All Things Digital kicks off its eighth D Conference this evening, with Apple CEO Steve Jobs taking the hot seat. Jobs’ participation couldn’t come at a seemingly better time. The Apple cofounder has taken asserted charge, after recovering from a liver transplant last year. Apple stock is high flying. World Wide Developers Conference convenes next week, presumably with an iPhone 4G announcement. Apple shipped 2 million iPads since last month’s sales launch.
But Apple also has been criticized for restrictive iPhone 4 OS developer terms and openness of its Web strategy. Then there is the rumored Justice Department investigation into iTunes business practices. So there is plenty for D8 organizers Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher to ask Jobs about. I’ve got 10 questions and not necessarily the most obvious one. Jobs is highly unlikely to answer obvious questions, like about iPhone OS, Apple TV or other rumored announcements.
Here they are presented in no order of importance:
1. What happened to the poor guy who lost that iPhone 4G prototype? Did you chew out his ass, fire him or what?
2. What is your primary computing device? Mac, iPhone or iPad? We can assume you’re not running Windows, right?
3. What’s up with you and this sudden responsiveness to e-mail? Do you really answer all those customer or partner e-mails, or do you farm out the work to some lowly assistant? If you do answer them, be honest, is it because you can’t stop playing with your “magical” iPad?
4. How can you possibly say with a straight face that “search is not happening on phones?”
5. What would you like to say to all the iPad naysayers? C`mon, you’re feeling smug about early sales, right? This is your chance to gloat.
6. Could you offer some advice to Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer? The other Steve has taken over running Microsoft’s consumer and mobile businesses. Wait — if the answer is “give up” you have to say why.
7. Be honest. How did you react when learning the cops had raided Gizmodo editor Jason Chen’s home? Is there perhaps a Gawker lawsuit in the future for exposure of Apple trade secrets?
8. Why suddenly is it so hard for Apple to get along with everybody? Adobe is one of the earliest Mac partners and Google was an important app/services developer for the original iPhone. Apple has fallen out with both companies. The Federal Trade Commission and Justice Department are barking Apple antitrust. Can’t you be friends with anybody?
9. Confess, when was your last civil word with Google CEO Eric Schmidt?
10. How will you prevent history from repeating? It’s hard not to make Mac and DOS/Windows PC comparisons between iPhone and Android handsets. How about giving three reasons why history won’t repeat?