iPhones

The Macalope Weekly: An appointment with disappointment

We love Apple, right? But let’s face facts: It’s a company. And sooner or later any company is going to disappoint you. It’s like the old joke about why dogs do that thing that they can do but that humans and Macalopes can’t—no matter how many hours they devote to stretching out. They do it because they can. And it’s just in their nature.

(Although, frankly, sometimes the Macalope thinks his dog is just showing off.)

Don’t fret, though—Apple’s not the only beloved company that wants to taste your sweet tears of disappointment. Google wants in on that action, too!

Unfortunate timing

Early in the week, Forrester Research issued a report that said Apple’s iOS devices meet many enterprise security needs. It’s a qualified endorsement, but it’s progress! Forrester is the kind of firm that produces white papers that other, even stodgier firms hold up in meetings to defend their highly controversial decision to implement Windows 7, instead of Windows XP for the tenth year in a row.

If I can
make it there,
I’ll make it
any-where!

Sadly, Apple’s lucky numbers this week seem to be imaginary numbers (“You will face great challenges! Your lucky numbers are the square root of anything negative!”).

Just after Forrester gave iOS a shot in the arm, hackers unveiled a jailbreak method based on a security flaw that could allow someone running a malicious Website to completely take over your iOS-based device and totally ruin your saved Angry Birds game.

Awk-ward.

Well, OK. It’s not like there haven’t been exploits of systems highly touted as the choice for corporate computing before. And, really, one Forrester white paper isn’t enough to make corporate IT managers drop 25 years of anti-Apple bias. But the timing is reminiscent of finally getting that girl you’ve been chasing to go on a date with you—and then getting seated in a restaurant right next to your ex.

Not that the horny one knows what that’s like.

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That sure didn’t come out right

The Macalope’s just going to come out and say it: patents are stupid. He’s all for making sure inventors don’t get screwed by people jacking their ideas, but the current system is broken. Too often it’s about locking up vague concepts or entire markets that look promising in the future.

And those little black-and-white drawings? What the heck is that all about? Hey, patents, 1790 sent a messenger on horseback: It wants its design ethic back.

People were concerned late last week when Apple patent applications for a variety of iOS apps started showing up. Apple’s already the App Store gatekeeper, they said; having the company trying to lock up app ideas doesn’t seem like a good trend.

Hmm. You know, that is disturbing, but it’s just sort of vaguely disturbing. Is there any gasoline we can throw on that fire?

KA-BOOM!

For the link-adverse, someone at Apple unwisely copied the interface of an existing third-party app into one of those charmingly anachronistic black-and-white drawings and stuck it into the company’s patent application. And when the Macalope says “copied” he means exact copy. If this app had appeared on the front page of the Wall Street Journal, this would be the hedcut next to the article.

The Macalope’s no patent lawyer (after all this complaining about patents wouldn’t it be funny if he were?), so he can’t tell you whether Apple’s actually trying to patent what Where To? does. Heck, the makers of Where To? can’t even figure that out. Frankly, just reading patents makes the Macalope’s head hurt. Then he has to lie down and summon the nymphs who massage his brow.

(You don’t have brow-massaging nymphs? Oh, you should. It’s a perfectly legitimate trade, you know. No hanky-panky, just quality brow-massaging.)

At best, this misappropriation is an ill-advised use of someone else’s interface as a simple reference to a related service. At worst, it’s out-and-out theft.

It does seem highly improbable that Apple decided to just appropriate an idea from one of its third-party developers, though. That’d be crazy, right?

Paging Mr. Rose. Paging Mr. Arlo Rose. Please meet your party at the white courtesy desk.

Who’s the new Microsoft again?

The Macalope’s pretty tired of people rushing to say Apple’s the next Microsoft. What about Google?

This week there was ample evidence that Google’s sizing itself up to fill Microsoft’s oversized clown shoes. Waste a bunch of time, effort, and money on a half-baked technology only to hastily kill it? CHECK. Cut back-room deals that attempt to cement your monopoly status? CHECK.

Wait, wait, wait, what happened to “Don’t be evil”?!

For its part, Google categorically denies The New York Times’s piece, which says the search giant was attempting to make an agreement with Verizon to skirt net neutrality and get its content delivered faster.

@NYTimes is wrong. We’ve not had any convos with VZN about paying for carriage of our traffic. We remain committed to an open internet.

Hmm, that’s pretty good, but something seems off. Maybe it’s just Twitter’s 140-character limit that makes it seem a little weaselly. Verizon’s more verbose denial, however, is even worse.

As we said in our earlier FCC filing, our goal is an Internet policy framework that ensures openness and accountability, and incorporates specific FCC authority, while maintaining investment and innovation.

Hey! The Macalope thinks he just won telecom industry buzzword bingo! At any rate, the FCC says it doesn’t care if Google greases some palms at Verizon, because any rulings the commission makes on net neutrality will trump that—plus it’s called off closed-door meetings.

Truth be told, the brown and furry one doesn’t really think Google’s the next Microsoft any more than Apple is. No, he believes that each capitalist entity is its own beautiful flower, distinct unto itself.

Wait, the Venus fly trap is a flower, right?

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