The Monday before the launch of the iPad, I had a rather fractious phone call from a TV station.
Broadcaster: "Would you come on the telly on Wednesday morning and talk about the Apple Tablet or whatever it is they're going to be launching on Wednesday evening?"
Me: "I don't even know what it's called, and neither does anyone else. Apple hasn't said what it'll be announcing. I can't really talk about something I know nothing about. I know lots of people are, but I'm not really comfortable..."
Broadcaster: "Well, can you say nobody knows what it is but then talk about what it might be?"
Me:"What? You want me to come on and say I know nothing about the subject I'm discussing? Not sure that's an improvement..."
The conversation went downhill from there. (We made up on Tuesday, and all is well.)
Of course, it is useless hoping people will stop speculating about Apple (it only encourages them...). But I did hope that once the darn thing was out of its closet, things would settle down.
If only. Since Wednesday, I have read more bad-tempered incendiary pseudo-punditry on whether the iPad is (a) The Greatest Thing Ever or (b) Meh than I have on abortion, guns, drugs and Scientology this year.
It's not just that there are two different camps, it's that they have instantly polarised with an almost cultic level of mutual loathing and lack of respect. I've not seen this much raw contempt shored up with catcalls from the gallery since I last looked into Scottish church history: not for nothing did The Economist lead with an image of Jobs as a berobed, behalo'd saint.
And the whole business remains on the level of holy writ: much is written, but you need the eye of faith to read it - and the heart of a crazed crusader to go to war on the strength of the contents. But crazed crusaders are what we find. Not helping.
Can we wind things back a bit until the Second Coming/Dismal Corrupter of consumer electronics actually makes it into the market? Please? It's not as if there aren't other things - yea, even other Apple things - which may be somewhat more important. Here are two: the upcoming war with Google (which may see some surprising alliances), and Steve Jobs' successor. There are others. Any or all of these will have lots of ramifications for the world outside Apple fandom. Go nuclear on those, if you like.
The iPad? Until it's out there: not so much.