Apple Death Knell #53: John Dvorak Declares iPad a Non-Starter

Death Knell: Something that indicates impending failure, as in His low scores sounded the death knell for his ambitions. The noun knell, used for the ringing of a bell since at least a.d. 1000, is rarely heard today except in this figurative phrase.

ZOMG! Do I really get to write another Apple Death Knell after all these years!??!? Thanks to the introduction of the iPad and John C. Dvorak's tireless efforts in pushing our buttons, you betcha!

If I'd have been smarter, I would have started a pool on how long it would take for an iPad Is Doomed/Apple Has Failed kind of piece to hit the Interwebs, but how do you take the over//under on whether it would be Mr. Dvorak or our ol' friend Rob Enderle?

So if you're new to the world of Apple, or perhaps just new to The Mac Observer, it used to be that analysts and pundits everywhere would frequently and loudly proclaim Apple's impending death, the demise of the Mac, and all other manner of doom and gloom for the company.

This was rooted in part on the very real problems Apple was having, but it was greatly exacerbated by the fact that most (or all) of these numbnuts didn't understand Apple or its business model, the same business model the company continues to follow with such great success today.

A common theme was that Apple would have to move to either license Mac OS/Mac OS X out, like Microsoft, or better yet, stop making Macs and license Windows! Those were my favs.

We collected 52 of these through January of 2007 in a collection we called The Apple Death Knell Counter (ADKC for short) - complete with the relevant doom quote for those pieces that were later pulled - and the reality is that there were likely more than 100 or so more that we couldn't find (and therefore backup with a link), or just didn't come across.

It's been more than three years ago, though, since we've seen a real Death Knell, largely because Apple is kicking ass, taking names, sorting those names alphabetically, indexing them according to age, sex, hair color, height, and weight, and then assigning them a risk factor for needing additional ass-kicking in the future.

In other words, it's hard even for analysts who don't understand the whole widget business model to decry doom in the face of Apple's massive success.

Ah, but the pundit...that's another story.

And thus enters Mr. Dvorak. Now to be fair, I think most of us realize today that John C. Dvorak doesn't believe a third of what he writes about Apple. He has admitted on camera that his role is to make up stuff to push our buttons and generate traffic for his publisher.

For that reason, I usually only pay attention to him (in the context of judging what constitutes news for The Mac Observer) when he writes something particularly poignant, which is usually not about Apple, but that's just nitpicking.

Today, he serves as sort of a stand-in for everyone who doesn't get the iPad, for all those people who, over the next six months to a year, will proclaim the device DOA until the huge sales volumes that Apple will undoubtably eventually see with this device make them pretend they'd never said anything to begin with.

In a piece for Marketwatch, Mr. Dvorak opined that the iPad was far from revolutionary, that it was seriously flawed, and that it would take a few more iterations for Apple to get it right.

Wrote he, "Jobs himself is a tech maven constantly looking for nifty new developments that he can employ in Apple products. Apparently when it comes to tablet computing, this is the best he can do. Insanely great it is not. [...] The tablet market has only succeeded as a niche market over the years and it was hoped Apple would dream up some new paradigm to change all that. From what I've seen and heard, this won't be it."

To that end, he cites the fact that "people are grousing" about the iPad, which is Super Serious™ because even when people bitch about Apple, they never bitch about its products.

You know, as if that were true.

He then identifies the three things people are grousing about: There's no stylus (who the hell thought there would be a stylus?), there's no camera (I do, at least, get that one, even if it's not a "deal-killer" for me), and it doesn't run Mac apps (this one is just plain stupid).

He added, "These three gripes are just the beginning of a litany of complaints from the fact that it cannot run two programs at once or it has no telephony capability."

Doom! Doom I tell you!

I mean, seriously, that's a nonsense list of nonsense complaints by a few people who so very, very much fit into the category of people that John Martellaro warned us about, and people who don't get what I explained a couple of days ago.

As I said then, the success if the iPad will hinge on what it can do, not what it can't do.

Congrats, I suppose, to Mr. Dvorak for being the first inductee into the ADKC in almost four years. Oh, and this is his third appearance in our list.