The Macalope Weekly: The iPhone's a good cop!

They say love is a battlefield, but it’s got nothing on the smartphone market. Some days it’s hard to know who to shoot at. Consumer Reports wants the iPhone 4 off the beat, but it’s got a job to do and it doesn’t play by their rules! And Microsoft says to frenzied iPad buyers, “Hey, hey, where’s the fire? Wouldn’t you rather have some vaporware?”

The whites of whose eyes?

Elia Freedman puts a finer point on something the Macalope was talking about last week (tip o’ the antlers to Daring Fireball). The real fight in the world of smartphones isn’t between Apple and Google. It’s between the OS makers and carriers.

The carriers, after giving up ground initially, are fighting back. They are using Android’s openness against the company.

This got the Macalope thinking. We keep begging for a Verizon iPhone. Please, please save us from AT&T, Apple! Succor! We don’t know what it means but we need succor! Are we even using the word right?! HELP!

But what if there is no Verizon iPhone because Verizon insists on being able to screw up the iPhone as badly as it’s screwed up other phones? Rumors now say January, so maybe this isn’t an issue, or it was an issue that Apple managed to crush under its iron boot of walled garden zealotry-inspiring fascism. The good news is that Apple giving Verizon its own lousy store on the iPhone is about as likely as a tornado in Brooklyn (uh-oh).

But while we were all hoping competition between iPhone carriers would be better for us, the playing field shifted. Let’s not win the battle and lose the war.

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You’re off the force!

The iPhone 4 is a loose cannon! It’s a rough cop on the edge and Consumer Reports wants its badge!

Despite Apple’s findings and the fact that Apple has shown that other phones in the market also exhibit the same antenna problems, Consumer Reports will not recommend the device.

Who are you gonna believe? Consumer Reports or your lying iPhone 4? Or the lying iPhone sales figures? Or all the lying people you know who have an iPhone 4? Or your own lying face?!

“Putting the onus on any owners of a product to obtain a remedy to a design flaw is not acceptable to us,” wrote Consumer Reports.

The Macalope wonders if Consumer Reports has the same standard for the other phones with the same issue, like the Droid X. Or magazines that make crashy iPhone apps.

This is the predicament Apple finds itself in. It’s gotten people so used to near perfection that when there’s a small flaw, people obsess over it. Part of Consumer Reports’s job is to be an advocate for consumers, so when there’s an outcry they jump on it, even if it’s a product they’ve been recommending for years. This may be a valuable voice to have in the marketplace, but another aspect of their job is to inform consumers, and in this case it seems they’ve lost some perspective.

While they’re trying to throw the book at the iPhone 4, it’s on the streets solving crimes.

You know, it’s not easy coming up with these pithy analogies.

Coming soon!

Speaking of the streets, word on them is that Microsoft is turning its Surface technology into a slate that will be as thin as a piece of glass! Why is this highly confidential piece of product design information on the streets? Because Microsoft put it there, of course! What, are you new here or something?

Anyway, to get the lowdown, the Macalope met his old pal the Winotaur at a local coffee shop that’s a usual haunt of ours.

MACALOPE: Before we talk shop, can you wipe off that latte mustache? You look like an aging porn star.

WINOTAUR: They were out of napkins.

MACALOPE: Fine. So what’s the deal with this “thin-as-glass tablet coming in three years” leaknouncement, big guy?

WINOTAUR: The deal? What? Nothing. Just letting people know, you know, that we feel people should be careful with their money. Not throw it away on something half-baked… [cough iPad cough]… ‘scuse me… when you can have something that will be a fricking wicked thin piece of glass with lasers pew-pew! if you just wait three years.

MACALOPE: Three years is a long time, bull breath. You could actually do something with an iPad in that amount of time.

WINOTAUR: Ha-ha! Well, I’m sure humanity can make it three years without your Harbor Master scores.

MACALOPE: Come on. Let’s face it. This is just another Microsoft mind game. You’re just throwing up some FUD to try to keep people from buying iPads. Couldn’t have anything to do with the fact that Apple’s selling them hand over fist, could it?

WINOTAUR: Oh. It’s done very nicely. I guess. I don’t really keep up on the sales figures, you know? I’m sure they’re decent. Particularly for a traditionally low-volume company like Apple.

MACALOPE: Did you get hit on the head and think it’s still 1999 or something? That would actually explain a lot.

WINOTAUR: You’re funny with the jokes and the antlers and stuff. Anyway, we invented the tablet years ago.

MACALOPE: Ooooh, now we’re getting to the root of the problem! This is just eating you up, isn’t it?

WINOTAUR: What? Pff. No. I was simply stating a fact.

MACALOPE: Sure you were. It doesn’t bother you at all that you guys had been making tablets for years that nobody could care less about and then Apple just walks in and—KA-BOOM!—suddenly everyone wants a tablet?

WINOTAUR: Nnnope.

MACALOPE: Wow, you’ve got a real big vein popping out on your forehead.

WINOTAUR: I’ll be right back. I think she forgot to make this non-fat.

He didn’t come back.

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