Magazine article American Banker

Apple Chief Says Computers Are the Next Desk Appliance

Magazine article American Banker

Apple Chief Says Computers Are the Next Desk Appliance

Article excerpt

NEW ORLEANS -- Steven Jobs, chairman of Apple Computer Inc., predicted the computer will become the first new desk appliance since the invention of the telephone in the last century.

In the keynote address here on Tuesday to Softcon, the first software industry trade fair, Mr. Jobs said that when the telegraph was invented, many people suggested putting a telegraph key on every desk in the country.

"But it wouldn't have worked," he said. "People would not have spent the 20 to 40 hours to learn Morse code."

He drew a parallel with what he said is the 20 to 40 hours users must spend to learn WordStar, the most popular word processing program.

The documentation for WordStar runs to 400 pages, Mr. Jobs said, adding: "To write a novel, you have to read a novel. And it reads like a mystery to most of us."

Acknowledging the same difficulty with Apple software, Mr. Jobs said early innovators put up with it, but the majority of users the industry hopes to ultimately reach will not.

"We believe very strongly there's going to be a major logjam in our industry in the next 18 months," Mr. Jobs said, "because the large majority of users is not going to put up with spending 20 to 40 hours learning our product.

"They're afraid of it. They're intimidated by it."

In a pitch for his major new product, Mr. Jobs said people can learn to use the Macintosh in less than 30 minutes.

His pitch was not to the consumer, however. It was to the programmers and software vendors attending Softcon. He urged them to support Apple, which, he said, is never going to produce more than 1% of its own software. Third Largest Industry Show

Northeast Expositions Inc. of Chestnut Hill, Mass., which sponsors Softcon, claims it is the third largest trade show in the computer industry, surpassed only by the National Computer Conference and Comdex. …

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