The Macalope Daily: Accept no substitutes

Every now and then it’s nice to stop making fun of stupid things pundits are saying now and pause, gather our faculties, and reflect upon stupid things they said three years ago.

See, the Macalope distinctly remembers hearing how netbooks were going to kill Apple. OK, admittedly, one of the people saying that was Rob Enderle—but some of you kids may not remember that in 2008, this was a common perception. Also, people still thought Coldplay was good.

No, seriously. It was mass hysteria: “Apple will totally have to release a netbook to get in on the wave of the future! Also, ‘The Hardest Part’ is a terrific song.”

Anyway, fast-forward to right about… now and you’ll see reports saying “Thanks to iPad, tablets outsell netbooks nearly 2 to 1.”

What the?! Two to one?! But… but… what happened to the netbook revolution?! We didn’t even get to the beheadings! What a letdown!

OK, this isn’t exactly news, but it is a shining example of technology-industry groupthink. And now, despite being wrong all the time, some of these groupies write for Forbes. It’s very strange. The Macalope’s been writing semi-professionally for a while now, and he still doesn’t get how the gears of this industry grind ever dumbly onward. Not forward so much. Just onward.

Horace Dediu crunches some numbers like only Horace can and, if you include the iPad in computer sales growth figures, the amount of tar Apple beats out of PCs could pave the length of I-95. Of course, Mac growth beats PC growth without the iPad, and much of that comes from the MacBook Air line. The Macalope hasn’t seen anyone try to argue that the Air is a netbook, probably because it’s a ridiculous comparison. Netbooks are small, cheap, and underpowered. The MacBook Air is small, reasonably priced, and still has good performance.

PC makers fought each other to the bottom and now are amusingly trying to dig themselves out of that septic tank hole. How? Ultrabooks! Rumor has it these Ultrabooks are also “extreme” and, on occasion, “take it to the max.”

So how are these Ultrabooks working out?

“Warning: ‘Ultrabook’ laptops are all hot air”

Whoops, that doesn’t sound good.

Turns out the Utrabook moniker doesn’t really mean anything, because Intel—which is pushing OEMs to try not to make such crap—hasn’t created any specification for it. It’s the “Let’s vaguely try to be more like the MacBook Air!” of Manhattan Projects!

It’s a little funny how the worm turns, though, isn’t it? You’d think that some people would remember that the next time they’re predicting, well, anything. The Macalope’s not expecting that to happen, though.

[Editors’ Note: 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.]

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