admit it, jobs does make a few good points. he now considers the android os to be a strong competitor for the apple iOS, which is a step forward. he also mentions that the android OS is fragmented, which i do believe is very true, and that is because of the manufacturers. alot of these apps coming out today require android 2.1+… yet we are still seeing a number of phones being released supporting only 1.5! look at the new motorola defy, coming out soon. it’s rugged, water/dust resistant, which is awesome, but it’s coming with 1.5 installed. google needs to step in, and do away with anything below 2.1. android is an open OS, and with customization being such a strong point with the android devices, we will probably always have to deal with manufacturer’s custom UI. there are easy work arounds, and even with the multiple UIs, like touchwiz, and htc sense, it’ll be easier for developers to create apps if they can get all devices on the same version of android. and for the android tablets… i never seen them doing so good. first, a 7″ screen? that is too small to be a tablet. if they want to compare/compete with the ipad, you have to make something that is comparable to the ipad. and the price of these devices are outrageous. i have no plans on getting an android tablet anytime soon. not until they release something comparable to the ipad. i won’t shell out $600+ for a tablet that has the same exact chipset as my phone, and is only a couple inches larger. a tablet needs to be bigger, and more powerful. it needs to do things that my galaxy s phone cannot do. otherwise, i have no reason to even think about getting a tablet!

  34. @ 12. metalheadzaid wrote on October 18, 2010
    I don’t know about Blur and TouchWiz. But Sense goes WAY deeper than just a UI. It’s a whole experience on it’s own full of unique features.

    @ 17. James wrote on October 18, 2010
    Wow, 1 phone that is atleast 3 years old is not supported anymore. Just 1 phone, fragmentation at it’s finest. Right?

  35. Apple tried to shut the web down – people went with it because there were limited alternatives and they thought it was cool.

    Android opened it up again and is simply cooler.

    When you primary market is net savvy users and developers and you alienate them entirely and re-target squarely at the Luddite end user – try not to pretend you are something you no longer are.

    Good-bye Apple – enjoy going back to 1%.


    I’m so happy apple has 200,000 apps – when are people going to learn with flash you have several million – with Adobe Air – you can push that out to being the whole bloody web – oh – and since Air takes in canvas that literally is EVERYTHING – code once – deploy everywhere – except the walled garden of Babylon – where is that place again ?

  36. Gotta agree with him about the 7″ tabs…but then he goes on to say

    “small form-factor tablets will need to ship with sandpaper so users can file down their fingers to the point where they can hit smaller targets on the screen. Elements can only get so small before users can’t perform these types of touch and pinch gestures, Jobs insisted.”

    so are they going to ship sandpaper with the iphone then, which has an even smaller screen? what an odd thing to say….

  37. Well,
    he has got a few good points, don’t dismiss everything he says.

    I already developed for iPhone and we had a few “problems”, we required all the hardware to be Mac (sure, you can have the OS in a PC, but that’s not legal), the development fees are about 100$ per year, and in the beginning we spent more time making Apple accept our application then developing it.

    Now, I’m beginning to enter into the android development, the development environment works in 90% of the OSs around the world, and you only have a 25$ entry fee in the market, and there’s no complicated schema to enter apps. into the store.

    But one thing its true, most of the MAC users are addicted to everything with an apple on it, its still trendy and this means big $$$.

    Although I’m starting in the Android world, I see good perspectives for the future, I hope I’m right and I hope Android gives Apple a run for their money, but one thing that is harming Android is the limited Market exposure (only a hand full of countries, although increasing in numbers, it is still not enough).

  38. Mixture of rubbish (sandpapering fingers for screens smaller than 7″! Microsoft is open??!) and some good points there (e.g. fragmentation – it’s not so much the many app stores, but developers having to tweak their apps to work for so many different devices).

  39. Whlst fragmentation is something of an issue on android I wish people could at least understand what it actually is before spouting off about it. Custom UI’s and manufacturer skews are NOT fragmentation, the base api’s remain the same, and any developer can target to a vanilla android of the correct version and it will run on the handset. However the lack of continued support for older (and in some cases even quite recent) handsets is, whilst we are now down to approx 25% pre 2.0 handsets this does mean developers have to either lose 25% of their possible consumer base, or forgo the improvements included in the new api’s.

  40. 1. UI fragmentation doesn’t really seem to bother most regular users (not you geeks reading this article and comments). The only major negative impact is the learning curve required to switch between two UIs. Most people don’t know about OS updates so upgrade delay is irrelevant. The UI changes typically have no effect on the API, so most apps are compatible across various UIs without modification (as Vinnie stated above).
    2. The jury is still out on multiple markets. As a part time developer I have mixed feelings. More work for me but it may mean a better experience for the end user, hence more revenue for me.
    3. The sandpaper comment is just dumb, because smartphones have smaller screens and Jobs is not shipping sandpaper with the iPhone.
    Emperor Jobs made some good comments, and as someone else said it should give Google focus on things to improve. The comments on this thread are very good, so….fun times!

  41. Fragmentation of the Android is not going to kill it, honestly how many apps out there only require 2.1 or 2.2. The only app I can think of that I couldn’t install when it was first released was Google Nav since it required 1.6. Most apps can be installed on a range from 1.5 – 2.2. And the fact you get sense, blur and vanilla is one of the things that makes Android so great, I mean even Apple’s own customers agree on that, you look at how many people Jailbreak there iPhones/Touch’s to get the same kind of customization that is default in Android. That is not fragmentation, it is allowing the user to have choice. Because remember people Apple’s motto is “Choice is something we cannot believe in”.

    Thats the point I was trying to make, just about every phone that is not running 2.2 are phones that are not supported, something that even Apple does, if google really wanted to they could make it that every company was required to release every Android OS to its phones and that would remove Fragmentation, but honestly for the Average user who has Android phone, it really doesn’t matter. My wife has a Moto Droid and when 2.2 hit, there was not really change for her, she didn’t get all exstatic about the new Market or the new launcher, and that was the only change she really noticed, the only people that fragmentation will really kill is the power user who only wants the latest and greatest and then it won’t even kill them because they are the users who are fine with rooting and creating there own version of Android for there phone, which to me is one of the HUGE pluses to Android.

  42. I have an android phone, for the purpose of calls and texts. I wouldn’t bother with the apps on the android market. For that I have the iPad – there tend to be a dozen choices for any kind of app you want, and the thing just works. However I wouldn’t buy an iPhone – waste of money for a phone! I want something cheap with a hardware keyboard.

    Phones/tablets – two very different markets. Android is great for cheap. Apple is great for good.

  43. As people have said above, I think he’s getting customization and “fragmented” confused. Having an open OS lets people do whatever they want with the phone. And the myriad of android markets shows the adaptability and capability of such an amazing operating system. His “integrated” phones and systems just shows that they’re too butt hurt to let anyone play with their phones. Its like he’s saying having an opinion and having choices are a bad thing. Which is why I hate Apple. They don’t give you the freedom to make your own choices with your own property.

  44. But… but.. but… Android is no competition for the Iphone! At least that’s what all the fanboys keep saying.

  45. It’s funny. According to Jobs, nobody will want phones that are greater than 3.5″ because they are Hummers. But 7″ tablets are too small.
    I guess this means we won’t see a mini iPad.

  46. Let’s not forget who Jobs is talking to, here. He’s come down from the ivory tower to speak directly to investors, which says a lot. As he says, “I don’t usually participate in earnings calls…”

    He can attribute this to some kind of adulation about a twenty billion dollar quarter, but besides a quick shot about having overtaken RIM, he doesn’t say much that seems very celebratory. In fact, most of what he says sounds reassuring in nature, like he’s trying to calm the investors down, maybe.

    Perhaps all is not well in the House of Apple, after all.

  47. “Compare this to iPhone where every handset works the same”

    “Yeh EVERY iPhone handset. All of them, all of those different varients we produce with their different screen sizes, screen resolutions, camera resolutions, keyboads, UI and prices. We produce lots of varients because we know that different people use their iphones differently and we want to ensure there is lots of choices that suit all of those differing needs.”

  48. I’m sick and tired of STEVE JOBS and his BIG GREEDY EGO. He talks shit cause he thinks he’s the number one phone manufacture in the world. Don’t worry he’s scared of ANDROID. BE VERY AFRAID JOBS

  49. i like it jobs because it is a high paying job and you work in an air conditioned office *””

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