Quite some time ago now a joke about the PC press suggested that if Steve Jobs walked across San Francisco Bay using nothing but his bare feet, their headlines would read: "Apple "Genius" can't swim!".
This hasn't changed: an overwhelming majority of PC press iPad reviews mix faint and deeply reluctant praise with enthusiastic emphasis on anything even remotely construable as a negative. There's a review of iPad reviews done by some Computerworld blogger that illustrates this perfectly - because the bits picked from other reviews for retail to the Computerworld audience include some of the silliest attempts to denigrate the iPad you'll ever see. Would you believe, for example, that having a faster CPU than the iPhone is bad thing?
Even though the performance of the iPad and the [iPhone] 3GS over the same AT&T 3G network were almost identical, the iPad felt slow, mainly because of how much faster the iPad's CPU can render pages. ...
The consultancy side of the PC hype machine acts the same way: there isn't a major player out there that hasn't recommended against business adoption of the iPad on grounds every bit as honest and logically compelling as their earlier rejection of the iPhone, the iMac - and just about every other Apple product ever released.
So, with that in mind I thought I'd help out a bit by listing the eight most important things the PC press won't go out of its way to tell you about the iPad:
- No Intel CPU (it's a PPC derived, ARM core, system on a chip);
- No motherboard "architecture" - from the review of reviews quoted above:
The 3G iPad is not nearly as barren as the Wi-Fi-only iPad, but it's still not jam-packed.
Not jam-packed? oh the horror! the horror!
- Like the iPhone, it runs Unix (making Unix now the best selling consumer OS)
- The iPad/iPhone apps industry is the single fastest growing smart jobs generator in America today.
In absolute terms it's still tiny, of course - but the take-up rate is amazing.
- Security issues generally relate to user accounts and shared network infrastructure, not the iDevices themselves - did I mention that they run Unix and don't use Intel CPUs?
- The iPad is already driving some secondary innovation - Purses designed to accommodate the things, early adopters in real estate marketing finding major competitive advantage, a real possibility that new media reporting will hit the mainstream, and people at Boeing thinking of using them in airplane seat backs to offer better services at lower cost and lower weight.
- the iPad generally meets or exceeds customer expectations - a mortal sin in the Wintel world where service revenues depend on exploiting the gap between hype driven customer expectation and the reality of what the products can actually deliver.
- Since at least 1984 the PC press has ridiculed every major advance in communications and computation until its own advertisers could produce copies and then enthusiastically hyped those copies as world beating innovations. What we're seeing with the iPad is just more of the same: the objective experts who hated the first iPhones now love the me toos, and the same people who now hate the iPad will be telling you, in a year or two, how incredibly wonderful, ground breaking, and just plain business mission critical the wintel industry's insanely innovative clones are.
And that, of course, is the single most important thing the PC press hides about the iPad: that hating it is commercially important to them.
So, bottom line? I don't think people who write headlines like iPhone 4: Perfect for everyone, except humans attack it because it advances personal computing, offers new business opportunities, or embeds new design ideas; I think these people instinctively reject Apple products simply because those products generally meet expectation -while their living depends on selling products that don't.