Are the press creating a significant part of the iPad Buzz?

Dig a little bit and there are two slightly contrasting pictures that emerge of iPad Buzz and demand.

The Press and Main stream Blogs are fixating on the iPad and painting it as a guaranteed success

Here is the amount of coverage the iPad is getting –

  1. All 5 of the featured articles on Gizmodo (shown at the top of the page with photos) are about the iPad. 
  2. Engadget has a large iPad Review banner on the top of the page and 3 of the 5 featured articles are iPad articles. 
  3. 2 of the 3 featured articles on TechCrunch are about the iPad. It also has 12 iPad articles on the front page (out of 20 total).
  4. At Techmeme the top 5 articles and 13 out of the 20 featured stories are about the iPad.
  5. In the NY Times Technology section 5 out of 10 stories are iPad stories. They’ve also featured 5 iPad stories from ReadWriteWeb while avoiding all the non-iPad stories.

This is pretty much unprecedented.

There are two key things here –

  1. The Press is writing a ton about the iPad. To the point that it isn’t writing much else.
  2. The Press is writing a lot of very good things about the iPad.

All this free publicity and articles that seem written by Apple themselves – you’d think the future of the Press depended on the iPad or something.  

Actual user behavior is saying that the iPad may not be as big of a success as the Press are claiming

Google Trends reveals some rather interesting trends –

  1. The increase in number of iPad stories has clearly preceded the increase in iPad searches. That raises the possibility that a significant portion of the increase in iPad searches is due to press articles.  
  2. There are no iPad related hot trends in the last few days.
  3. iPad and ‘i pad’ are 5th and 6th on Hot Topics today. However, they didn’t make the Top 20 search terms.

Isn’t it interesting that the main blogs and newspapers can’t write about anything other than the iPad and at the same time the iPad can’t even crack the top 20 search terms?

Meanwhile, Yahoo Buzz has only 1 iPad story out of their 15 most popular/buzzed stories.

How much of the iPad interest is Press created?

Probably a significant part.

The most telling graph is the one from Google Trends that clearly shows that the huge increase in press articles preceded the increase in searches for iPad.

You link the great expectations the Press have of the iPad ($5 per Time issue, $17.95 per month for WSJ) and its importance for them (they’re running out of options) and it’s hard not to feel that, knowingly or unknowingly, the Press are biased in the amount of coverage they’re giving the iPad and how magical and revolutionary they think it is.

The iPad may very well be great – However, the Press may very well be biased

We’ve had lots of products released over the years – Yet, none of them has ever gotten as warm a reception from the Press.

Which is it?

  1. The iPad is the best product ever created. 
  2. The iPad is the most important product for the Press’ Future and that makes it the best product ever created in their eyes.

The most interesting part is where we see contrasting opinions on sales – A small group of blog posts and a few newspaper articles are saying that most Apple Stores still had iPads available and that Apple Store Staff are saying demand is nowhere near iPhone 3G demand.

Most of the bigger newspapers and bigger tech blogs are pushing Analyst Gene Munster’s estimate of 700,000 iPads sold on the first day.

The takeaway is that People don’t seem to know the iPad exists and the Press are busy changing that

People certainly aren’t dying to find out more about the iPad – the Google Trends page and the Yahoo Buzz page shows that.

The Press meanwhile are busy writing about nothing else. That leaves us with three possibilities –

  1. The iPad is absolutely great and people need to find out about it and they’ll love it. In which case the Press are doing a great job. 
  2. The iPad is absolutely great and people have no use for it. In this case Press are promoting it for their own interests or out of incompetence.
  3. The iPad is good and people are not that interested. In this case the Press is simply painting the iPad as excellent and creating interest in it.

It’s probably one of the first 2 – However, it’s remarkable that people don’t seem to care much even after the ridiculous amount of news coverage.

The biggest lesson in all this might be that Oprah holds more influence than all the Press combined. If Oprah could get the boring, ugly, useless Kindle to become a top searched term – Surely, the Press ought to be able to do a better job talking up the ultra-sexy JesusTablet?


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