The Macalope Weekly: Tablet trouble

Bad news, iPad fans. Turns out Apple’s hot-selling device does not—repeat not—satisfy a made-up list of criteria from Lenovo. Sorry to be the bearer of bad tidings. It does appear, however, that several people were wrong about the iPad and how well it would do. Very unusual. Tech pundits wrong? Hmm. Very strange. Speaking of tablets, looks like Microsoft’s hot and surprisingly well-received tablet interface is going to get a name change! The Macalope provides some helpful suggestions.

Check!

Once again, Apple dorks, we see that there is nothing you can have that Windows OEMs cannot take away.

A leak to The Verge shows how Lenovo’s ThinkPad Tablet 2 beats the iPad for business. Or, well, will totally beat the iPad for business—when it ships.

Wait, there was a ThinkPad Tablet 1?

Yep. An Android-based tablet to which CNet gave a compliment that’s the very definition of “backhanded.”

If your IT department could design a tablet, the Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet would be it.

Ouch.

And the ThinkPad Tablet 2 is a continuation on the theme. It’s like Lenovo pulled a checklist out of a corporate IT white paper, handed it to engineers, and said “Make it.” Then the company emailed the checklist to The Verge, which put it in their piece.

Are you ready for the iPad-killing?! Because here it comes.

Read more…

Runs familiar PC apps and Metro—CHECK

As if anyone is familiar with Metro. Not surprisingly, the iPad fails the checkbox that includes the criterion: “Runs an operating system from Microsoft that only got released to manufacturers this week.”

APPLE FAIL.

Not surprisingly, the best-selling tablet in the corporate market—well, in every market—does not get a single check on this list.

Supports Active Directory—CHECK

Which you need because you’re stuck in an imaginary box of technology, like a corporate mime.

Domain Join & Group Policies—CHECK

Forget the fact that users love iPads, IT departments can’t apply cookie-cutter rules to them, so better to jam something they don’t like down their throats.

Manage Device with Windows 7 Tools—CHECK

OK, there’s really no point in continuing through this system admin’s fever dream. Anyone can make a list of hoops that the iPad can’t jump through, but the one thing you won’t find on this list is “Users like it.”

Conveniently.

iPad shmiPad

Prepare for a great gnashing of teeth, because it looks like the iPad-killing isn’t going so well.

Once again going recklessly against the conventional wisdom, Apple has extended its lead in the tablet market to almost 70 percent, according to a report from IDC. Like it wasn’t high enough before.

The Macalope believes it’s instructive at times like these to go back and review what people were saying about Apple products in previous news cycles.

Sorry, did the Macalope say “instructive”? He meant “hilarious.” How embarrassing. However could he have made such a mistake? Hahaha!

Anyway …

Almost two years ago, it was clear that the iPad was doing pretty well. That is, unless you thought that netbooks were just super-awesome, like ABI’s Jeff Orr. Back in 2010, Jeff was going to great pains to point out that the iPad wasn’t “all that,” nor “the bee’s knees,” because, as of May 2010, it had failed to match the first year of netbook sales.

“Apple has sold a few million iPads in its first quarter, which is great for creating a new market,” wrote ABI Research principal analyst Jeff Orr in a note today. “But early adoption of media tablets is not outpacing Netbooks.”

So, step down, girlfriend!

OK, OK. Fair enough. Say, Jeff, how many netbooks were sold in their first year?

Historically, looking back to 2008—the first year that Netbooks really came into vogue—Orr puts Netbook shipments at 15 million…

Wow! That’s a lot. Huh. Wonder how many iPads Apple sold in their first year?

Oh, that’s right, 15.43 million.

Whoa, whoa, whoa. All it did was effectively tie netbooks. Big whoop. In netbooks’ second year, they blew the doors off.

And this figure roughly doubled in 2009 to 30 million Netbooks shipped.

Ha! How many iPads did Apple sell in its second …

Yeah, it was 40 million. For 2010, Orr was predicting sales of netbooks would be 43 million. Jeff thought the sky was the limit for netbooks!

Aaaand here we are.

Orr was not alone in not being impressed by the iPad. CNet’s Molly Wood thought the Kindle Fire would burn the iPad’s lunch and, yes, she even used the k-word.

“Kindle Fire an iPad killer? Yes. It’s the price, stupid”

Well, let’s leave it to a chastened Jeff Orr to tell Molly how that worked out.

“Jeff Orr, ABI Research: iPad Remains Dominant in 1Q’2012 While Kindle Fire Fizzles”

Nicely done, Jeff! Glad to see you finally got the memo.

And, finally, it will come as no surprise that as late as March of 2011, PCWorld’s Katherine Noyes was insisting that tablets were just a fad and that she “fully expect[s] them to fade out of the mainstream over the next few years.” Apple, meanwhile, shipped 17 million iPads in the last quarter, an increase of 84 percent over the prior year.

Well, in Katherine’s defense, all those sales were to Apple fanbois who, as we all know, are well outside the open-source-loving mainstream.

Saturday Special: ABC

When in business, it it advisable to follow rules that are simple for staffers to learn. This is best exemplified by those precepts that can be put into an easy-to-remember acronym. For example, anyone who’s seen the movie Glengarry Glen Ross knows that the paramount principle in real estate is ABC: “Always Be Closing.”

Interestingly enough, Microsoft also uses the ABC acronym. But in Redmond’s case it stands for “Always Be Confusing.”

ZDNet’s Mary Jo Foley reports that after using the aforementioned “Metro” monicker for its tile-based interface since the introduction of Windows Phone 7, the company is now telling employees halt all internal and external use of the term.

According to the Verge, the transition comes after discussion with an important European partner; in the meantime, employees are being told to use “Windows 8 style UI” until the company picks a final name. Because that rolls so trippingly off the tongue.

Now, maybe Microsoft has its reasons. Maybe “Metro” means something naughty in Flemmish involving a goat, a series of pulleys and levers, and a zeppelin. The Macalope’s not here to judge. Mock, yes, but not judge.

Having been an observer of Microsoft’s awesome naming conventions for a long time, the horny one would humbly submit the following suggestions that Microsoft might use in place of “Metro,” which clearly lacks the company’s particular je ne sais quoi.

(Non, vraiment, je ne sais pas quel est leur problème.)

Submitted for your approval: “Windows 8 Interfaces for User Systems 2012.”

No?

OK, how about: “Windows Tile-Based Controls Display, Non-Embedded Systems”?

“Rectangular Responsive Windows Controls for Workgroups?”

Oh! Oh! “Advanced Windows TilesForSure Series 8!”

Well, whatever the company picks, it’s sure to be better than the catchy name the company’s already been using for years, and that people have come to know as one of the better things to issue from Redmond since, well, ever.

[Editors’ Note: Each week the Macalope skewers the worst of the week’s coverage of Apple and other technology companies. In addition to being a mythical beast, the Macalope is not an employee of Macworld. As a result, the Macalope is always free to criticize any media organization. Even ours.]

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