The Macalope Daily: He's baaaaaack!


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Oh, kids. The stories the Macalope could tell about this pundit.

Six years ago, when the Macalope was just getting his start, he sharpened his antlers on Ou’s “work.” There is no greater friend to the pundit-skewerer than a prickly pear and Ou is the prickliest of pears (foul language warning).

But then George left us. Yes, it was sad, but he stopped writing for ZDNet and went on to greener, presumably cable-industry-funded pastures.

But now he’s back and writing for Byte! And he’s as comfortable to throw as an old shoe!

“How The iPad Went From Monopoly To Minority Within A Year” (a hearty tip o’ the antlers to David MacLachlan)

Hmm. George seems to have mellowed over the years. This title only projects his desires that the iPad drop to a minority share in the tablet market, something he admits hasn’t actually happened yet. It doesn’t, say, compare Apple to the Third Reich, like he did back in 2007.

Well, it has been five years! We’ve all changed. We’ve stopped listening to Coldplay for one thing.

When we first got word over the summer about a smaller and less expensive iPad it was a foregone conclusion that the miniature iPad would be a smash hit for Apple this fall.

Ready for George’s big but?

But just a few short months later the competitive environment has changed drastically and the iPad is rapidly approaching a minority market share.

Don’t bother clicking that link, as it doesn’t work—perhaps because Ou overzealously pasted the URL in twice. Let the Macalope help him out, however, (which way did he come in?) and provide the link he was looking for here, and even a summary (see how helpful the Macalope is?): The Pew Research Center says iPad ownership percentage declined from 81 percent last year to just 52 percent this year. It credits low-cost Android tablets for taking market share.

Which is … odd.

Now, Pew is a pretty reputable polling outfit, but there’s a few things about this that bother the Macalope. It makes sense that the Kindle Fire, which came out after their 2011 poll, would take a decent percentage. It gives the Fire 21 percent share, which is fine, but that means Pew thinks that a good portion of the increase in Android-based tablets came from devices that are not the Kindle Fire or the Google Nexus (which came out after their 2011 poll). According to Pew, your Galaxy Tabs, your Xooms, your Mumbly Joe’s Android Tablet and Shake Shack devices have 27 percent market share, climbing from 15 percent in 2011.

Really? Why? Prices on those devices didn’t fall that much. Amazon is able to sell Fires at something close to cost because the company figures it’ll make it up on book and video sales. Samsung, not so much. (Mumbly Joe makes it up on shake sales, but he only sold five tablets in the last year.)

And why is this study so at odds with estimates from analytical firms? IHS estimated in August that the iPad’s market share increased to 69.6 percent. Strategy Analytics backed that up saying the iPad’s share had increased to 68.3 percent. What gives?

The Macalope doesn’t have an answer, but maybe it’s partly this:

The analysis in this report is based on a survey conducted June 29-August 8, 2012 among a sample of 9,513 adults, 18 years of age or older…

Unless otherwise noted, “tablet owners/users” refers to adults who own and use a tablet computer…

Sorry iPad-using kids, the Pew pool is adult-swim only. Of course, the Macalope doesn’t know that the under-18 set skews heavily iPad, but this survey by Piper Jaffray’s Gene Munster indicates they do.

On the topic of tablets, Munster found that 44% of teenagers now have a tablet device of some sort, with 72% of those using an iPad.

Which makes sense. If you were a loving parent would you put a Motorola Xoom or an iPad under the holiday plant of your particular denomination for your kid? Unless you want tears the next morning, it better be an iPad.

Still, the kids these days would have had to increase their iPad ownership over the last year in order to offset Pew’s measured decrease among adults.

Something’s not right here.

Other than George Ou, the Macalope means.

With robust competition from Google and Amazon and soon Windows 8, it’s no longer a certainty that the iPad Mini can halt the rapidly declining market share of the iPad.

Which we know is rapidly declining based on one report that contradicts several others. These cherries are delicious! Did you pick them fresh?

Sight unseen, George expects the iPad mini to flop because, based on rumors, the Kindle Fire HD has a better screen.

At 52% market share and slipping, Apple is no longer the only player in town and they will have to compete on price at some level.

It’s true Apple doesn’t have the price advantage it once did, but there’s something a little odd about this comparison. What is it that George is leaving out?

Hang on, let’s search this piece for the word “ads.” Hey! What do you know?! The word “ads” is nowhere to be found. The Kindle Fire, of course, comes smothered in Amazon advertising, like butter in a Paula Deen recipe (which is to say it’s mostly ads). The iPad, not so much. The quality of the user experience, therefore, is substantially different. Ou apparently think people are going to be too dumb to figure that out. Or too full of self-loathing to care.

We’ll have to see what’s what in January. Whatever the case, it’s great to have you back, George!

[Editors’ Note: 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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