The Macalope Weekly: Wrong about the iPad

It’s the end of another year and the time when pundits reflect on their commentary over the year and repent.

Ha-ha! Just kidding! Being a technology pundit means never having to say you’re sorry. Good thing, too, or the world’s crow population would take a serious hit at the end of every year. The Macalope would hate to think what we’d do without all that incessant cawing.

If there was one topic from 2010 that should have had the tech pundits Googling what wine goes with crow, it was the iPad.

Just a year ago we had no idea what the iPad was going to be like. That, of course, didn’t stop some from opining why you shouldn’t buy one. But, believe it or not, the Macalope’s not here to talk about what others got wrong about the iPad, he’s here to talk about what he got wrong about it.

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Every Saturday morning, the brown and furry one skewers technology pundits who get it wrong, so it’s the least he can do to devote one day of the year to his mistakes.

And, really, there’s only enough material for one day a year, anyway.

As hard as it is to believe, even the horny one wasn’t immune to the siren song of wildly predicting things about the iPad. To be fair, the Macalope doesn’t know if you’ve seen the sirens of wild prediction but they are lovely. And they validate parking. But that’s no excuse and it’s time for this furry pundit to publicly self-flagellate! (You might want to send the kids into the other room.)

What did the be-hooved doctor misdiagnose? For starters, he said the iPad would have “a hook… some differentiator that makes it a compelling purchase…” and said the most likely area where the iPad would focus would be as a replacement for “your newspapers, magazines and books.” This was the prevalent theory at the time as several whiz-bang proofs-of-concept were floating around the Web. A year later, however, newspapers are still struggling with subscription models, magazines are withering on the iPad’s vine, and a Kindle is still the best option for reading e-books. Nice try, pointy one. Don’t quit your day job, whatever that is.

(Contrary to popular belief, it does not involve animal husbandry. That’s more of a hobby. Or a calling.)

Worse, however, he let his pre-conceived notions of the pre-conceived notions of others cloud his conception of notions about the iPad. As it turns out, he was wrong about corporate IT’s willingness to accept the iPad into its dysfunctional home.

Corporate IT shops, of course, won’t much care for the iPad.

Surprise, surprise, they kinda like the iPad! Could the Mayans be right? Is this really the end of times?

Initially, it did seem like corporate IT was going to run the standard anti-Apple playbook against the iPad. But the pages of the playbook, worn from years of overuse, may have finally fallen out of their three-ring binder. The aging quarterback has proven unable to execute on the field, leaving Apple way ahead in this already annoying football playbook analogy.

But, when you take the analogy one step further, isn’t it interesting that RIM—makers of the former darling of corporate IT, the BlackBerry—has chosen to name its tablet computer the PlayBook?

Well, no, it’s not, actually, because the Macalope set the analogy up himself. Try to keep up, people.

But why the shift in corporate IT thinking? Who even knew that was possible? The Macalope had always heard that trolls were notoriously resistant to two things: sunlight and change.

Well, it’s unlikely there’s any one reason. Apple’s slowly chipped away at IT managers’ complaints about the iPhone and the iPad by adding Exchange integration and the ability to do remote management. Further, today's IT managers have observed 13 years of competent Apple management and almost 10 years of successes like the iPod, all the while struggling as Microsoft made their lives harder and harder.

Finally, if you want a tablet, what else are you going to buy? Windows 7 is a terrible OS for a tablet and Android isn’t optimized for anything over 7 inches yet. And, the nonsensical protestations of RIM executives notwithstanding, the PlayBook isn’t shipping yet and may not even make its expected March ship date.

Whatever the collection of reasons, the iPad seems to be the first Apple product that corporate IT shops are looking at with their blinders off and the Macalope didn’t expect that.

The Macalope did get some things right, though:

A year from now, every hardware vendor in the business will be shipping iPad-wannabes because the iPad redefines the box. And that’s the most important sign it will likely be a big success.

Apple’s turned another market on its head. Kind of makes you wonder what its got up its sleeve for 2011, doesn’t it?

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