Steve Jobs: A touch-interface for the Mac?

The New York Times catches up with the Apple CEO in advance of the company's much-anticipated financial report.

Published October 22, 2007 5:34PM (EDT)

The New York Times' John Markoff checked in with Apple CEO Steve Jobs at an auspicious time -- in advance of the launch, later this week, of the company's new operating system, and its release, later today, of its earning report for the fourth quarter.

Expectations for both are high, and Jobs was upbeat. He told Markoff that he sees Leopard, the new OS, as another step in a decade of upgrades -- coming about once a year -- for the software. Compare this with Microsoft's operating system plans -- the next big upgrade might come in 2010, by which time, Markoff notes, Apple will have released two new OS versions.

Mac's OS advantage is working out well. Analysts are predicting that the afternoon's financial release will show huge sales -- Apple seems to have moved into third place in the U.S. PC market, behind Hewlett-Packard and Dell. Jobs told Markoff: "The Macintosh has a lot of momentum now ... It is outpacing the industry."

So far all this standard business-page stuff, but the Markoff piece takes a curious -- and perhaps happy -- turn toward the end.

Markoff comments that there have been "no obvious radical innovations" in the computer industry "to jump-start growth." Au contraire, suggests Jobs -- the iPhone's version of OS X does have something revolutionary: The multitouch pointing system. "People don't understand that we've invented a new class of interface," Jobs says.

But wait a minute -- multitouch isn't available on Macs. It is only for phones and iPods -- so how can it jump-start PC sales? Unless ... soon, it will be? Pointless speculation, I know.

But it's in the tradition of a long line of speculation, so it's all right.

By Farhad Manjoo

Farhad Manjoo is a Salon staff writer and the author of True Enough: Learning to Live in a Post-Fact Society.

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