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Tuesday, June 01, 2010, 07:45 pm PT (10:45 pm ET)

iPad is harbinger of 'uncomfortable' transition to post-PC, Jobs says

The iPad and other tablet-style devices won't completely replace the PC, but they will make traditional computers less necessary, Apple co-founder Steve Jobs said.

Jobs spoke Tuesday at the All Things D Conference, and was asked by Walt Mossberg of The Wall Street Journal whether the iPad is going to replace the laptop. Jobs said the change from the PC is inevitable, but it's a question of how long the transition will take.

"The transformation of the PC to new form factors like the tablet is going to make some people uneasy because the PC has taken us a long ways," Jobs said. "The PC is brilliant.. and we like to talk about the post-PC era, but it's uncomfortable."

He compared the migration to the U.S. automobile industry, and when most U.S. vehicles were trucks because they were driven by farmers. He said that cars became more popular as cities rose, and features like power steering and automatic transition were added over time. "PCs are going to be like trucks," he said, noting that they will still be around, but will represent a smaller number of people.

He said that the timeframe for the transition is unclear, and it's also unknown whether the iPad will be the device that ultimately replaces the PC. But he said he believes the migration is inevitable.

Jobs was asked whether a lack of a keyboard makes the iPad not an ideal device for content creation. Jobs responded by saying that people can use a Bluetooth keyboard if they really need to write something longer. He also said the software on devices will become more powerful and allow more features for users. "Time takes care of lots of these things," Jobs said.

As for future revisions to the iPad, the chief executive was asked whether flexible displays were on the horizon in new hardware. Jobs said that Apple does not currently have the technology to do that, and it's not on the horizon. He said a lot of people are trying, but it remains likely several years away.