The Macalope Weekly: Gates!

[Editors’ Note: Each week the Macalope skewers the worst of the week’s coverage of Apple and other technology companies. In addition to being a mythical beast, the Macalope is not an employee of Macworld. As a result, the Macalope is always free to criticize any media organization. Even ours.]

No, not Bill Gates. Who cares about that frumpy sweater-wearing poster child for an anti-slouching campaign? No, the Macalope’s talking about Apple -gates. You know, the Apple scandals everyone loves to talk about. The smash summer hit ANTENNAGATE (the AP Style Guide insists that all -gates be capitalized to maximize the scandalous implications) was followed by the lackluster sequel GLASSGATE, but don’t worry! There’s still a lot of life in this franchise!

IPAD ROTATION CONTROLGATE

In the realm of usability nerdery, the Mac nerd has no peer.

It’s a feedback loop. People who like things to be well-designed are attracted to Apple products, which then reinforce the ethic. The Macalope has long considered starting a class action suit against Apple for ruining his enjoyment of anyone else’s products.

Maybe that’s why Steve Jobs has indicated the company intends to make a rare misguided design change and change the functionality of the side switch on the iPad from an orientation lock to mute. Lex Friedman’s already laid out why this is a bad idea and his view was echoed across the Apple Web world.

It’s not the first time Apple’s done something bass-, trout- or some-other-river-fish-ackwards. We all remember TRANSLUCENT MENU BARGATE don’t we? (“IT WAS HELL,” RECALLED A SURVIVOR). And all it took was a massive amount of caterwauling (some of it involving actual cats) to get Apple to make it a configurable setting. Then again, people complained about Command-N changing from making a new folder in OS 9 to making a new Finder window in OS X and look where that got them. Most of those people are dead now.

Apple has been known to listen to user outcry from time to time, though. Much like the apocryphal workers of old, perhaps we need to throw our iPads into the machinery in protest.

Figuratively speaking of course.

[whispers to iPad] The Macalope would never hurt you. Shhh.

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Other Apple -gates in the news

If usability isn’t your thing, well, first of all what are you doing here? But second, maybe one of the many other Apple -gates will pique your interest. There are so many to choose from!

There’s WHITE IPHONE GATE, FALLING MARGINGATE, SECRET DEVELOPER SUMMITGATE, IPHONE SCREEN LOCKGATE and so many more! Collect them all and trade them with your friends!

(OK, the last one is actually embarrassing.)

Coulda, shoulda, woulda

What about CASH ON HANDGATE?

The Macalope subscribes to several jerktastic weekly technology e-mail blasts so you don’t have to and sometimes he wonders if he doesn’t do too much for you. This week’s most eye-roll-inducing title, brought to you by the fine folk at eWeek and Apple’s large cash balance, is:

Why Apple Should Buy Facebook, Twitter, Yahoo

If you’re thinking the only rational answer is “because just burning that amount of money would look frivolous” then you’ve got more horse sense than eWeek’s Clint Boulton. And the horse he rode in on.

In typical eWeek style, however, the tease is more salacious than the article. While the e-mail blast title reads as above, the actual article title is:

Apple Could Buy Facebook, Twitter, Zynga, Others with Its $51B

LAME. BAIT AND SWITCH. ONE STAR.

Boulton sagely notes Yahoo “may be a stretch.” No, Clint, the Macalope being able to scrape $1,400 together to buy a tricked out MacBook Air “may be a stretch.” Apple buying Yahoo is more the worst kind of technology industry fantasy porn imaginable. Like a lot of porn, it’s easy to see how one partner would enjoy it (Yahoo, Digg, ARM) but hard to see how the other one would (Apple).

Boulton’s other suggestions make you wonder if this trip was really necessary.

Imagine the marriage of EA’s games with the iPhone and the iPad.

Ooh, yeah! Why, it’d probably look… something like this. If only we could imagine something like that!

In fairness to Boulton and the other speculators out there, Steve Jobs got this ball rolling in the latest quarterly conference call by implying Apple wanted to save its cash for potential “strategic opportunities.” The Macalope really wishes he hadn’t, though. Idle speculation is the devil’s workshop.

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