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Wednesday, January 16, 2008, 09:00 am PT (12:00 pm ET)

Steve Jobs talks MacBook Air, China Mobile, Amazon Kindle, more

In a pair of interviews following his Macworld keynote address on Tuesday, Apple chief executive spoke of his firm's two-year initiative to develop the world's thinnest notebook and also weighed in on the iPhone in China, Amazon's Kindle and Google's Android mobile platform.

"We decided a few years ago to build the world's thinnest notebook. And so, it started in the design phase, figuring out how small we could make things," Jobs told CNBCs Jim Goldman. "And we probably built 100 models to get to this. So the first step was just holding a model in your hand and saying, 'if we could make this real, we would all just lust after this.' And, we did! So its been about two years of work to make this."

"It's [takes] precision machined aluminum to get it this light and this thin," he said.

In a separate interview with the New York Times' John Markoff, Jobs also revealed that the MacBook Air's circuit board, which includes the custom-shrunk Core 2 Duo chip, is about the length of a pencil.

“I’m going to be the first one in line to buy one of these,” he added. “I’ve been lusting after this.”

Meanwhile, Jobs also weighed in on other recent industry developments, like Amazon's new $400 Kindle eBook reader, which he believes is destine for failure.

"It doesn’t matter how good or bad the product is, the fact is that people don’t read anymore," he said. "Forty percent of the people in the U.S. read one book or less last year. The whole conception is flawed at the top because people don’t read anymore."

Jobs was equally skeptical about Google’s decision to move into the cellular market with its new open-source Android software platform (1, 2).

"Having created a phone its a lot harder than it looks,” he told the Times. "We’ll see how good their software is and we’ll see how consumers like it and how quickly it is adopted.” Jobs instead believes the search giant had actually achieved its goal of not getting locked out of the cellular market without Android.

"I now think Android hurts them more than it helps them," he professed. "It’s just going to divide them and people who want to be their partners.”

In his interview with the Times, Jobs also discounted reports that his company's Apple TV model will extend to cable television. "We’re not going to go there with the cable cards,” he insisted, referring to ongoing analyst speculation that a future version of the wireless set-top-box would ship with TV tuner cards. "That whole industry, their go-to-market strategy is pretty loopy, and it’s fractured,” he said. "Our model is like DVD."

In his interview with CNBC's Goldman, Jobs also insisted that all those rumors of negotiations between Apple and China mobile over bringing iPhone to China are just not true. Instead, he said a single representative from China Mobile has flown into Cupertino just once, and that there are no on-again off-again negotiations as some in the mainstream media have been reporting.

Obviously, Jobs said he's eager to launch the iPhone in China — one of the world's hottest cellular markets — but has nothing new to announce at this time.