You can't afford it
Ah, in the old days it was so simple. Windows for Pen tablets cost thousands, and no-one bought them. This state of affairs continued for about a decade, through a few rebrandings but no real price drops or consumer interest. And then...
For some years, now, there had been rumours that Apple was working on tablet. These were greatly helped along by the presence of handwriting recognition around 10.3, then various touch bits and pieces later on. They reached fever pitch late in 2009, and by December, the media were ready to tell us just how things would work out.
The Apple Tablet, or iTablet, or iSlate, or MacFlatTouchThing Pro, or whatever, would cost in excess of a thousand dollars. It might be a Mac with a pen, then again it might be a Mac with a touch interface, or it might be a 'giant iPod'. If it was touch-based, then it would fail, because people would want a pen, as Microsoft has proven conclusively through a decade of not selling tablets. If it was pen-based, it would certainly fail, because it would not be Windows, and thus not Enterprise. If it was a giant iPod, it would definitely fail, because, really, a giant iPod, how absurd.
In any event, it would be a failure. How could it be anything but, when Windows for Pen was about to come right back in its Windows 7-y incarnation, and depart from its traditional multi-thousand dollar price-point, set to cost a mere thousand! Maybe even less! How could the MacFlatTouchThing Pro possibly compete?
This is a HP Slate. It would be released in June 2010, and would cost under a thousand, possibly as low as $500, an amazingly low price-point which Apple could not hope to meet. It would run normal Windows applications, thus making it very useful; it would be churlish to imply that normal Windows applications might be difficult to use with a touch interface, and only the most depraved Jobs-fetishist would bring it up.
And that was not all! The Crunchpad, child of Michael Arrington, the remarkable tech visionary who isn't at all ridiculous, would be under $200, and would be generally amazing.
Cheaper than the iPad
And then, the iPad was announced. It would be a giant iPod (hah) and would start at the ridiculous, unattainable figure of $499, somewhat more than a Rolls Royce. The diligent pundits rightly pilloried this absurd object; even if one could afford such a princely sum, why would one want it? It would just be a giant iPad, and one could easily get a far better, more useful Windows tablet with greater battery life for a mere
While before the HP Slate had generally been expected to come in at less than one thousand dollars, it was now of course clear that it would be cheaper than the iPad; after all, how could it be anything but? It would also, of course, be far faster, better, and generally lovelier. A month or so in, an alleged marketing document surfaced which implied that the Slate would start at $569, which is less than $499, and would clearly make it a far more desirable device than the iPad. With a Slate, one would be able to create things, such as perpetual motion devices, while the iPad, being a mere overgrown iPod, would only allow one to consume, like a bloated pig.
The pundits did not worry, for the Slate was on its way, and then there was the CrunchPad, which would be better than the iPad in every way. After all, had the pundits not always been right? Had they not been right about the 'iPhone', which cost over a million dollars and was roundly defeated by Windows Mobile?
Meanwhile, the CrunchPad was barrelling along. Through some rather vague legal-law-lawyer business, it had become the JooJoo, and the price had increased slightly from $200 to $499, the difference being the cost of a small coffee at Starbucks. Still, though, it was at $499 far cheaper than the ludicrously expensive $499 iPad, and the pundits predicted that it would kill the iPad, because it had FLASH, most blesséd offspring of the Great God Adobe. Jobs had viciously and blasphemously spurned this great gift for the iPad, which made it extra-certain to fail, but with Flash on its side, how could the JooJoo fail?
In April, the iPad launched. It sold very well, and at first one might have worried, but fortunately we had the pundits to reassure us. The iPad was selling well, you see, not because it was any good, but because of the vast hordes who had fallen under the spell of Steve's dark magic. Fortunately, while it might reach a million sales, real consumers would never go for it. As the months passed, Apple mentioned that they'd hit two and three million sales, but the pundits fell silent; they would not dignify such obvious lies with a response.
The JooJoo, meanwhile, launched to somewhat less acclaim, but that was because it was not a Windows Tablet; any memory one might have of praise heaped on the CrunchPad/JooJoo were merely false dreams, implanted by Jobs' REALITY DISTORTION FIELD, an actual real natural phenomenon which changes the contents of Internet news archives.
And what about the Slate, anyway? Well, it was unavoidably detained, but of course one could choose from any of the many, many, MANY Windows tablets costing far less than the iPad currently on the market.
At this point, things were looking grim. Some started thinking that Apple had had a success, which had never happened before, for the way of Apple is the way of failure. But the pundits were on the case! They brought us back from our moment of doubt by reminding us that it was all simply Apple hype, and that at any point in the last decade one could have bought one of the economical and featureful Windows tablets, but that no-one had wanted to until Steve released his zombie army on the field. And we were told to trust in the free market, to trust in the amazing variety of brilliant Windows and Android tablets which would be released Any Time Now. (An aside. It might seem to the casual observer that Apple is part of the free market, but the pundits inform us that this is not true. The free market means Windows and Android. Apple is actually a subsidiary of Soviet Russia.)
And in these dark days, when one might actually see iPads, blatantly flaunted in public, there is new hope! The Slate is back. It will now be Enterprise, which is good, because Enterprise is better than filthy consumer rubbish. It will be triflingly more expensive, possibly as much as $1,500 (still much cheaper than an iPad), but it will be Enterprise, and a Creation Tool, and all will be well.
A Challenger Appears
Coming soon, the Blackberry Blackpad. This miraculous device will be made by Research in Motion, which is known for its tiny keyboards and email. Even more than they are about Enterprise and Creation and Flash, tablets are about tiny keyboards and email, and of course, the Blackpad will vanquish the iPad; who could buy an awful iPad when you could have this? And so cheap; only $499.
And it's a Cisco Cius! Cisco means ENTERPRISE! ENTERPRISE. This will, naturally, dominate the corporate landscape, where no-one has ever even considered taking an iPad (remember, they're for consumption). And at under a thousand dollars, it is of course very cheap. Why, it is the first item in this important presentation about why the iPad is doomed (see, you thought I was making this up, didn't you).
The message, then, is clear. We must not be mislead by the lies foretold in the Book of Jobs. The business/tech press is always right about Apple; after all, where is the 'iPhone' today? Where is the 'Intel Mac'? Where is 'MacOS X'? All horrible failures, as predicted, and only the most fanatical Mac-worshipers have not seen the light and converted to Windows. And just like them, the iPad will be a disaster. Sell AAPL short now!
(I'm not going to go into Microsoft's marvellous new, new, new tablet strategy, because, quite frankly, there are limits to how far I can push this, and truth be told, even the blessed pundits of the business press, who thought the Kin would be a great success, aren't touching this one.)