The iPad HD Sucks*


*I haven’t actually seen it yet. I’m not actually sure what features it will have. I’m quite sure I’m a jackass for saying so right now. But hey — FIRST!!!!

There was a time not too long ago when the day before an Apple event was the time for everyone to get their last-minute predictions in. For the most part, it was a moment of pure wonder. These days, it seems it’s the time to pre-reflect on what Apple “will” announce. The shark has been jumped. The snake eats its own tail.

The problem — if you want to call it that — of course, stems from the fact that the tech sites with the best sources have gotten very good at nailing many of the key surprises which Apple ends up unveiling. (That’s why OS X Mountain Lion was so surprising — it was an actual surprise!) Most of them don’t get everything right. And they’re quite often wrong in many ways too. But there are so many people sniffing around now that eventually by way of process journalism, a consensus is reached and most of the good stuff is unearthed.

For tomorrow’s event, it sure seems like all of the following will be true: there will be a new iPad unveiled. It will be called the “iPad HD” and not the “iPad 3”. It will feature a “Retina” display that is twice the resolution of the previous iPad display. It will feature 4G LTE technology on some models. It will have more RAM than the previous versions. It will be slightly thicker. It will have a better camera. It will launch March 16. The prices will be the same. It will have a button.

Hell, we even seem to know that a new Apple TV is coming as well.

All of this knowledge leads to something inevitable: an initial letdown amongst some. This now seems to be a regular occurrence at Apple events. Again, people have gotten better at guessing what’s coming, but they want to be surprised. And yet, despite these “letdowns”, Apple is doing better than ever. The iPhone 4S was a “disappointment” and it’s Apple’s best-selling device. Last year’s iPad was also a “disappointment“. Again, massive success. Apple made $46 BILLION DOLLARS last quarter. Maybe they were shorting their ability to surprise and massively buying up shares of disappointment. But I don’t think so.

There’s a very real disconnect between some of those in the tech press and actual human beings, it seems.

It’s not just about advanced knowledge, of course. Some people probably have posts prepped and ready to go right now pointing out what a “disappointment” tomorrow’s announcement will be. The contrarians. It’s no secret that on days with huge news that everyone is writing about, this is the easiest way to drum up more pageviews.

And now there’s something else that feeds this beast. Because Apple continues their insane ascent to the top of the mountain, everyone wants to be the first to call “top!” and successfully predict the downfall of the company. You only build up companies to knock them down, after all. The past several years have left these people looking like total assclowns. But it doesn’t matter. Everyone forgets who said what two years ago. Or six months ago. Or a week ago. All that matters is if you were right this time.

And all that is fine if only because we’re used to it. What’s getting really ridiculous this year is pre-calling the “disappointment” for an event that hasn’t yet happened for a product that hasn’t yet been revealed. It’s almost like these are the pre-prepped contrarian posts that people are now just deciding to post before the event just for the hell of it. Why wait, right?

The Mercury News Service: “iPad 3 may disappoint”

CNET: “Apple should be blowing us away with the iPad 3, but it probably won’t.

The AP: “New iPad expected to have modest upgrades”

Etc, Etc, Etc. Being pre-disappointed is the new disappointed.

Again, we think we know everything — but what if we don’t? Or even if we do, is tomorrow really going to be disappointing? Apple is upgrading a dominant product in the market in a way that is likely to make it even more dominant. If the rumors are true, they’re giving us pretty much everything we can ask for. Seriously, what else do we want? “A fusion energy source? Teleportation? A camera that sees into the future?,” asks John Gruber.

All of this leads to posts where some of us call-out people who are likely to look like absolute morons six months from now when they declare tomorrow a disappointment. And posts that call-out people who are pre-declaring tomorrow to be a disappointment. And now there are even posts that pre-predict posts like this one. My head hurts.

Tomorrow is going to be amazing, and no one will be happy. Except, of course, the consumers who end up buying the product that absolutely sucks*.

[image: flickr/wangsy]

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