The Macalope Daily: List padding

Were you aware that the not-yet-announced iPhone 5 will face “competition” and that these “competitors” represent different “choices” for “consumers,” who may “choose” to purchase other options in lieu of the iPhone 5? It’s shocking! But, according to another insipid slideshow from eWeek, it’s true!

Let us now turn, dear readers, to this painful exercise in stretching the boundaries of plausibility to get a top-ten list, brought to you by eWeek’s Don Reisinger.

Apple iPhone 5: 10 Rival Products That Could Harm Sales

The first competitor? The iPad 2.

Kind of a weak start there, Don. It’s like he just discovered the idea of opportunity cost and he’s going to apply it to everything.

Considering the economy isn’t turning around and many people are on a budget, some folks might opt for the iPad 2, which they might perceive to offer more value for their money, rather than go with the iPhone 5.

The Macalope thinks Reisinger’s been banging out these lists for so long that he doesn’t even see what he’s writing anymore. If you’re assuming these people don’t need a phone, the more obvious alternative would be the iPod touch. But then, if you’re assuming a fair portion of the market for the iPhone 5 consists of people who aren’t even interested in a phone per se, then you’ve pretty much given yourself artistic license to say whatever you want. From here on out it’s just performance art.

Alternatively, the Macalope has considered the possibility that eWeek has a slideshow engine that just randomizes a bunch of images, which its writers are then forced to try to assign some kind of logic to. Because not very much of this list makes any sense.

Another competitor is the RIM BlackBerry Torch. Well, at least that’s a phone. Reisinger says:

The iPhone 5 will have trouble competing in the corporate world as long as BlackBerry smartphones, including the Torch, still appeal to IT decision-makers.

OK, sure, there are going to be some IT managers who are going to go down with the RIM ship as its two captains continue to shout nonsensical orders. But the point is that every day more and more of them are jumping overboard. The Torch might stop a few from bailing, but at best it’s only going to slow the exodus, not stop it.

Also putting the iPhone 5’s sales at risk according to Reisinger is the BlackBerry PlayBook.

Now, hang on. Aside from the obvious fact that the PlayBook isn’t exactly a hot ticket, isn’t that double dipping? You just lauded the BlackBerry Torch for being cheap at $50, but the PlayBook costs $300 more than an iPhone and requires you to already own a BlackBerry to get email. Usually when looking at relative competitiveness we only consider rational purchase decisions, not crazy ones.

Here’s eWeek circa 1905: “You know what could prove faster than these newfangled auto-mobiles? Why, the old favorite, the horse! Did you know that a horse can be had for just a tenpenny coin? It’s true, friend! You know what else might prove faster than the auto-mobile? Carriages! Uh, yes, you have to buy the horse first to pull the carriage but… er… Say, look over there! Is that Honus Wagner?!”

Back to the present, one more time.

If the iPad 2 could cut into sales of Apple’s iPhone 5, there’s no reason to suggest the top Android tablet on the market, the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, won’t do the same.

Totally! Heck, why stop there? There are so many things that could compete with the iPhone 5, if you just use your imagination! The Kindle! The original Nintendo Game Boy! A box of used motherboards! A stretch of gingham cloth!

Some of the items on the list have some merit (the Nokia hardware is terrific), but eWeek needs to get off this top-ten list thing. Particularly when there aren’t ten items that make a lick of sense.

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