On its third birthday, Apple's iPad looks back at years of comical criticism

Posted:
in iPad edited January 2014
Apple's iPad is three years old today, providing a good opportunity to look back in hindsight on one of the most successful technology products to ever debut, and also one of the more poorly received by industry critics.

iPad reaction


As noted by Asymco blogger Horace Dediu, a history of incessant iPad naysaying has been chronicled by Terry Gregory's iPad Death Watch.

The list starts with critical comments by Microsoft's Steve Ballmer and Google's Eric Schmidt ("You might want to tell me the difference between a large phone and a tablet" he said in January 2010).

Their predictable negativity about Apple's then new iPad was joined by columnists of all stripes, who compiled lists like the one by About.com titled "5 Reasons Why Apple's iPad Tablet Will Fail."

Dan Lyons wrote at its launch, "The press weren?t cheering and whooping. I didn?t see anybody pee their pants. Not one! [?] I wanted to see more. It?s a big iPod. What is there to do there? Play a video game on a bigger screen? I thought it was ?paving the cow path?. I really thought it was underwhelming."

Lyons was essentially right about one thing: the entire tech media at the iPad's unveiling simply didn't get it. As an attendee to the event, AppleInsider couldn't find one journalist there who found the new device promising.

Hours after the iPad's unveiling, the phrase "iPad a disappointment" became a "spicy" trending topic as ranked by Google.

Flawgic ad absurdum

One of the most vocal critics of the iPad was, unsurprisingly, Windows Enthusiast Paul Thurrott. After initially stating at its launch, "It seems like a high priced, unnecessary trinket to me," his tone turned a bit more hostile a few months later when he wrote, "Anyone who believes this thing is a game changer is a tool."

The next month his tune changed to, "flaws and all, the iPad is indeed in a class all by itself. It?s a new kind of computing device."

At the launch of iPad 2, Thurrott stated, "In reality, Apple sold tens of millions of iPads last year and is on track to sell tens of millions more next year. In reality, people are buying iPads. In reality, they?re not buying Windows 7-based tablets. And in reality, they never will. Furthermore, businesses are buying iPads, too, and piloting them in ever faster numbers."

Like many other columnists in the tech industry, Thurrott quickly changed from a defensive doubter of the entire idea of the iPad to begrudging accepting its success, followed by a quick assumption that the rest of the industry could immediately duplicate Apple's work and take its market share.

Two years ago, in April 2011, he wrote, "Although the expected iPad competition never really heated up last year, 2011 is going to be a different story, with a slate (ahem) full of Android-based tablets, the HP TouchPad, the Research in Motion (RIM) PlayBook, and others."

One year later, all of those experiments had flopped. Thurrott was much more impressed with Microsoft's own new Surface in 2012, which has since collapsed in failure.



The iPad Death Watch provides three years of caustic, bitter criticism that Apple must find a bit delicious today, having sold more than 100 million since it went on sale in early 2010.

The predictions and criticisms reflect those captured in the parallel iPhone Death Watch, which offers an equally entertaining look at the lack of imagination and foresight of Apple's fiercest critics.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 61
    igrivigriv Posts: 1,177member
    More feral ravings.
  • Reply 2 of 61


    Happy Birthday image

     

  • Reply 3 of 61
    shenshen Posts: 434member
    I seem to recall such discussion around these forums as well.... How the iPad was a terrible name and a crap device and that after the Apple fans had bought theirs it would die a sad death. Just like the iPhone before it. And the iPod before that. And OSX before that.

    Amazing how often the experts couldn't find their backside with a pickaxe a compass and night goggles.
  • Reply 4 of 61
    sessamoidsessamoid Posts: 182member
    There are some real gems on the iPad Death Watch. Basically, the whole tech media world were unbelievably and utterly wrong. Tech media is about as accurate at predicting the future as you can imagine.
  • Reply 5 of 61
    philboogiephilboogie Posts: 7,438member
    Funny how all the perception of the iPad changed once people got to use it. I actually was waiting on something like the iPad after the iPhone was released 3 years before. Now that we have it I just can't think of a device I'd really want, and I can't dream up with a device that will be successful. Fortunately I have Apple to think for me because I'm too narrow minded myself. Well, sort of.
  • Reply 6 of 61
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 4,652member
    And yet these a$$hats that were proved wrong on such an epic level are "conveniently" turning the other direction in the hopes people don't call them out on such stupidity.

    Years later, the tech community still has their heads deep up their backsides and thinking their inferior ways are better for the joe-consumer.

    "Who wants a large iPod Touch named after a feminine product?" - I remember that one well, right on this very forum from a rabid, multi-username and banned troll that would not go away.
  • Reply 7 of 61
    gazoobeegazoobee Posts: 3,754member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by shen View Post



    I seem to recall such discussion around these forums as well.... How the iPad was a terrible name ...


     


    I find all that stuff about the name very funny now.  


     


    Mot of the (ahem) "leading members" of this forum (or those that think they are) believed the name to be a complete fail.  image


     


    The tech writers and pundits getting it wrong is understandable IMO, what I find more shocking is some of the so-called "visionaries" like Bill Gates not getting it at all. I have never understood why anyone thinks Bill Gates knows shit about technology or science.  He so clearly doesn't at all.  

  • Reply 8 of 61
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member


    The best of the best advertising campaigns is still... "Amateur Hour is Over. The BlackBerry PlayBook is Here!".

  • Reply 9 of 61


    I've not understood the "told ya so!" responses by a lot of the Apple bloggers over Apple's success with the iPad versus what the general tech media thought in early 2010. When the original iPad was released it came with iOS 3.2, which wasn't spectacular (I guess it was solid, but just OK compared to what we have now). If the shackles of iOS 3.2 hadn't been loosened, I doubt we would have seen the sales that we've seen. I've read those quotes looking at them through the lense of what we knew then (limitations of iOS 3.2), not what we know now (iOS 4,5,6).

  • Reply 10 of 61
    anantksundaramanantksundaram Posts: 19,223member


    It will be fun to do a similar one for AAPL stock price on April 3, 2016. (Actually, we probably won't have to wait that long.....).

  • Reply 11 of 61
    nasseraenasserae Posts: 3,157member
    Reading these comments back then made me upset... Now it makes me laught.
  • Reply 12 of 61
    I remember I saw the live blog and was not very impressed. Nevertheless I was curious enough to check one out at the Apple store. Once I had it in my hand, I "got it". It was smaller, thinner than I expected. It was a tablet that I've always wanted, and I had many Windows tablet and laptop convertibles before the iPad and they were all crap.
  • Reply 13 of 61
    anantksundaramanantksundaram Posts: 19,223member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Gazoobee View Post


     


    Mot of the (ahem) "leading members" of this forum (or those that think they are) believed the name to be a complete fail.  image



    (I am not arrogating myself in any way to claim 'leading member' status.....) I was one of those who felt a bit queasy about the name. image At that time, I thought that iSlate was a far better name because of its association with education, writing, etc. 


     


    Five iPads and one Mini later, I think I am finally OK with it. image

  • Reply 14 of 61


    Happy Birthday iPad! Still waiting to add one of you to my life, maybe when you're a bit older.


     


    EDIT: I started reading the iPad Death Watch site and could only take a short bit of it image

  • Reply 15 of 61
    curtis hannahcurtis hannah Posts: 1,758member
    Well the IPad took the PC market, and instead of those comments we have the IPad beating all other tablets combined + the current desktop OS computer market.
  • Reply 16 of 61
    jd_in_sbjd_in_sb Posts: 1,484member


    I watched the iPad launch and Steve Jobs seemed to be the only guy in the room excited about it. It didn't wow me at all and it seemed to be a big iPod Touch. It seemed that the techies (like me) were bored but mom & pop were thrilled. When sales went through the roof I was surprised and very excited for Apple. I held out for the iPad 2 (with FaceTime) as my first one and love it. As Steve said, you really needed to hold one and use one to see that it was a better way to experience the Internet. I am glad he lived long enough to see that his vision was right and that he had (yet again) changed computing forever.

  • Reply 17 of 61
    jollypauljollypaul Posts: 328member


    “Google plans ‘to market a tablet of the highest quality’ in the next six months”

    Eric Schmidt, Chairman, Google, 19 Dec 2011


     


    That's OK Eric, the world need followers as well as leaders.

  • Reply 18 of 61
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 7,154member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by shen View Post



    I seem to recall such discussion around these forums as well.... How the iPad was a terrible name and a crap device and that after the Apple fans had bought theirs it would die a sad death. Just like the iPhone before it. And the iPod before that. And OSX before that.



    Amazing how often the experts couldn't find their backside with a pickaxe a compass and night goggles.


     


    Because it's all about hatred for Apple. I've never seen this situation with any other company. The pundits described in this article cannot fathom how a company like Apple came into existence or remains in business. They hate everything about the company and everything the company makes and they're not shy about telling you so. They wish nothing but evil and pestilence on the company and would dance on its grave if it came to pass. Every product introduced by someone else is immediately labelled an Apple 'killer." When that product fails to kill anything they simply move on to the next, and the next, and the next. This has been going on for over thirty years now and shows no signs of stopping. The fact that so many critics of the company choose to join and post vociferously on sites like AI just supports the theory. You would think if you didn't like a company or its products you would just ignore them a go about buying what you like. But not the Apple critics. Not only do they not like the company they become activists in seeking its destruction. You don't see this kind of behavior in any other market segments.

  • Reply 19 of 61
    richlrichl Posts: 2,213member
    It's all too easy to look at today's iPad and ridicule the complaints. However, I think a lot of the criticisms of the original iPad are valid - it was thick, heavy, underpowered and Apple's case for it was terrible.

    Thankfully, the iPad 2 fixed almost everything and the reviews around the Internet reflected that.
  • Reply 20 of 61
    anantksundaramanantksundaram Posts: 19,223member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by lkrupp View Post

    You would think if you didn't like a company or its products you would just ignore them a go about buying what you like. But not the Apple critics. Not only do they not like the company they become activists in seeking its destruction. You don't see this kind of behavior in any other market segments.


    Couldn't agree more. In order for some pet (often POS) product of theirs to win, Apple has to lose.


     


    Yet, I find it oddly satisfying that these maroons are so strong in their anti-Apple sentiments that they are relentlessly, shamelessly, self-esteemlessley willing to make fools of themselves (the iPad simply being another case in point).

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