|On the eve of the iPhone's debut, The Wall Street Journal posts a Q&A with Apple CEO Steve Jobs and AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson (paid subscription required). Update: Samples from a USAToday interview have also been included.|
The two talk about many topics ranging from reflecting on the iPhone launch to discussing the decision to stick with AT&T's EDGE, to speculating about how the iPhone will affect the companies. We post a highlight of some of the discussion here. Note that some responses have been paraphrased for brevity.
WSJ: What do you both envision being added over time to the iPhone, in terms of access to ringtones through Cingular's (now rebranded AT&T) platform and maybe through some other manner, like turning your iTunes songs into ringtones?
Mr. Jobs: As you may know, iTunes is now the number three distributor of music in the U.S., ahead of Amazon and Target and behind Best Buy and Wal-Mart, and obviously the largest online distributor of music in the world. Of course, you can play that music now on your iPhone. One might imagine a lot of things down the road.
WSJ: Is one of those things offering music purchases and video purchases directly from the phone?
Mr. Jobs: There's a lot of things you can imagine down the road.
WSJ: [Editor's contraction: Why did you choose EDGE over 3G?]
Mr. Jobs: [Paraphrased] Every AT&T Blackberry gets its mail over EDGE. EDGE is great for mail, and it works well for maps and a whole bunch of other stuff. Where you wish you had faster speed is…on a Web browser. It's good enough, but you wish it was a little faster. That's where sandwiching EDGE with Wi-Fi really makes sense because Wi-Fi is much faster than any 3G network.
When we looked at 3G, the chipsets were not low-enough power for what we were looking for. They were not integrated enough, so they took up too much physical space. We cared a lot about battery life and we cared a lot about physical size. Down the road, I'm sure some of those tradeoffs will become more favorable towards 3G but as of now we think we made a pretty good doggone decision.
WSJ: Did you make enough of these to meet demand?
Mr. Jobs: [Paraphrased] We're building a fair number of them... we've built factories to build these things... but it wouldn't surprise me at all if it ain't enough.
USAToday: What if you are sold out by Saturday? Will you let people buy them, and pick them up later?
Mr. Jobs: No, you're going to have to come back in. When you start taking people's money and can't deliver the product, there are lots of legal issues. It's easier to disappoint people.
USAToday: What about corporate e-mail? I understand that's an issue for many consumers, who may not be able to hook up to their company networks?
Mr. Jobs: You'll be hearing more about this in the coming weeks. We have some pilots going with companies with names you'll recognize. This won't be a big issue.
USAToday: [Editor's contraction: Now that you've done it with the iPhone, will you begin pre-announcing products more?]
Mr. Jobs: [Paraphrased] I don't think we will. We did this because of the FCC certification process and because we had to have hundreds of people test it because it was going to be on a network. We had no choice but to do it the way we did it, and I'm glad we did it this way. It worked well, but most of the time, we will do what we normally do.