You’re a sucker, aren’t you?
You overpaid for an over-sized iPhone without phone, camera, or multi-tasking. You believed Steve Jobs when he told you that 7-inch tablets were “dead on arrival” because – well, because he is Steve Jobs. And you’re cutting back on Starbucks and digging under the couch for change because you simply must own the iPad 2 on launch date, even if you’ve only owned your iPad for six months. After all, the next generation is going to have a camera – maybe even two! That’s revolutionary, in case you didn’t know.
Paying more for less is just a part of the magic that Apple weaves. It’s not just a product, man, it’s a lifestyle. The iPad isn’t an expensive, underperforming tablet; it’s an experience. Besides, 10 million people can’t be wrong, can they?
When the Beatles came on iTunes last year, it was the biggest news in music since the Beatles were actually playing (seriously, it was huge!). And when the last round of iMacs launched with i3 core processors and cost only $2,000, you threw away your thousand-dollar i5 laptop. Who needs processing speed and retirement savings when you have a screen so big and glossy it doubles as a mirror? And instead of collecting rocks, just collect different-gen iPod cases – with iPod sizes changing every single upgrade, in no time you’ll have your own Apple museum.
The most defining distinction with Apple versus others is that doesn’t follow trends. It makes trends. Before Apple launched the iPad, nobody knew or cared about tablet computers. But then Apple launched their mobile device, and the world’s collective jaw dropped. Who are these incompetent, inferior rivals to try and craft a product worthy of drawing comparisons to the all-mighty iPad? Who cares if it sounds like a tampon? Tampons suck. The iPad rules.
And, to be perfectly honest, Research in Motion is a little like a tampon. It’s certainly absorbing a lot of something – perhaps not blood, but definitely shit – from overly critical media, Apple fanboys, and the like. The second similarity is that it’s damn useful for a lot of people.
Look how long it took for somebody to come up with a product even remotely capable of competing with the BlackBerry. Several years; an era in internet time. Now, look at how long it’s taken competitors to come up with iPad rivals. Months, really. That’s because the BlackBerry was ahead of the pack by miles. The iPad was the first out of the gate, but it isn’t even a purebred by horse-racing standards. It’s bordering lame, simply bouyed by a famous, marketing-savvy jockey. It’s not difficult to train a horse to be stronger and faster. It’s just about convincing the audience it’s about the horse, not the rider.
The iPad 2 will likely launch in the first half of 2011. It will have at least one camera, maybe two. It might allow for multi-tasking, if Apple decides to bless us so. It will also probably get a price increase. It will sell fanatically, but the device itself will be underwhelming relative to competition.
RIM’s PlayBook will launch in two to three months. It features a lightning-fast, dual-core processor (faster than the iPad), ultra-rich high res screen (superior to the iPad), incredible multi-tasking features (unlike the iPad), and Flash (also unlike the iPad). Engadget was able to fully test one, and was “very impressed … overall the device is blazingly fast, comfortable to hold, and intuitive to use.” And the vast majority of commenters to the article were equally in awe with what RIM has crafted so far – and RIM still says it has plenty of work to do to polish the device before launch. It’s what a tablet should be.
And that’s because RIM cares about the quality of its products. It also gives consumers its best effort the first time – no holding off on features so that a product can “upgrade” far too frequently for the average joe’s wallet. RIM doesn’t overprice its products to create a luxury brand. RIM doesn’t attempt to spin a lifestyle from its products; it betters lifestyles that free-thinking consumers created for themselves.
The PlayBook will succeed because it will be the best tablet on the market. Not that others aren’t bad… but one does have to be the best. And I’m not talking sales figures, I’m talking quality. Value. Function. You know – the things that should actually matter to you. Sure, I’m comparing two products that aren’t even to market yet. But you and I both know the truth. Even if one of us won’t admit it.
Flame away. You will, because Steve Jobs told you to.
Disclosure: I own a BlackBerry. I own an iMac. I don’t own any tablets.