In case you missed it, the next great “iPad killer” the BlackBerry PlayBook was released this week to a collective thud. Many reviews have been soft by excusing this device and others (like the Motorola Xoom) as “beta” or “rushed to production”.
In response to those excuses John Gruber @ Daring Fireball lets em’ have it:
“I don’t understand why so many reviewers bend over backwards to grade these things on a curve. If the iPad 2 had the problems and deficiencies the Xoom and PlayBook have, these same reviewers would (rightly) trash it, and declare (again, rightly) that Apple had finally lost its Midas touch.
These aren’t “beta” tablets. They’re bad tablets. It’s that simple. It’s true that their hardware seems closer to iPad-caliber than their software, but improving software is the hardest part of making products like these. By the time RIM releases “a serious software update or three” the entire market will have changed. The truth is, Motorola, Samsung, and now RIM have released would-be iPad competitors that pale compared to the iPad. Just say it.
The mass market doesn’t buy, and doesn’t want to buy, products based on what they might become months from now if these companies somehow dramatically improve the software. They buy products for what they are today, out of the box. Motorola and RIM and Samsung are Apple’s industry peers. These are the big leagues, this is The Show. They’re charging customers real money to buy these things. They should be judged by the same standards.”
Thanks for calling it like it is Gruber.
Here’s my thoughts about the current onslaught of wannabe iPad rivals:
I believe one of the biggest reasons for the success of the iPad was its very long design gestation. Jobs has said in interviews that Apple came up with the concept of the iPad before the iPhone and not the other way around.
Because of that progression by time the iPad was released it was really more of a 3rd generation product than a 1st generation. Apple prepared the market perfectly by educating millions of users about iOS (getting them hooked) with the iPhone as well as with the not often mentioned iPod Touch (which it still a great product in it’s own right, and to this day does not have a single equivalent competitor in the US).
Sure, no one knew exactly what the iPad’s release would do to the tablet market but all these companies that are now rushing inferior products to catch up, really should have been paying more attention and or taking Apple much more serious. It was long rumored that the iPad was in the works but apparently no one really believed it was a threat.
So now we have all these competing devices that aren’t quite ready for release being sold because their makers are scrambling to catch up (because Apple’s making a killing). Instead they should take a strategy from Apple’s playbook (sorry, couldn’t resist) and be thinking about what’s next and design for future instead of the past.
I guarantee you that’s what Apple is already doing.