When I started drafting this post, my intent was to assemble a list of links to recent articles from media sources – both mainstream, as well as nichey/techy – who’d joined the “iPad is a game changer” drum banging after previously having openly come out on the ‘con’ side of the debate, or somewhere in the middle.
Honestly, the task got unduly laborious as the post became a looong list of links. So I dumped that plan – part of a continued effort to get away from posting ‘the news’ since so many other sites do.
The funny thing about it though is that with one exception, none of the articles offered up any kind of admission that their position on the matter was being revised, to say nothing of a mea culpa.
So I can’t help but wonder…what the heck happened? Are they such blatant Johnnies-come-lately? Did we really learn anything especially new or different about the iPad, what it could do, what it will do in time? Not as far as I can see.
Have the apps, or announcements of support from major media outlets changed peoples’ minds?? If so, why?!?! Could we not see this coming? Should we not have seen this coming? Did we not live with the iPhone and app store for the last two years?
In fact, as one astute forum commenter pointed out, of course it’s obvious that the major media outlets would support the iPad. Why wouldn’t they look to reach as large an audience as possible, whether the audience is toting iPads, iPhones, or Tablet PCs (ick)?? Especially when the costs to do so are relatively low.
There are definitely occasions when I enjoy saying I toldja so. This is one of those times.
Anthony, I’m sure you’ve studied this more closely than I have. But my general observation is that when we compare things that have been written and posted over the past couple of months to the recent crop of real product reviews, we are usually not talking about the same writers.
I mean, take Walter Mossberg, the tech reviewer at the WSJ. He has been absolutely silent until now. But the WSJ also publishes numerous blogs, and some of these bloggers have posted about the iPad (on both the positive and negative side, if memory serves). So what we’re seeing here is not necessarily an about-face by the publication as a whole, but rather the distinction between a serious and experienced reviewer versus a small mob of bloggers who are pretty much doing their own thing(s).
The same goes, to an even greater extent, with tech magazines and web sites, many of which regularly publish personal pieces by virtually anyone with reasonable credibility as a tech “expert.” I would guess that most of these contributors are paid little or nothing for their input. But generally speaking, when these publications run an “official” product review, they assign it to an in-house staffer who does this kind of thing for a living.
Now admittedly this distinction between bloggers and “real” journalists and reviewers has become harder to draw with any degree of certainty. But it remains a genuine distinction at the editorial level of most publications. A reviewer, in effect, speaks for the magazine or newspaper or whatever. That’s why you get blurbs like “‘Best movie of 2010!’ — XYZ Magazine” on DVD covers. Meanwhile XYZ magazine may have been running half a dozen blogs saying “This movie totally sucks.”
Which is why everyone waits with baited breath for heavyweights like Pogue and Mossberg to weigh in. Because these are the opinions that really matter.
You’re absolutely right Richard – most sites, whether MSM or blogs, definitely employ numerous writers who of course don’t all agree with one another. And, in general, most periodicals didn’t adopt a “singular” POV on the iPad (though some were fairly consistently pro or con across their writers/contributors.
And so taken altogether in general I may have unfairly lumped the opinions of a site/source into a ‘singular’ (and thus flip flopped) POV, rather than coming from distinct voices.
That said, at the very least I think it’s fair to say that most of the sites I was referring to had come out under the heading of leaning one way – in general – before now leaning the other. So, somehow the ‘pro’ voices didn’t speak up much until now. Why?
And one in particular example, one pretty widely read tech/gadget blog was decidedly anti-iPad after the keynote, and is now calling it ‘the future’ (as so many are) in a post by the very same contributor who poo poo’d it not so long ago.
Anyway, yes – the MSM/consumer-oriented reviewers, the Pogues and Mossbergs of the world as you mention – are definitely the ones who matter in the grand scheme of things.
Yeah, I completely agree with this trying silently to jump on the band wagon dealy.
I especially love people on mac-rumors. How about 80% of them go, “The tablet doesn’t exist! It hasn’t been announced”. – prior to keynote
Then go “Okay, it’s announced but we don’t know how it’ll be in REAL LIFE – psha 10 hour battery life”. – after keynote
Then when they find out the battery life lasts 10 hours under EXTREME pressure (over a full 24 hours with normal use), “We’ll it’s still a terrible product because it doesn’t have flash.” -wsj review
Then we find so many webpages in anticipation changing everything to html5 just to accomodate the launch of the ipad what do we get? “It’s such an amazing, revolutionary product!”
I’ve been reading your blog since I saw you on Macrumors. You can honestly say: “I told ya so,” AND ” first!”
Kudos to you sir!
Thanks for posting and thanks for the kind words. The best news of all of course is that this thing is a game changer, and we’ll all benefit – naysayers, bandwagon jumpers, and faithful-from-the-starters alike 🙂