Interview with Apple CEO Steve Jobs

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JAKE TAPPER: Hello and welcome to the ABC News Shuffle -- brain candy for your iPod. I'm Jake Tapper in Washington. We're dealing a special hand today. A special edition of the Shuffle. Tuesday morning, Apple rolled out the new incarnation of iTunes, which provides digital music software and an online music store.

But as it rolled out iTunes 4.9, Apple also announced it was dedicating new resources to podcasting. These are audio broadcast programs to download into your iPod, obviously. You're listening to one right now. Apple also announced a partnership with Disney for those podcasts.

ITunes users will get-- will be able to download podcasts from Disney companies such as ESPN or ABC News. Joining us to talk about Apple's new announcement is Steve Jobs, Apple's CEO. Steve, welcome.

STEVE JOBS: Thanks. Thanks for having me.

JT: So here's a quick question. There are gonna be 3,000 free audio programs available, making it one of the largest podcast directories in the world. Why are they gonna be free?

SJ: Well, you know, podcasting-- has been free since the beginning. It's been an emerging phenomenon that-- has been, you know, growing very rapidly. But we're hoping to take it mainstream with-- the latest version of iTunes, which has everything you need to podcast built right in it. So-- podcasts I think they're gonna remain free. Although I do think we may-- start to see some advertising tagged onto them-- you know, in the coming months.

JT: Now, I know it's companies like Disney and ESPN and ABC News are also gonna be various contributors like the Dawn and Drew Show and Newsweek and some NPR member stations. Are there gonna be individuals who are able to contribute to this? Will the average man or woman who has their own podcast on their home computer and sends it out on their Web site, are they gonna be part of the directory?

SJ: Well, you know, the, we have over 3,000 podcasts in the directory, today at launch. And, and I'm sure you know, hundreds more are flooding in as we speak. And, yeah, they range from professional podcasts - from Disney. We've got one up there with-- which is our New Music Tuesdays about our new music on the iTunes Music Store. All the way to really, you know, sort of the Wayne's World of radio. You know, somebody in their garage making a podcast talking about you know, what's on their mind, whether it's their commentary on new movies that have come out in the last few weeks to whatever. And so there's a wide range.

JT: Is the philosophy behind what is allowed to be offered on iTunes-- I mean, the Internet, as you know, is-- is complete and utter freedom. You can put up there almost anything you wanna put up there. And mostly that's a great thing. But there is a certain degree of anarchy involved with that. Is-- is that the same philosophy when it comes to the podcasts that are gonna be available?

SJ: You know, it is. Except that-- on our directory-- you know, we're not-- we're not allowing any pornography. And we're not allowing-- you know, copyright infringement and things like that. But other than those few guidelines you know, it's the Wild West.

JT: How big do you expect podcasting to get? How do you, say, envision this technology being used in three years, four years?

SJ: Well, you know, it's amazing. I think one of the most precious resources we all have these days is free time. And that's one of the great things about an iPod is you can use it while you're doing other stuff. So you can use it while you're exercising. You can use it while you're taking the subway to work-- driving to work, et cetera.

And what podcasting does is it lets me pick out those precise things I'm interested in. Whether it's a podcast on-- you know, on new films that have just come out, on-- on-- on-- on news, on music, whatever. And it automatically-- every time there's a new episode of that particular show, it automatically puts it on iTunes and syncs it to my iPod. So without any work on my part whatsoever, when I'm driving to work tomorrow, the latest and greatest episodes of the podcasts that I've picked are right on my iPod, saving me a ton of time.

And it's the most personalized thing we've ever done. 'Cause you get to pick of these 3,000 podcasts, you know, who knows? Maybe there'll be 10,000 podcasts soon. You get to pick which ones you're interested in. And, again, have the latest episodes delivered right to your iPod. And that's-- that's pretty profound when you think about it.

JT: The-- Apple's obviously-- been a huge player in all sorts of technological advancements. You guys, you know, launched the personal computer revolution in the '70s with the Apple II. You reinvented in the '80s with the Mac. Some critics of your company say that Apple is currently betting the company on iPod. And computer sales are not as important. Do you think that's a fair criticism? How do you respond to that?

SJ: Well, you know, all I can say is that our Macintosh computer sales are growing at-- you know, three to four times the rate of the rest of the industry. And-- we continue to be the leader in innovation. I think everybody's copying us. So-- you know, we're working really hard to make the best personal computers in the world. And we're working very hard to make the best portable digital music players in the world. And I think both are very important to us.

JT: OK. One last question, Steve, and I appreciate your time. When are we gonna see a video iPod? What-- and what are the other future developments for the iPod?

SJ: Well, you know us. We never talk about future products. There used to be a saying at Apple: Isn't it funny? A ship that leaks from the top. So-- I don't wanna perpetuate that. So I really can't say.

JT: Okay. (LAUGHTER) Well, Steve Jobs, thank you so much for joining us. We really appreciate it.

SJ: Well, thanks for having me. And I hope you-- everybody out there gets a chance to-- to go to the iTunes Music Store and check out the-- the new podcast directory and subscribe to a few podcasts today.

JT: And to download the ABC News Shuffle. And that is it for the ABC News Shuffle. I'm Jake Tapper. Thanks for downloading us.

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