During Apple's Q4 2010 conference call today, surprise attendee Steve Jobs took it to RIM, their BlackBerry link, and upcoming PlayBook tablet saying they'll have to fundamentally re-invent themselves to catch up.

Highlights, paraphrased:

  • Steve Jobs! (SJ): 14.1 million iPhones represents 91% growth. Handily beat RIM's 12.1 million BlackBerry's sold in most recent quarter. Past RIM, doesn't see them catching up. They must become a software platform company. A challenge for them. A high mountain to climb.

When it comes to their PlayBook tablet, he lumped them in with criticism for smaller screened Android Tablets as well:

  • SJ: Other tables appear to be just a handful of credible entrants. Almost all use 7" screens compared to iPad 10". Would offer 70% of benefits. But only 45% as large because of diagonal measure. 7" screens a bit smaller than bottom half of iPad screen. Not big enough to make great tablet apps.
  • SJ: Apple has done extensive testing, really understand this stuff. Limits to how close you can place elements for usability. Why 10" is minimum size for great tablet apps.
  • SJ: Every tablet user is also smartphone user. No tablet can fit in your pocket. Giving up precious diplay area to fit tablets in pockets isn't the way to go. Tweeners.
  • SJ: iPad now has more than 35,000 apps. New tablets will have 0.
  • SJ: Competitors have a tough time coming close to iPad pricing even with smaller screen. Apple creates own chip, battery chemistry, enclosure, everything. Incredible product, incredible price. Competitors will likely offer less for more.
  • SJ: New crop of tablets will likely be DOA. Too small. Will increase size next year, abandon customers and developers who went 7-inch.

That's some tough talk for the entrenched enterprise champion, with an incredibly passionate install base wrapped up in BES and BBM. Is QNX the reboot he's talking about, or is the Torch and Style a sign it's not coming fast enough?