Tablet Size Matters

It wasn’t long before Android was saying “me too” in the tablet market that Steve created; but a seven-inch screen to compete with Steve’s 9.7? This should have been a no-brainer for the competition. Android’s task was to simply copy the iPad idea and make it cheaper, and maybe a little bigger, not smaller. If the tablet market were a locker room, Steve would be the envy of his lesser-endowed team-mates. He thoroughly enjoyed his rival’s myopia. He cheerily informed the world that the seven-inch tablet was “dead on arrival”.[1]
Steve probably shouldn't have baited the boys in the locker room. It wouldn't be long before his laptop-killer would be toe-to-toe with a laptop-killer-killer filled with (mostly free) killer apps built for Android  - the iOS-killer.

The first iPhone-killer took as long as two years to come out fighting from the labs of Motorola – the same company who built the CPUs for the original Macs. When the iPad appeared, Motorola was quicker off the mark to play catch up than before. Within nine months of the iPad's rollout, the Android-loaded Motorola Xoom swaggered into the market like John Holmes with a 10.1 inch screen. It came in four colours rather than two, featured better picture resolution, and supported Flash. Of course it was a little heavier because it had more stuff: a microSD slot for 32gig card, a USB port, a barometer and even a magnetometer (a scientific instrument used to measure the strength and direction of a magnetic field - don’t ask). Unlike it's more glamorous competitor, a future upgrade to the faster 4G system is free. The Xoom is a hell of a lot easier to disassemble and repair according to teardown expert, Miroslav Djuric - director of tech comm at (a website which enjoys even more traffic than PC Advisor).[2]

Not that anyone noticed, but Xoom stole Steve's thunder two months before the less impressive second-gen iPad made its grande entrance. At the latter's launch, Steve made a surprise (not really) appearance on stage to assure the world that he's not at death's door. Watching him describe the iPad 2 was like watching a Burger King commercial. The Burger King voice-over never says a burger includes a slice of cheese; rather, it's a select choice filament of perfectly matured chedder. Likewise, each banal ingredient in Steve's sugar-loaded product is presented as a bonus - as if he's doing you a great big friggin’ favour to include it in the package. He went to great lengths to show how skinny his tablet really is by demonstrating that it’s thinner than his iPhone by half a millimeter - wow. If only he would include a set of the standard substandard 32 ohm Apple ear buds.

This author was at the Sydney Apple Store during the iPad 2 release. The staff cheerily declared that they refused take orders for the wonder-pad because they love to see the line-up on release day. The line continued around three corners of the block. One guy, who camped out for a couple of days near the door, already had an iPad 2. He just enjoyed the Apple queue. Half the horde would not receive their object of desire. Total stock sold out within an hour. It could be argued that Apple deliberately chose not to meet projected demand as a ploy to increase demand to ravenous levels. Apple and their customers share a sadomasochistic relationship. Apple likes to tease their customers by dangling sweets above their customer’s heads. After generating enough salivation, they snatch the precious lollies away. "Apple Store staff… have been instructed to tell people to just keep coming back and there'll be stock soon, with no indication of when. No other retailer would treat its customers' time with such disrespect", Reported MacHead and Sydney Morning Herald reporter, Asher Moses.[3] Later, Asher tweeted furiously, “Anyone found any stock of iPad 2 left? “ and later, “Apple says there is still iPad 2 stock available in Aus. Where? “. Apple customers love this game. They like that Daddy puts them in their place. Apple's endgame is to boost desire, and therefore profits. Meanwhile, back at the queue, an everyman walks past the true believers. In the time it took him to reach the end of the line, he orders a Xoom on the net using his Android smartphone – free delivery in two days.

[1] Chen, B.X. (2010, October 19) Steve Jobs: 7-Inch Tablets are ‘Dead On Arrival’ [Blog] Gadget labs. Wired UK.

[2] (2011) Mororola Xoom Teardown. Retrieved from

[3] Moses, A. (2011, March 29) Apple fans livid as iPad 2 sells out. Sydney Morning Herald.

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