Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Steve Jobs, Winnie the Pooh and the iBook Launch

steve jobs ibooksApple media boss Eddy Cue spent the morning on the stand during the Apple/Department of Justice ebooks/antitrust case. No news came of his appearance, which is zero surprise: The only real news that will come out of the trial will be a verdict.

Still! If you’re the kind of person who has an intense interest in all things Apple, you might have found items of interest during Cue’s testimony at Daniel Patrick Moynihan United States Courthouse in lower Manhattan. Particularly the parts where Apple’s attorney asked Cue to talk about Steve Jobs.

I’m not sure why Apple lawyer Orin Snyder wanted Cue to spend time discussing his late boss, because I can’t see how it has any bearing on the case. But, then again, my legal training consists of watching some “L.A. Law” back in the ’90s.

So, in any case, for the record: Apple wants you to know that Steve Jobs wasn’t just into the idea of iBooks and an iBookstore, but was intimately involved in its product design and launch in the fall of 2009 and early 2010.

For instance:

  • The “page curls” in the iBook app, which show up when you flip an iBook’s page? That’s Steve Jobs’s idea.
  • It was Jobs’s idea to pick “Winnie-the-Pooh” as the freebie book that came with every iBook app. Not just because Jobs liked the book, Cue said, but because it showed off iBook’s capabilities: “It had beautiful color drawings, that had never been seen before in a digital book.”
  • Jobs was also specific about the book he used to show off the iBook during his initial iPad demo in January 2010. He picked Ted Kennedy’s “True Compass” memoir, because the Kennedy family “meant a lot to him,” Cue said.

Again: Will any of this have any bearing on the trial’s outcome? Seems unlikely. But we are approaching the end of this process. Closing arguments are scheduled for Thursday.

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik