The Macalope Weekly: A sad state of affairs

Online technology journalism. Can’t live with it and you can’t shoot it in the back of the head and dump it in the creek off the old interstate bypass where all the serial killers dump bodies. Wait, can we? Because this week brought out the seamy underbelly of people who inexplicably get paid to pontificate about Apple and if there’s a way—any way—to make it all stop, the horny one is all ears and antlers.

This is actually this man’s job!

First off, a warning. Do not click this link to Scott Moritz’s piece entitled “Apple: Sell Before The Fall” (tip o’ the antlers to Shawn King).

The Macalope only provides the link for the sake of future historians who wish to document the pathetic state of online journalism during the early part of this century.

Ugh, where to start with this mess? First off, it’s broken up into five pages to increase ad views and, as if that weren’t bad enough, includes those seizure-inducing ads that helpfully pop up any time you accidentally hover your cursor over a keyword like “Apple,” “technology,” or “and.”

It’s like peeling an onion of everything that’s wrong with online media. Only stinkier.

While hard to picture now, Jobs and company will one day, maybe soon, fall out of step with fashion.

Why? Because Scott Moritz—a man congenitally wrong about Apple—says so!

Growth will stall. Fair-weather investors will flee to sunnier stocks. Loyal fans will become embittered. Smelling blood, critics will get even nastier.

It will rain locusts! A great heaving in the earth will split Infinite Loop in two and flames will leap out with the screaming and the yelling and…

Man. Who writes this stuff?

Read more...

Oh. Right. Scott Moritz.

It’s inevitable.

Is it inevitable that Apple will be unable to keep up this mind-boggling pace of introducing highly successful products? Probably. But that doesn’t mean it’s going to happen this year or even next year. But Scott wants you to get out of Apple’s stock now because booga-booga.

Scott helpfully includes “Numbers” with each declaration of DOOOOM for Apple, but the numbers are nothing more than subjective statements that Apple products just cost so gol durn much that no one in their right mind would ever buy them!

Back here on planet Earth, however, there is substantial evidence to the contrary.

Apple’s 4th version of the iPhone—not to be confused with a 4G iPhone—is due this summer, and it’s not likely to be any different than the past three.

It’s become a cliché to say “Translation: I am as high as a kite.” But, really, he is as high as a kite. Or at least that’s the most charitable explanation the Macalope can come up with.

Scott later concludes:

The revolutionary iPhone is getting stale.

Yeah, that 100 percent year-over-year growth is a killer. Moritz has been trying to downplay the iPhone since before it came out, so he’s not interested in the rumors that the iPhone 4.0 OS will have multitasking support.

No wonder the investment business is such a mess. They’ve created a venue for fly-by-night analysis like Moritz and Jim Cramer, hucksters whose primary concern is how much advertising revenue they can shove into their pockets while the getting is good.

Where Scott really tips his hand is in talking about the iPad.

After working on its highly-anticipated tablet device for three years (or more), Apple unveiled an expensive e-reader. … The iPad is both an oversized iPod Touch and an under-powered netbook.

You’re trying too hard, Scott.

It’s obvious he gets that it’s more than an e-reader, but now he’s more concerned with packing as many troll-worthy comments into five pages of dizzying pop-up ad space disguised as online journalism.

Investors like to call the stock’s premium valuation “the Apple tax.”

Wait, there are two so-called Apple taxes? The Macalope is familiar with the one coined by Microsoft that supposedly described the higher price of Apple’s products. But investors are complaining because it’s too costly to buy Apple’s stock? Really? Who are these investors who care about the base price of the stock and not the potential for it to go up?

This is not about giving sound investment advice, people. This is about advertising.

(Disclaimer: the Macalope holds an insignificant number of Apple shares.)

Moral compass. Is there an app for that?

You know a SmartMoney (sic) piece on whether or not people should buy the iPad is off to a bad start when the first person quoted is Rob Enderle. But things go from bad to worse when Enderle suggests that people instead buy a competing product from Dell and doesn't disclose that the company is one of his clients.

Shame on Kelli B. Grant for failing to get that out of him or Googling it or realizing Enderle’s toxicity by the fluorescent glow he gives off. Journalists ought to know that Enderle should never, ever be used in a piece about Apple. Or technology. Or kittens, for that matter.

“I don’t expect kittens to be popular. The Dell Streak has a higher value proposition.”

More interesting, however, is that technology journalist and FOTM (Friend Of The Macalope) Glenn Fleishman confronted the man himself about the piece via Twitter. You can read the back and forth, but long story short, Rob doesn’t feel any obligation to let journalists know he’s been paid by Dell.

Which, in practice, we already knew, but seeing in his own words that he really doesn’t think it says anything about his standards is…

Well, who’s the Macalope kidding? That’s not surprising at all.

Tunnel vision

After Scott Moritz and Rob Enderle, ZDNet’s Adrian Kingsley-Hughes’s iPad: Perfectly flawed is almost quaint.

See, what Adrian means is that it’s flawed for him based on his particular criteria, which are unlikely to be reflected in the population at large. The Macalope sees a lot of this in technology journalism. “IT’S WRONG FOR ME SO IT MUST BE WRONG FOR EVERYONE.” Honey, shhh. Use your inside voice.

Nowadays $500 buys you a lot of hardware, and since I’m not obsessed by having a particular logo on my hardware, I try to make rational decisions when it comes to spending my cash.

Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww SNAP! YOU GOT SERVED, APPLE CUSTOMERS! ADRIAN KINGSLEY-HUGHES STYLE!

Hmm. That needs work. How about just “KINGSLEY-STYLE!”? We’ll run it through some focus groups.

Just because Apple’s given up on DRM for music, don’t think for one moment that it’s given up on DRM. Expect audio books, movies and other stuff to be locked away nice and tight.

As opposed to all those other tablet vendors who have negotiated magical deals with the publishing and movie companies that allow them to distribute everything DRM-free.

Pundits, when you’re talking about the relative merits of a platform, please remember to keep your comments relative.

Basically, the device is one big lock into the Apple ecosystem.

And there are some real drawbacks there, such as the heinous terms of the iPhone developer license agreement. Unfortunately, the choices boil down to a clear and highly restrictive path with Apple or an open but unclear path with Android.

No Flash support
I hate Flash…

!

… but web minus Flash is a pretty poor web experience.

?

Adrian. Why the masochism? The Macalope installed ClickToFlash months ago and hasn’t looked back. For the content that lazy developers insist on creating in Flash, he can choose to look at it if he wants, but he’d argue that the Web plus Flash is a worse experience than the Web minus Flash.

No removable storage
It would be really cool to be able to store files and on a removable media, such as an SD Card…

Personally, the Macalope has never once missed the ability to do the same on his iPhone so he finds this eminently easy to overlook.

I’d really like a USB port on the iPad because it would offer interoperability between my existing hardware and the iPad.

See above.

I think I’ll be holding onto my money for a little while … maybe another vendor will come out with a tablet that offers most of the upsides but without so many downsides.

Maybe! The same, of course, could be said about any purchase ever made in the history of mankind.

Well, except for this MacBook Pro the Macalope’s typing on. Which is perfect.

[whispers] Who’s perfect? You are. Shhh.

[loving caress]

Built-in battery
Yes, I still hate the built-in battery.

The Macalope has several different battery packs for his iPhone and they work great. Everyone—including Kingsley-Hughes—complains about evil Apple licensing the connector technology while companies like Mophie and Richard Solo laugh all the way to the bank.

So, rather than get an iPad, Adrian says he’s going to hang on to his money until someone releases his dream tablet that has the little tweezers and corkscrew.

That’s his right, of course. The Macalope feels he’s going to miss out on something, because a lot of talented people who make really good stuff are very excited about the iPad. And when you have an ecosystem populated by talented people who make really good stuff, it’s a nice place to be.

But enjoy the two netbooks you’re going to buy instead, Adrian. Enjoy running Office 2007 really slowly or whatever.

Just don’t be looking over at what we’re doing while you’re changing batteries and popping cards.

Uhn-uhn-uhn! Look away. You made your decision.

Shoo.

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