The Macalope Weekly: Who’s the boss?

Big news on the Apple tablet front this week! Well, not so much “news” per se. One supposition and one rumor. But, please, we’re Apple followers. This is what we do! And you’ll be charmed at the Macalope’s revolutionary suggestion for iPhone developers.

No, no. The Macalope will see himself out.

The supposition

Numerous sites breathlessly reported this week that Apple, in a sign that 100 percent completely confirms the forthcoming tablet, had hired back one of the key developers of the Newton. Now, some people might think that this isn’t much to go on, that Michael Tchao could really be working on anything, and that it doesn’t really mean that a tablet device is definitely in the works.

These people, of course, are not familiar with prophecy. The mythical one speaks, of course, of the prophecy that predicts the return of the man in the untucked black button-down shirt and how he will lead the lost Newton tribe out of the desert and into a valley of plenty.

Plenty of Apple tablets.

Go ahead. Check the sacred scrolls. It’s in there. Somewhere toward the back. You’ll probably need to unroll the whole thing.

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The rumor

Having determined that the tablet is confirmed, let’s move on to the rumor. Last month, the Macalope opined that the Apple tablet—while it would have many use-cases—would need one simple movie pitch-style hook, like the iPhone was “phone meets Mac”. One pitch he suggested was “Mac meets book or newspaper” and a report from Brian Lam at Gizmodo this week puts some more hot air into the Macalope’s comically-patched balloon.

Steve Jobs said people don’t read any more. But Apple is in talks with several media companies rooted in print, negotiating content for a “new device.”

Brian, Brian! Steve says a lot of stuff he doesn’t mean! “Internet Explorer is my favorite browser,” or “people turn their brains off when they watch TV,” or “you’re fired, pack your things and be out of the building in an hour.”

No, wait, he meant that last one.

Sources at The New York Times told Lam that Apple approached the paper about putting its content on what everyone assumes will be a tablet. Lam doesn’t say what the Gray Lady’s response was, but given the current state of the newspaper business, the Macalope’s advice would go something like this: “When you’re standing on the deck of the Titanic, ankle-deep in icy cold water, and someone asks if you’d like a ride to the future in their time machine, you go.”

Lam ties in some other rumors about books being on the device, which further serve to make the Macalope look pretty prophetic himself. As long as you ignore the fact that it was just one of several things that he suggested the tablet might do. And the fact that, as far as we know, the tablet doesn’t even exist yet.

Still, if you want to call him “The Prophet Macalope” and bow as he passes, he won’t mind.

The iNternationale

Whew, well, big dust-up this week over Loren Brichter’s announcement that Tweetie 2.0 would cost—are you clutching your pearls and standing near your fainting couch?—$2.99.

And when the Macalope says “big dust-up”, he means big celebrity-style dust-up.

Boooooo!!! RT @TwitterDispatch: Tweetie ‘Upgrade’ costs the same as buying new: http://j.mp/b6VgC

Yes, that’s former Charmed and Who’s the Boss star Alyssa Milano re-tweeting “sarcastic” quotes to stick it to the man! Who’s the boss? Alyssa Milano’s the boss now, indy developer beeotch!

On the upside for Milano fans, the horny one guesses this means she’s A-O-K with you going ahead and torrenting the entire run of Charmed. Hey, you watched the commercials when it aired, right? So you already paid!

Dan Moren thinks what’s broken on the App Store is that there’s no upgrade purchasing mechanism. That’s certainly one thing that’s broken. But there’s also clearly something else broken when bourgeois iPhone owners no longer think they should have to pay $2.99 for an app upgrade. Thanks for that, Apple.

But isn’t this belief that iPhone developers should get paid once and then provide free updates in perpetuity sort of odd coming from someone who, while rich, still belongs to a union?

That got the Macalope thinking. Maybe that’s exactly what iPhone developers need: a union.

Think about it: low wages, abusive management, and the reason they can’t change the conditions is that they have no collective bargaining power. Ring any bells, Norma Rae?

To date, all we’ve had is a few noted developers stomping their feet and taking their ball home. But manifestos are a dime-a-dozen (a nickel-a-dozen at the Manifesto Outlet Mall off I-95 in St. Augustine). Don’t get the Macalope wrong, you’re cute when you’re angry, but how about getting organized? Because Apple’s not going to notice if a couple of you walk off the job, but if everyone starts demonstrating, they might actually have to make some improvements.

Where are the Lenins or the Trotskies of the iPhone revolution? Workers of the App Store, unite! You have nothing to lose but your chains!

Because the Macalope’s pretty sure Apple still has to send you those checks no matter how much of a malcontent you are.

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