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Steve Jobs Quotes: Predicting the Future
The best way to predict the future is to invent it.
You can’t just ask customers what they want and then try to give that to them. By the time you get it built, they’ll want something new.
Customers can’t anticipate what the technology can do. They won’t ask for things that they think are impossible. But the technology may be ahead of them. If you happen to mention something, they’ll say, ‘Of course, I’ll take that. Do you mean I can have that, too?’ It sounds logical to ask customers what they want and then give it to them. But they rarely wind up getting what they really want that way.
Some people say, “Give the customers what they want.” But that’s not my approach. Our job is to figure out what they’re going to want before they do. I think Henry Ford once said, “If I’d asked customers what they wanted, they would have told me, ‘A faster horse!'” People don’t know what they want until you show it to them. That’s why I never rely on market research. Our task is to read things that are not yet on the page.
I’ve always thought it would be really wonderful to have a little box, a sort of slate that you could carry along with you. [Predicting the iPad in 1984]
We’re going to be able to ask our computers to monitor things for us, and when certain conditions happen, are triggered, the computers will take certain actions and inform us after the fact. 
You’ll see more and more perfection of that — computer as servant. But the next thing is going to be computer as a guide or agent. 
If, for some reason, we make some big mistake and IBM wins, my personal feeling is that we are going to enter a computer Dark Ages for about twenty years. 
The most compelling reason for most people to buy a computer for the home will be to link it into a nationwide communications network. We’re just in the beginning stages of what will be a truly remarkable breakthrough for most people — as remarkable as the telephone. 
This revolution, the information revolution, is a revolution of free energy as well, but of another kind: free intellectual energy. It’s very crude today, yet our Macintosh computer takes less power than a 100-watt bulb to run it and it can save you hours a day. What will it be able to do ten or twenty years from now, or fifty years from now? 
Computers themselves, and software yet to be developed, will revolutionize the way we learn. 
I’m very excited about having the Internet in my den. 
While there’s an opportunity to apply software to the living room, the merging of the computer and the TV isn’t going to happen. They’re really different things. So yes, you want to share some information [between the two], but people who are planning to put computers into the living room, like they are today, I’m not sure they’re going to have a big success. 
It will go down in history as a turning point for the music industry. This is landmark stuff. I can’t overestimate it! [Commenting on iPod and iTunes in 2003]