Spot the hubris: A case of the pundit pot calling the Apple kettle black


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You know how terrible it is when kittens turn into cats, right? Everyone was all “Awww, kitten!” and now they’re like “Big deal, it’s a cat.” That’s the point we’ve reached with tablets.

“Apple Is Confusing Tablet Leadership With Awesomeness" (indirect link and a tip o’ the antlers to Shawn King)

Writing for TechNewsWorld, Chris Maxcer is confusing market maturation with failure.

The new super thin iPad Air 2 is starting to get tepid reviews, most of which begrudgingly call it the “best tablet” in the market, while admitting it’s boring.

We’ve seen this show. We went through this a few years ago with smartphones. Pundits lamented that smartphones were so boring. This is what happens with markets. They mature.

Pundits, meanwhile, exhibit an infant’s persistence of thought, only being mollified by shiny objects.

The hubris in Cupertino...

Aaaand you just coined the title of Yukari Iwatani Kane‘s next book.

Let’s see who has the hubris here as Maxcer tries to Jobsplain Apple.

If I remember this correctly, Steve Jobs bought the team behind Siri...

Why bother looking it up? You’re already writing for the site that publishes Rob Enderle’s brain pan drippings. The bar is set pretty low.

No, Apple easily could rejuvenate iPad sales...


...not by taking it to new markets, and not by getting in bed with IBM to build touch-friendly enterprise apps, but simply by paying attention to what customers think they want.

Uh, no. One of Apple’s strengths is figuring out what customers want. Customers don’t know where the intersection between want and what’s possible is. That’s the manufacturer’s job (and one Apple’s competitors routinely fumble about with as they wait for Apple to enter a market and define it for them).

Sounds anti-Apple, actually.

Not only is letting customers dictate what to make anti-Apple, it’s anti-Jobs. First Maxcer laments the loss of Jobs’ ability to pick the right features to make devices compelling and then he chastises Apple for not doing something Jobs never would have done. But he knows how to “fix” the iPad.

Deliver side-by-side app multitasking;

Because your typical iPad user is super-concerned about multitasking. It’s why the iPhone does so poorly.


Offer individual user accounts on one iPad;

Basically make things more complicated. People love complicated devices.

Create a physical, mobile keyboard solution.

Like the highly popular Microsoft Surface. How many people really have keyboards for their iPads? The Macalope does, but most iPad owners he knows don’t. This list smacks of “things this technologist wants,” not things that will make the iPad more popular.

These are bad suggestions, but Chris Maxcer’s personal wishlist doesn’t apply to everyone who buys a tablet.

Amazon is so far ahead of Apple in terms of family-friendly apps, controls, and accounts that it’s not even funny.

And how many Kindle Fires has Amazon sold?


Much of Maxcer’s suggestions boil down to chasing the Kindle Fire and the Surface, devices that sell far more poorly than the iPad by ridiculous margins. Certainly that’s a winning strategy. The rest seems to involve trying to make the iPad an enterprise device. But the iPad already has something like 90 percent share in the enterprise.

In fact, if Apple had just broken down and created a keyboard cover like Microsoft’s for the Surface Pro—no matter how embarrassing such a move would be—iPad sales would not have been down over the last few quarters. I firmly believe that. Why?

Because there’s a gas leak in your house? Because you ate that expired yogurt and now you hear voices? Because...

Oh, you mean why iPad sales would not have been down, not why you believe that. Oh. Ohhhh.

It’s because it fills a psychological hole. It provides an excuse to spend hundreds of dollars on something that is not absolutely necessary.

So, wait. Maxcer’s argument here is that Apple is not listening to customers and not giving them the features that they’re crying out for. Yet these features are all present in devices that sell worse than the iPad. And, the Macalope doesn’t know if Maxcer knows this, but you can actually buy keyboards for the iPad. Today! How is this all supposed to make any sense?

They will continue to buy into Apple, not because the device is the pinnacle of awesomeness. They will continue to buy into Apple because Apple is—at least right now—the stickiest consumer tech company around.

Look, it’s fine to criticize the iPad. Clearly there is something up with the tablet market so it’s reasonable to ask questions (if you want to read some good analysis, read this piece by Ben Bajarin). But this argument—“Apple devices are the best but they have not attained an imagined state of perfection so they must assume features I like that are on devices that don’t sell as well.”—reveals more about the hubris of the writer than about any in Cupertino.

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