Apple flinches on tablets?

Never let them see you sweat.

For years I thought that was Yogi Berra's quote, but it turns out the expression was invented and trademarked by Gillette to sell Dry Idea antiperspirant to women with high pressure jobs.

And speaking of high pressure Jobs, did you see Apple's conference last week?

Steve Jobs announced the iPad 2 as expected, and I can confirm that it's significantly iPadier than the first edition with a faster processor, front and rear facing cameras, thinner form factor, etc. People were hoping for the Retina display that's on the iPhone 4, but the rumour is that it will be added to the iPad next year - giving people another reason to wait.

The unveiling attracted a lot of media attention, like everything Apple does, but what was interesting was Jobs' choice of words throughout the presentation. Apple has every reason to be confident, but the presentation made Apple seem a little desperate, uncertain and suspiciously critical of the competition. In other words, it looked like Steve Jobs was sweating.

Fortune Magazine 's review of the event was somewhat astonishing. While generally supportive of Apple, the business watchdog noted with some disappointment that Mr. Jobs distorted the facts several times during his presentation.

For example, one bullet point in the presentation proclaimed the iPad 2 to be the "First dual core tablet to ship in volume" - the "in volume" part being the only qualifying statement that prevents this from being an outright lie, given that the Dell Steak 7 has a dual core, as does the Motorola Xoom and you could argue that both have been shipping in respectable volumes. As well, you could argue that the statement was wrong based on the fact that the iPad 2 isn't even available yet, although millions of the devices are no doubt on ships from China as I write this.

One of the tech industry's famous sleight-of-hands is to brag about the number of units shipped rather than actual sales, which are two completely different statistics. It was disappointing to see Apple go that route.

Jobs also misquoted Samsung Vice-President Lee Young-hee as saying, "As you heard, our sell-in was quite aggressive... around 2 million. In terms of sell-out, we believe it was quite small." The actual quote should have finished with the words "quite smooth." You could argue that it was an honest mistake on Jobs' part, but it's a mistake that has been made in the media before and corrected each and every time.

Another slide proclaimed "90 per cent market share," which isn't even kind of true. Apple did sell an astonishing 15 million iPads in the first three quarters of this fiscal year, but Samsung has sold 2 million Galaxy S tabs in this quarter alone - that's around 13 per cent market share so far, and that figure doesn't include Dell, HP, Wacom, the Barnes & Noble Nook and countless others.


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