You may not remember, but I still do: the iPod was received with more criticism than the iPad, and it became a bestseller nevertheless. As a matter of fact, the iPod became one of Apple’s fastest selling products immediately after the launch. Even the iPhone, despite its initial flaws, turned into a bestseller. For each launch campaign the media followed the same pattern: a wave of criticism, followed by a wave of “amazement” when the products turned to be sales hits.
Apple is one of those rare companies that can hype its way into the media, get all the criticism anyone can get and still be successful. Pretty much like Microsoft, another giant that seems to win no matter what. And if you compare the two, you find a similar pattern. I am not aware of any recent instance when Microsoft’s products where welcomed with positive reviews (other than some for Bing, of course.) and I am not aware of any products that turned out to be complete flops either (maybe you could name a few).
Before the launch, Apple’s iPad was anticipated as the second coming, a “savior of the newspaper industry” and so on. With the launch, the backlash started – particularly coming from tech bloggers, while the mainstream tech media (like PCMag and PCWorld) found enough pros to convince the most avid nonbeliever. The truth is somewhere in the middle, and in the end, the winner is Apple.
For me, the whole media show is a mise-en-scène by Apple’s PR team that didn’t stop the pre-launch hype and that doesn’t address, at the moment, the questions asked by the highly influential tech bloggers who first touted the device, and who are now ready to bury it with all honors. Because Apple’s PR team knows that it needs the backlash – just for the heck of proving everyone wrong in a few months.
A brilliant move, I can see Philip Schiller smiling condescendingly while watching the media back and forth from the shadows. All the noise will end up in defining the iPad brand, pushing it in front of the public, and selling it. What more do you need? Lesson learned, move on.