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Friday, January 07, 2011, 03:00 pm PT (06:00 pm ET)

CES: Samsung eyes Smart TV as center of 'digital hub' as it takes on Apple


This all happened before

Samsung's 2011 CES production, minus the dancing, is familiar in that it copies the strategy Apple's chief executive Steve Jobs presented a decade ago at Macworld Expo 2001. Back then, Apple positioned its flagship product, the Macintosh, as the center of a digital hub, with connections to moible phones, digital cameras, camcorders, music players, DVD players and PDAs—at a time when PCs were losing steam and failing to attract enthusiasm from consumers, much as Samsung's TV business is today.

Jobs cited a quote from Wall Street Journal writer Walt Mossberg, who Jobs called "one of the smartest journalists in our business," who had recently written that "The PC, which has carried the digital revolution for 24 years, has matured into something boring."

After noting comments from Compaq ("we don't think of it in terms of thePC business anymore") and Gateway ("we are clearly migrating away from the the PC as the centerpiece") chief executives, Jobs countered, "we don't think the PC is dying at all. We don't think the PC is moving away from the center at all. We think it's evolving."

Jobs laid out a path of PC evolution that defined the early 80s as an initial "golden age" of computing based on productivity software, which began to wane in the early 90s. A "second golden age" began in the mid 90s with the rise of Internet, Jobs said, but it too had began to lose its momentum by 2000. Jobs said he believed a third age would focus on a digital lifestyle, driven by an "explosion of digital devices."

"The Mac," Jobs said, "can become the 'digital hub' of our emerging digital lifestyle, adding tremendous value to our other digital devices." Jobs said PCs could be the center of this digital hub because they had the horsepower to run complex applications that other devices lack, and provide large, inexpensive disk storage, can burn discs, and offer big screens and fast networking.

Jobs touted iMovie as "adding tremendous value to your camcorder," an example of how Apple could combine its hardware and operating system technology with application development, internet access and marketing to present a solution that enabled users to edit their own videos and then stream them over the web to their friends.

Jobs said Apple was unique in the industry in being able to put together all of these components, and noted that the company saw apps as the "glue" used to attach digital devices to the Mac hub, citing the existing iMovie, iTunes and iDVD and noting that Apple was working on new ones.



On page 3 of 3: Apps without a place.