Cars, Trucks, and iPads


Here is Steve Jobs on the future of PCs:

“When we were an agrarian nation, all cars were trucks because that’s what you needed on the farms.” Cars became more popular as cities rose, and things like power steering and automatic transmission became popular.

“PCs are going to be like trucks,” Jobs said. “They are still going to be around.” However, he said, only “one out of x people will need them.”

I get Jobs’s point, and if your definition of “PC” is narrow enough he’s probably right.1 But where did this whole truck analogy come from? The first cars were cars, weren’t they? And the rise of cities was pretty much unrelated to the rise of cars. What’s he talking about here?

1For what it’s worth, I think “PC” has a very wide definition indeed. The iPad, for example, is pretty clearly a PC. I get why Jobs wants to pretend otherwise, since he’s pretty invested in the whole “magical experience” narrative of iPad ownership, but does anyone else buy this? I mean, it’s a free-standing single-user device with a screen, a keyboard, a CPU, connectivity to the internet, and the ability to run lots of different apps. If that’s not a PC, what is?

UPDATE: Man, I gotta learn to read to the end of posts. This comes via James Joyner, who makes the exact same point as me about the whole car/truck analogy. He even has links.