Rubinstein addresses poor HP TouchPad reviews, compares webOS to Apple’s early Mac OS X

“Former Palm CEO and current HP executive Jon Rubenstein sent a letter to employees addressing lukewarm reviews of its new TouchPad tablet, and suggested that criticism of its webOS operating system is similar to complaints reviewers had with early versions of Mac OS X,” Sam Oliver reports for AppleInsider.

The letter from Rubinstein, who is senior vice president and general manager of HP’s Palm Global Business Unit, came in response to reviews that characterized the newly launched TouchPad as a ‘mediocre tablet,'” Oliver reports. “Reviewers were impressed with the look of the TouchPad, but took issue with the device’s weight, bugs, and lack of applications.”

MacDailyNews Take: Reviewers must have been impressed with the look of the TouchPad because it looks just like a really thick iPad. More great originality from a bunch of printer ink peddlers.

Dear Apple legal dept., looks like you have yet another valid case of trade dress infringement should you desire to pursue it.

Oliver reports, “He then shared a trio of quotes from reviews from a different piece of software that launched more than 10 years ago: Apple’s own Mac OS X operating system. Those early reviews characterized the software as ‘sluggish,’ without any ‘quality apps,’ and ‘just not making sense.’ ‘It’s hard to believe those statements described Mac OS X — a platform that would go on to change the landscape of Silicon Valley in ways that no one could have imagined,’ he said.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: With Mac OS X there was a need for a superior desktop OS, and, get this, an audience of millions of Mac users ready and waiting.

Just as with iPod, there is no need for a “superior” iPad. Just as with iPod, the only maker of superior iPads will be Apple. Someone ought to tell John Rubinstein, wheel re-inventor. You’d think, by now, he’d have figured it out.

Other than hopelessly-outclassed tech companies, a handful of Apple castoffs, and some tech magazines who like to concoct “shootouts,” exactly who’s crying out for iPad knockoffs? Nobody. Not in any meaningful numbers.

This whole thing is iPod redux: A bunch of inferior junk in search of Apple’s table scraps. HP’s quest to become the San Disk of tablets ought to be an embarrassment to a company where “invent” actually meant something a very long time ago.


  1. Another Big Difference: Apple provided Classic, a way for people to migrate OS X and still run apps they needed/wanted.

    HP has no apps people need or want. They’re all on iOS.

  2. Isn’t Rubinstein the same guy that said the Palm Pre would destroy iPhone sales? I forget how that turned out, seems like not so well because I have never seen a Palm Pre in the wild.

    1. Rube uses every opportunity possible to drop the Apple name & references. it is the reason this guy got the gig at palm to begin. Anytime someone questions him he simply “but Apple..” magical zinggggg sound effect

  3. HP is a joke. WebOS failed phones and now it will fail tablets as well. Another “me-too” copycat tablet is all the world needs. There is only an iPad market….oh yeah, there’s an iPod market too; might want to do some research on the latter to find out how the former is shaking out : )

  4. I played around with the TouchPad at a local Best Buy. It’s a nice interface but the hardware sucked. The accelerometer was slow to respond and it was just awkward to hold in general. I love Apple, Mac OS X, and iOS but I do like webOS. Unfortunately, the TouchPad doesnt do it justice. It’s apparent that HP cut corners to get the price down to match Apple but unless there’s a major discount in the future, I dont see why I should buy a TouchPad when I can buy a iPad for the same price.

    1. From what I understand, the hardware is no slouch. The truth is that WebOS is not as lean and efficient as iOS. The miracle of the iPad and iPhone is that Apple developed an extremely efficient OS capable of running snappily on mobile devices. Being able to customize the silicon match is a bonus. Here’s to iOS and A-Series processors!

  5. HP had a chance to actually be a decent option to iPad. Even if it took another year to develop, they should have waited.

    Why did they come out with a half-baked, heavy brick with so many flaws?

    Anybody can make crap. Just ask Samsung, RIM & Motorola. We didn’t need another piece of crap, HP.

  6. Majority of reviews are not just panning for software, but also hardware.

    actually: all the reviews bag heavily on both hard and software equally. its not just a comparison to os x… its more than just software at work here.

  7. Comparing WebOS 3.0 to Cheetah, a point zero, beta release is nonsense. The more apt comparison is to iPad 1, with the first iOS version. Was that one, iOS 3.1?

  8. Does this mean the HP executive WebOS is a few years late? Why can’t it be a few years ahead of iOS? I might consider trying WebOS, but not at the same prices as an iPAD.

  9. 10 Years ago Rubinstein wasn’t releasing Mac OS X 10.0 against Mac OS X 10.7. Which is basically what he’s up against today.

    Almost have to feel sorry for the poor guy.

  10. Having used OS X since the first release, all I can say is … what a bogus comparison! OS X had flaws, many that weren’t fixed until Jaguar (the first consumer ready OS X, IMO), but it still offered a myriad of advantages over a Windows PC (IE: non-crashable, virus free, real multitasking, no more driver conflicts, etc). Conversely, the HP Touchpad offers nothing superior to an iPad. It’s just another poorly conceived me-too device that can’t even offer a low price to offset its lack.

  11. Sure Rubiks Cube deserves the nut shots for all the smack he talked but……
    HP is doing its best to follow Apple’s blueprint for vertical integration. Will HP be successful or not is beside the point. The fact that they are trying is important because it is a giant slap in the face to MicroSucksAss and Giggle.

    Don’t get me wrong, in no way is this a pro HP post. Again I think Rubiks deserves every nut shot fired his way….. I just find it interesting that someone is finally copying Apple’s approach and not trying to make a cheaper version of Apple stuff.

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