Boston: Where the iPads Aren't

Hitting newsstands today is the September issue of Men’s Health, featuring cover boy Sam Worthington flanked by teasers for “17-Day Abs,” “Muscle Secrets of the Greek Gods,” “36 Superhuman Sex Secrets,” and, a personal favorite, “How to Dress for Hotter Sex” (just think about it).

Buried inside the issue is a story that’s trying pretty hard to pass as legit tech coverage: Top American Cities for iPads, which grades and ranks 100 American cities, presumably based on the prevalence of iPads within city limits.

But not so fast — even though Mashable was quick to jump on the story and give No. 1 Plano, Texas, a pat on the back (Boston ranked No. 40 out of 100 and only got a C+). Take a look at the criteria: tablet use based on ad impressions served, the number of Apple and Best Buy stores per capita, and the percentage of households that own tablets, notebooks, or laptops.

All together, these factors could possibly head in the direction of ranking overall tech savviness, but a ranking that intended to measure “The Top American Cities for iPads” can’t be accurate if it includes other kinds of hardware; not to mention that an arbitrary number of stores as an indicator of iPad shopping isn’t quite the same as, say, the number of gyms as an indicator of fitness, or that ad impressions served are a only a good indicator of web surfing.

I’m not going to say that Men’s Health should stick to swelling and sexing; in fact, I applaud the mag for branching out. But the fact is that, by taking on this story, Men’s Health pretty much attempted to do the impossible. Finding out where the iPads are can only come from the one place that keeps such info under lock and key: Apple.

Measuring overall tech savviness — which Men’s Health didn’t even realize it was attempting to do — is nearly as impossible, especially in a country where connecting to public WiFi is as much of a crapshoot from city to city as whether or not the T will arrive on time. It’s hard to say which American city is doing the best at just about anything tech-related; some are doing certain things well while still lagging behind in other areas.

Not that Boston might not come in at No. 40 on that list, too. Have you ever tried to carry a cell signal from inside a Brownstone?