Jon Rubinstein, formerly of Palm but now with HP, compared the dismal reviews for Touchpad to the first version of Mac OS X (Wikipedia) when it debuted back in 2001. This came from an e-mail to his troops in the midst of the Touchpad launch.
Obviously, it is a clear association on its face value. Rubinstein was a former Steve Jobs understudy with deep involvement in the iPod development and Apple's resurgence in the last decade. So, you have to kind of listen to him when he talks.
However, there is one different I would like to point out: Apple had legions of loyal Mac supporters numbering in the tens of millions across a wide spectrum - home users to educators to professionals in law, medical, media, and art. And that was during Apple's darkest days when it was just weeks from declaring bankruptcy.
Web OS, however, lack this number as far as the number of loyal followers who are willing to flock to the platform at this time. What Jon Rubinstein and his troops do have is the deep pocket of HP who at this point in time seems determined to make Web OS a viable challenger to iOS and Android.
But comparing Web OS to OS X is a mistake. HP isn't Apple and never will be. Apple's iOS will never be like Web OS. Touchpad was rushed to the market and could have benefited from more refinement. That is what Rubinstein and his team should focus on.
I look forward to its update before I personally make any kind of declaration on it.
Note: And yes, Apple should have bought Palm Though the Web-based implementations in Web OS isn't something that is out of Apple's expertise. It's its patents that I think Apple should have retained.