“All Things Digital” conference: Steve Jobs evangelizes the iPhone

Apple CEO Steve Jobs and Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates are scheduled to make a rare joint appearance anytime now at The Wall Street Journal’s D5: All Things Digital conference. But before that co-producer Walt Mossberg had an interesting Q&A session with Steve Jobs, I guess the part we were all eagerly waiting for, i.e. to hear some key iPhone announcements.

Alas, Steve did not make any announcements though he did respond to a wide array of questions on the iPhone such as: iPhone’s shipping date, where will it be available, on Cingular, iPhone sales estimates, OSX running on the iPhone, video service on the iPhone,  2.5G nature of the iPhone, regarding 3rd party apps on the iPhone, iPhone’s battery life.

To read Steve Job’s response please go through the detailed transcripts of the Q&A session after the jump courtesy Engadget.

Update: The video of the Q&A session is also now available after the jump.

12:28pm – Your
goals that you set for sales for the iPhone are not gigantic — but in
a billion unit market that’s 1%. They didn’t sign the deal for a high
volume product.

A billion units is a worldwide number… people have forgotten more than we know about this market.

12:29pm – Any features on the iphone you haven’t announced you’d like to share?

Uh, nope! [Laughter]

12:35pm – Is the iPhone a wireless iPod? Or a phone that has an iPod in it?

It’s
three things: the best iPod we’ve ever made. An incredibly great
cellphone — we’ve really revolutionized how to use a cellphone. If it
was nothing but a cellphone it’d be really successful. Third thing is
it’s the internet in your pocket for the first time. If it was any of
those three it’d be successful. If it was just the internet in your
pocket it’d sell better than the Sony Mylo…

12:36pm – How much debate was there — do you even have any debate at Apple?

There’s
lots. [Laughter] If you want to hire and keep bright people you can’t
tell them what to do… very often. Once a year, maybe twice, you have
a silver bullet now and then, but basically you don’t do that. At Apple
it’s about ideas, and we argue about ideas constantly.

12:37pm – So how much argument was there about not having a keyboard on the iPhone?

None. None.

12:42pm – But the iPhone doesn’t REALLY have the whole OS X operating system on there…

The
answer is: yes it does! The entire Mac OS is gigs, a lot is data. Take
out the data — every desktop pattern, sound sample — if you look at
Safari it’s not that big. It’s REAL Safari, REAL OS X. We put a
different user interface on it to work with a multi-touch screen…
it’s an amazing amount of software.

12:43pm – On the technical side… could a Mac OS X app run on an iPhone?

We
don’t think that’s a good idea. We don’t have a mouse, we don’t have
pull-down menus… we have a very different user interface on the
phone. [Ha! Nice non-answer!]

1:08pm – You don’t have a video service for the iPhone…

Sure
we do… it’s iTunes. Not over the air. People have tried it with music
and it’s failed. Part of the reason that it’s failed is the phone isn’t
the best place for discovering music or browsing catalogues. Then
there’s the cost of wireless vs. terrestrial internet. Then you get it
on your phone you have to sync it back to your PC… we’ve got 100m
iPods we’ve sold that people know how to sync, they know how to buy
music on iTunes.

1:09pm – So you have no plans to put any
version of the iTunes store on the iPhone itself despite the fact that
you have a big screen and non-baby OS?

We certainly have nothing to announce today.

Q: [From Blake from Sling!] Two parter: can you comment on the 2.5G nature of the iPhone?

Interesting
thing, it automatically switches to WiFi automatically — I’m in this
industry, we were the first to ship a laptop with WiFi, shipped the
first G, first N routers… [nope!] If you choose to join a network it
remembers that. But if you’re in a place and you want to join a WiFi
network you haven’t joined before it prompts you. But it’s EVERYWHERE.
There’s like 10x more WiFi out there than I ever thought there was.
WiFi is faster than any 3G, and EDGE is very fast too.

Q: All indications appear that the iPhone is closed, we’d love to develop apps…

This
is an important tradeoff between security and openness. We want both.
We’re working through a way… we’ll find a way to let 3rd parties
write apps and still preserve security on the iPhone. But until we find
that way we can’t compromise the security of the phone.

I’ve
used 3rd party apps… the more you add, the more your phone crashes.
No one’s perfect, and we’d sure like our phone not to crash once a day.
If you can just be a little more patient with us I think everyone can
get what they want.

Q on iPhone battery life.

When
you’re talking about a portable device it’s all about power, it’s all
about battery life. We’ve been fighting that fight for a long time with
our notebooks. We were able to bring all our experience to the phone —
you’ve hit a key theme of portables.

[images courtesy Zdnet & Engadget]

Update: The video of the Q&A session below.