Do you ever get tired of blogging the same old debunkment of every wildly unlikely, off-base, and misleading Apple rumor report every time a cheap rumor site writes about them to get a bunch of pageviews so they can earn 63 cents from AdSense?
Sometimes, I do.
There’s not much to say about the Apple tablet rumors except that there have always been Apple tablet rumors and nothing has ever come of them. Except that inexpensive portable touch-screen media computer with near-ubiquitous internet connectivity that we already have in our pockets because Apple released it two years ago and many of us are already on our second or third one. But nearly every rumor prior to its announcement was completely wrong. (Ask Kevin Rose for a summary if you’ve forgotten.)
I’m sure Apple is working on something really cool. Apple is always working on cool things. Most of them never get beyond prototypes. Some become real products — hopefully, only the best. The concept of a cheap tablet computer is so problematic, as we know it, that I can’t see Apple wanting to release one.
The biggest indicator that it’s not worth their trouble is to look around at who’s requesting it, anticipating it, and assuming it’s on the roadmap: Tech geeks and “analysts”. (Quick aside on analysts: It’s a hilariously corrupt business full of payola and bullshitters. But back to geeks.)
Tech geeks are terrible at knowing what they want from technology. (A faster horse.) It’s embarrassing, because we’re supposed to be the experts. But we suck at this. If you listen to geeks, you get products targeted at geeks, usually at the tremendous exclusion of design, usability, marketability, and usefulness to regular people.
Then, when someone shows us what we really want but were too narrow-minded to ask for, we ridicule it and say it’s too expensive or too small or too big or too limited or too closed or too underpowered or too light or too heavy or too ugly or too stylish. We trash it on our blogs and make fun of the people who wasted their money on it. Six months later, we want one.
Geeks are terrible customers, too. We’re whiny and demanding and entitled and self-important and high-needs, and we’re incredibly fickle. We switch products and services much more frequently, and for much more trivial reasons, than regular people. We have low tolerances, long memories, and little brand loyalty.
The products made by and for geeks can occasionally create profitable businesses, but aren’t likely to ever get mass-market appeal or noticeably change the marketplace, like Android phones or Ogg codecs or desktop Linux or social media cross-posting group dashboard follow feed management service frameworks.
In other words, targeting us is a terrible idea for a consumer products company. It has never been Apple’s business to target us. Therefore, whatever they have up their sleeve this time — if anything — is unlikely to resemble any of our predictions, assumptions, or expectations.
When they do announce their next product, we’re probably going to be disappointed by some seemingly significant aspect of it that turns out to be completely insignificant, and after six months of making fun of it and the people who buy it, we’ll all realize that it’s actually what we really wanted, fall in love with it, and buy one for ourselves.