Steve Jobs, the Magic 8-Ball, Replies to Email

A few lucky individuals sending emails to steve@apple.com have apparently been getting responses from the iconic CEO on a range of topics from Mac availability to iPhone OS 4.

The seeming randomness of what gets a response, and the often short, cryptic replies, seem reminiscent of the famous fortune-telling toy, not that we aren’t all hanging on every single-word reply.

The latest terse missive seen above was in response to a question those of us with iPhone and multiple email accounts have been asking for years. TUAW reports reader Julio R. asked if the “iPhone will ever have a universal mailbox just like Mail has on my Mac?”

In typically minimalist reply, Jobs responded, “Yep.” While that’s not as affirmative as “Yep – definitely,” I’ll take it. A universal inbox is easily the most obvious missing feature of Mail on the iPhone. While that might be the most satisfying response from Steve Jobs of late, it’s hardly the only one.

A couple of days ago, 9to5Mac posted a response from an individual asking about Apple supporting Google’s Picassa library format. Not surprisingly, the response was negative, nor was it surprising that Jobs wrote Apple had a better alternative, saying “iPhoto on the Mac has much better Faces and Places features.”

There’s really no Magic 8-Ball equivalent to that, but a day later a MacRumors reader allegedly was told in response to the interminable wait for new Mac Pros “not to worry.” The common “Yes” response was given by another TUAW reader asking if it would be possible transfer Google Docs to an iPad through iWork.com, a response supposedly sent from Jobs’ iPad.

From AppleInsider, also sent from Jobs’ iPad and about iPads, was the response to a question about where the iPad will be sold, that being ‘initially at Apple Retail and online stores and Best Buy.” One has to wonder how AT&T, which sells the iPhone and will be providing a data plan for the iPads, feels about that email.

Assuming these responses are not fakes, those hoping to become one of the chosen ones should probably consider their questions carefully. It’s probably a good idea to ask a question that’s interesting, not to Apple customers, but to Steve Jobs, and one that he can answer in a way that satisfies him. Asking why the iPhone is chained to a second-rate carrier like AT&T, or why there is no to-do option for Calendar on the iPhone like iCal has on my Mac will probably not be responded to. At least not so far. Like the Magic 8-Ball, the best questions are short and binary, “yes” or “no” replies.

So, what question are you thinking of asking Steve?

Related GigaOM Pro Research: Forecast: Tablet App Sales To Hit $8B by 2015

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