iBooks has been a big successful venture for Apple — despite the ongoing price fixing case from the Department of Justice — but it’s a service that may never have been if Eddy Cue hadn’t convinced Steve Jobs it would be awesome on the iPad.
Before Apple was gearing up to launch its popular tablet in late 2009, Steve Jobs wasn’t interested in the iBooks idea, and he felt e-books had no place on desktops and small smartphone displays.
“He wasn’t interested,” Cue said during his testimony in a Manhattan federal court on Thursday. “Steve never felt that the Mac or the iPhone were ideal reading devices. In the case of the phone, the screen was smaller, and in the case of the Mac, you had this keyboard and device, and it didn’t feel like a book.”
But in late 2009, months before Apple was set to launch the iPad, Cue got his hands on the device for the first time, and he quickly became convinced that this would be a massive opportunity for Apple to “build the best e-reader that the market had ever seen.”
All he had to do then was convince Jobs of the same.
“And so I went to Steve and told him why I thought [the iPad] was going to be a great device for ebooks,” Cue said. “… and after some discussions he came back and said, you know, I think you’re right. I think this is great, and then he started coming up with ideas himself about what he wanted to do with it and how it would be even better as a reader and store.”
But Cue still had one hurdle to overcome. Now that he’d persuaded Jobs that iBooks would be a hit, Jobs decided he wanted to show it off on stage during the iPad’s launch event. The only problem was, this was November, and the iPad was set to get its grand unveiling the following January.
Cue obviously managed to get iBooks ready in time, not just for Apple, but for Jobs, whose health was deteriorating at the time.
“Steve was near the end of his life when we were launching the iPad, and he was really proud of it,” Cue said. “He was working hard on it. I believed that iBooks was going to be a tremendous feature of the product. People were going to love it; our customers were just going to go wild about iPad and iBooks, and I wanted to be able to get that done in time for [the event] because it was really important to him. … I like getting my work done and I pride myself on being successful, but this had extra meaning to me.”