Steve Jobs was ?annoyed and depressed? over initial reaction to iPad launch

Posted:
in iPad edited January 2014
Walter Isaacson's authorized biography of Steve Jobs has leaked additional details about how Apple's co-founder felt about the populist, disdainful attacks on the products his teams worked to produce, noting in particular the launch of last year's iPad.



Early in 2010, Apple arranged a special event specifically to unveil the iPad, but the media covering the event (which AppleInsider attended) heaped scorn and castigation on the new product, complaining about its inability to run Adobe Flash and deriding it as "just a big iPod touch."



In the new book, according to a report by the Huffington Post, Jobs reportedly told Isaacson that the immediate media backlash left him "annoyed and depressed."



The night of the iPad launch, Jobs confided with his biographer, "I kind of got depressed today. It knocks you back a bit."



Knocking on Jobs



Complaints were attached to nearly every aspect of the new tablet; a review of the media's coverage of the new iPad makes it clear that very few in the media (or among financial analysts) saw even a portion of the real potential of the new product, and they didn't come around until Apple began reporting its sales figures.



Expressing a rare standout opinion, David Pogue of the New York Times noted, "That [criticism] will last until the iPad actually goes on sale in April. Then, if history is any guide, Phase 3 will begin: positive reviews, people lining up to buy the thing, and the mysterious disappearance of the basher-bloggers."



But by and large, the iPad was equated with Tablet PC and the Amazon Kindle and mocked as "over-hyped and under-delivered," while pundits demanded 2.0 features a year early. Hours after the iPad's unveiling, the phrase "iPad a disappointment" became a "spicy" trending topic as ranked by Google. Bloggers offered top ten lists of "reasons not to buy" the iPad.







Dan Lyons of Newsweek, who had built a career around mocking Jobs and has had plenty of nice things to say about free equipment Microsoft has sent him to review, sniped "I haven't been this let down since Snooki hooked up with The Situation," at the launch of the original iPad, adding in his "insta-reaction" that "Jobs himself seems tired and low-key. Speculation about his health, and its impact on Apple's ability to innovate, may only increase after today's event."



A year later, many of the same bloggers and journalists expressed giddy anticipation for Google Android 3.0 Honeycomb tablets with a similar form factor, less software functionality and greater cost, tied to devices that weren't even ready for sale yet and wouldn't be for months.



Seething hatred for Jobs and Apple by members of the media



Despite having knocked a series of home runs out of the park with the original iPod, every iPod update, the iPhone and a widening series of new Mac models, members of the media pounced on Apple's iPad either in the expectation that it might fail and that they could be the first to predict such failure, or a simple bitterness about not being invited to the event.



The reaction of some members of the media to getting anything less than VIP treatment by Apple was characterized by San Mateo County police as "juvenile," while investigating the actions of Gizmodo bloggers involved in obtaining and refusing to return an iPhone 4 prototype last summer.



District Attorney Steven Wagstaffe stated, "It was obvious they were angry with the company about not being invited to some press conference or some big Apple event. We expected to see a certain amount of professionalism-this is like 15-year-old children talking." He added, "There was so much animosity, and they were very critical of Apple. They talked about having Apple right where they wanted them and they were really going to show them."







The end of the media's self fulfilling prophesies



Gizmodo wasn't alone in using its audience to heap contempt upon Apple and Jobs, sometimes out of vengeful malice for being snubbed, sometimes out of ideological hatred for Apple's business model or jealously of its success.



But regardless of their intent, fanning the flames of criticism against Apple has seemed to have a single result: the company weathered the storm of criticism and focused on delivering products customers wanted. Increasingly, that has also resulted in Apple's customer base growing, including people who would never have considered buying a Mac, but would look at the iPhone or iPad or the free iTunes, and then subsequently buy a Mac afterward based on their positive experiences.



Apple's customer base has exploded from what was around 20 million Mac users just five years ago into hundreds of millions of iTunes users who have purchased more than 250 million iOS devices. At the same time, Mac sales have also grown dramatically. Apple now sells around seven times as many Macs in a quarter as it did just a few years ago.



The power of the media (and the pundits they choose to interview) to actively repress Apple's sales in favor of alternative vaporware promises by its competitors has increasingly evaporated since the early days when tech news was printed on paper, a month or two after events actually happened. The immediacy of the Internet has allowed people to keep themselves independently informed, erasing the media's ability to erect fallacies and parade them around until they are recognized as facts.



Killing with faint praise



At the same time, while modern (if scathing) criticism of Apple has seemingly only made the company stronger and better adapted to delivering the products people are willing to buy, the overtly supportive glorification of Apple's competitors has appeared to have the opposite effect.



From their first appearance on the smartphone stage following Apple's iPhone, Google's Android, Palm's webOS and Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 have caused the general media to bend over backward to scrounge for ideas they can praise while politely ignoring their faults. In general, the result has been that the customers they pushed toward these products have walked away irritated.



The media in general fawned over the premise of Android 3.0 Honeycomb Tablets, described Microsoft's Zune media player and KIN smartphone as interesting first efforts customers should consider while describing Microsoft's Courier project as being as real as the iPad, and offered nearly unbridled praise for the Amazon Kindle, Google ChromeBooks, and (initially) Windows Vista.



Rather than driving blockbuster sales for those products, glowing reviews and praise only had the affect of setting users' expectations higher than their respective vendors could deliver. Such polite reporting on companies outside of Apple has also had the effect of ignoring or covering up significant problems that more honest reporting should have demanded be fixed.



After being all but ignored for years, Google's security-free software model for Android is now suffering from a plague of malware approaching the extent of Windows XP ten years ago, except that smartphones often have far more sensitive data to steal and are easier to ring up fraudulent charges on than PCs. In contrast, any potential security flaws (or unpopular designs) released by Apple have been dogged with contempt until they are addressed. Typically, that has occurred before there were any real problems occurring in the wild.



Will the media continue to hate Apple into perfection or give it a pass to coast into irrelevance?



The efforts and resources Jobs channeled into the iPad and its iPad 2 successor this year were vindicated long before he passed away, making his pain and disappointment at its initial launch a short lived phenomenon.



With Apple now being run by Tim Cook and the executive team Jobs assembled and orchestrated, it remains to be see if the media will continue to mock and denigrate its products while enthusiastically recommending alternatives that are almost always inferior, poorly designed and deeply flawed.



If they do, it appears that Apple will continue to benefit from this over-the-top criticism. On the other hand, if the media in general begins to fawn over every new Apple release and grant Apple a free pass to deliver less than the best products, it's likely the the company will degenerate as rapidly as the health of a well fed monarch.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 222
    But the original criticism was warranted, it basically was a giant ipod Touch at launch and Apple improved the iPad immensely since then. They launched a tablet that initially couldn't even multitask. Now it's world class leading product.
  • Reply 2 of 222
    (I am posting this without reading this story or other similar ones.)



    Enough with the marketing drip, drip, drip. I'd rather wait for the book to learn all about it.
  • Reply 3 of 222
    jungmarkjungmark Posts: 6,715member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by thataveragejoe View Post


    But the original criticism was warranted, it basically was a giant ipod Touch at launch and Apple improved the iPad immensely since then. They launched a tablet that initially couldn't even multitask. Now it's world class leading product.



    How was it warranted? Did the reviewers spend a lot of time with it? Nope. Then all of sudden when the competitors started copying Apple's approach, they declare each one an iPad killer without having using the devices.
  • Reply 4 of 222
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by thataveragejoe View Post


    But the original criticism was warranted, it basically was a giant ipod Touch at launch and Apple improved the iPad immensely since then. They launched a tablet that initially couldn't even multitask. Now it's world class leading product.



    wrong. the original iPad was awesome with or without multitasking.



    Every sh%&tty Android tablet have multitasking and they all suck.
  • Reply 5 of 222
    ...and I am annoyed and depressed with all the details coming out in advance of the book's release.



    I get that this is news and that AI wants to report on this, but I'd kinda like to read the book without feeling like I'm going into a movie knowing how it's going to end, in a manner of speaking.
  • Reply 6 of 222
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,276member
    My theory is this.





    If you put your pants on one leg at a time and report to work for some Boss in the hopes of collection a check two weeks later then don't tell me SH** about what you think it hot or not.



    What did Jobs expect? He could have stopped working years ago and would have lived comfortably. You don't go the to lackey for advice...what do they know? They aren't even smart enough to put themselves in a position where they don't have to work.
  • Reply 7 of 222
    bdkennedy1bdkennedy1 Posts: 1,459member
    Why would a visionary care what people initially think? I saw most of the potential when it was introduced. The iPod was criticized even more than the iPad.
  • Reply 8 of 222
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by hmurchison View Post


    My theory is this.





    If you put your pants on one leg at a time and report to work for some Boss in the hopes of collection a check two weeks later then don't tell me SH** about what you think it hot or not.



    What did Jobs expect? He could have stopped working years ago and would have lived comfortably. You don't go the to lackey for advice...what do they know? They aren't even smart enough to put themselves in a position where they don't have to work.



    What an arrogant, obnoxious comment.
  • Reply 9 of 222
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by FriedLobster View Post


    wrong. the original iPad was awesome with or without multitasking.



    Every sh%&tty Android tablet have multitasking and they all suck.



    That's your opinion. Not having multitasking on a tablet was a fail in many ways and I could give you countless examples but it's water under the bridge, things evolved.



    I didn't even bring Android tablets into it. No I don't think they're any good and half baked at best. I'm typing this on my iPad2 for a reason. But this was about Jobs and the iPad launch.





    Don't forget the iPad hype was unlike any other. If Apple released a unicorn it wouldn't have been enough.
  • Reply 10 of 222
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by thataveragejoe View Post


    But the original criticism was warranted, it basically was a giant ipod Touch at launch and Apple improved the iPad immensely since then. They launched a tablet that initially couldn't even multitask. Now it's world class leading product.



    Everyone is still missing the point. The media was right then and they would still be right if they stuck to their guns. Steve managed to sell something that is not as useful as something else he could shave sold. Imagine he came out with an iPad that ran a real OS and all that other shit. That would have been to everyone's expectations. Still, despite the large adoption, it does so little and he has somehow managed to force people to accept less.
  • Reply 11 of 222
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by thataveragejoe View Post


    That's your opinion. Not having multitasking on a tablet was a fail in many ways and I could give you countless examples but it's water under the bridge, things evolved.



    I didn't even bring Android tablets into it. No I don't think they're any good and half baked at best. I'm typing this on my iPad2 for a reason. But this was about Jobs and the iPad launch.





    Don't forget the iPad hype was unlike any other. If Apple released a unicorn it wouldn't have been enough.





    Millions of people bought the original iPad and they are extremely happy with it. even without multitasking.



    Not having multitasking on a tablet was a fail in many ways? that's your opinion and we dont care. Millions of people loved the original iPad with or without multitasking.
  • Reply 12 of 222
    rs9rs9 Posts: 68member
    I think Media comments on anything "Apple" reinforces what we all know. You can't trust what they write. They've been wrong about Apple since day one.



    Sadly it will happen again.



    Just wait until Apple releases it's HDTV. The same short sighted folks, who criticizied the Ipod, the Iphone and Ipad will return and will criticize it from the onset.



    It's to be expected, it's in there genes:



    Fortunately the Consumer knows what it wants. So does Apple and this is why Apple succeeds.



    Last I heard $80 Billion in the bank.
  • Reply 13 of 222
    This should really say the Tech Media and not just the Media. The overall media is generally pretty unbiased and has a greater appreciation for usability. I'd say the IT audience that follows technology trends has been much more confused by the tech media charades. I think since the iPad release, many of these media outlets have taken a step back realizing that they may be scaring away much of their reader base. I've stopped following many tech media outlets that started posting biased articles. Although Android is still often overpraised despite its weaknesses, I've really only seen negativity over the walled garden and the supposed inevitability of viruses on Apple platforms recently. Both of those "negatives" are really only going to turn away the irrational and those with certain highly idealized off-center opinions.
  • Reply 14 of 222
    tdwstdws Posts: 16member
    "With Apple now being run by Tim Cook and the executive team Jobs assembled and orchestrated, it remains to be see if the media will continue to mock and denigrate its products while enthusiastically recommending alternatives that are almost always inferior, poorly designed and deeply flawed. "



    You have GOT to be kidding.



    People who have been around for longer than a few years will remember that every Apple launch of ANYTHING is greeted with squealing ecstasy from fanboys, magazine cover stories bordering on outright fellatio, and standing ovations from everyone else.



    The idea that Apple is the underdog in the media coverage department is flat-out false.



    Even Apple would agree with me -- and I'm a total fan.
  • Reply 15 of 222
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,276member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by StLBluesFan View Post


    What an arrogant, obnoxious comment.



    It is....I accept full responsibility for the brashness of my posting but all things being considered would you take marriage advice from a person who's been divorced 4 times?



    Jobs appeared to be a man consumed by the search for harmony, balance and perfection in everything he does. He found success so early that he never had to mold himself into what someone else wanted so it's entirely reasonable that from his Point of View he simply couldn't understand how analysts and the Tech Media missed the boat.



    But that's what made Jobs special. He didn't build according to a "checklist" of what the competition had. He built to what he thought would be a great product.



    Steve wasn't working 60 hours a week to fulfill someone else's dream as opposed to many of the pundits that slagged the iPad when it came out. Sometimes the truth is a harsh one.
  • Reply 16 of 222
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by thataveragejoe View Post


    But the original criticism was warranted, it basically was a giant ipod Touch at launch and Apple improved the iPad immensely since then. They launched a tablet that initially couldn't even multitask. Now it's world class leading product.





    The criticism was not warranted. The critics were myopic. Jobs hit a friggin' grand slam that was destined to change the industry and the critics couldn't see it.



    Now I'll speculate and say that most critics couldn't see it. Critics like Bill Gates and Steve Palmer probably could see it, but they chose to lie about it because iPad 1 made them look incompetent.
  • Reply 17 of 222
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by FriedLobster View Post


    Millions of people bought the original iPad and they are extremely happy with it. even without multitasking.



    Not having multitasking on a tablet was a fail in many ways? that's your opinion and we dont care. Millions of people loved the original iPad with or without multitasking. you're just a bitter old fool.







    Haha, name calling? and who's we? You pathetic opinion isn't worth any more or less than mine. Who ruined your cereal this morning. Get real.
  • Reply 18 of 222
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by thataveragejoe View Post


    But the original criticism was warranted, it basically was a giant ipod Touch at launch and Apple improved the iPad immensely since then. They launched a tablet that initially couldn't even multitask. Now it's world class leading product.



    No. This is historical revisionism you are indulging in here.



    The "missing multi-tasking" is a function of the OS not the iPad and was available within a month of it's launch anyway. The iPad sold like gangbusters from day one regardless of that fact. It wasn't hobbled, missing any parts, or incomplete in any way.
  • Reply 19 of 222
    The day Apple stops being undervalued and over-criticized, will be the day they enter the halls of irrelevance. The core of their existence is a constant push forward, regardless of petty popular opinion.
  • Reply 20 of 222
    Thanks Daniel. Not only does this piece highlight how bad pub hit Jobs personally, and trace the unfair and unbalanced trade press back thru the roots of print, your final couple paragraphs might be the most important.



    Everybody has ignored that message so far.



    edit:



    oh. And KEEP TELLING IT LIKE IT IS!
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