The Macalope Daily: Cut on the bias

CNet’s Brooke Crothers has startling new insight into an easy way to debate Apple blogs: Oversimplify their arguments and reduce them to straw men. You’d be surprised at how much easier it is to belittle them if you do!

The Apple blogs vs. Android

Apple-centric blogs play an important role in disseminating information about what is probably the most important consumer-electronics company in the world. But the coverage is hardly neutral.

Well, that’s true. The Macalope has always considered himself to be “chaotic good” rather than “neutral.”

Take the blog Daring Fireball. It offers some solid analysis. But in the end it’s a fanboi site.

Say, Brooke. What’s that link to?

Oh, it’s to a piece about a jerktastic pseudo-science stunt “study” that shows Apple fans are nothing but blind religious zealots? That is neutral-riffic!

And the Fire has been called lame by the usual suspects because, in essence, it’s not an iPad.

Well, yes, in the sense that the iPad is actually demonstrably better in almost every regard, other than price. The iPad has a better build quality (see second picture), a better user interface, better performance, twice the capacity, longer battery life, a larger screen, and front- and back-facing cameras.

Oh, and the iPad wasn’t attacked by early adopters for its poor user experience.

So, in the sense that the Kindle Fire doesn’t really compare to the iPad, yes, we don’t like it because it’s “not an iPad.” Personally, the Macalope finds the quality issues to be unacceptable at any price—he’s not willing to put up with an aggravating user experience no matter how cheap the device—but he’s recommended the Fire to friends who are unwilling or unable to afford an iPad, or who just want a smaller device.

The horny one was actually looking forward to the Kindle Fire before it came out; he was even thinking of getting one for the vivacious and supple Mrs. Macalope, who’s an avid reader and a big fan of the Kindle iPhone app. But five minutes with the Fire’s user interface and we’d be having four-letter words that you wouldn’t use with friends.

And what about the new Honeycomb-based Motorola Droid XyBoard (aka Xoom 2)? Not even close to the iPad, right? Wrong. I think it’s iPad-2 good.

But the XyBoard/Xoom 2 won’t sell in numbers that even come close to the iPad. The Xoom is too expensive, no apps. Blah, blah. On the other hand, it’s perfectly OK to pay $629 for a 3G iPad 2.

Probably because the world is full of nothing but Apple zealots that apparently control everything.

The one thing Crothers neglects to mention is that the Xyboard, in addition to having a name that sounds like a futuristic virtual torture practice (“Take his avatar to the digichamber and begin the Xyboarding!”), comes with a fantastic feature no iPad has: a two-year contract.

That’s right. In addition to having a base price right in line with the iPad, the Xyboard (“NOOOOOOOOO! I’LL TALK, JUST STOP THE XYBOARDING!”) gives you the benefit of getting into a long-term relationship with a needy cell phone carrier. But who doesn’t want that?

Clearly, CNet has no bias. Well, other than the bias for conventional wisdom.

Crothers, it should be noted, famously declared that the iPad had “met its match in the [HP] TouchPad”. If this is the analysis that a supposed lack of bias brings, give the Macalope bias every time.

Look, it’s not hard to see the Macalope’s bias, given that he has a head shaped like a Mac Classic. It’s a little harder to tell what Crothers’s bias is, but right now it seems to be the need to find equivalencies where none exist.

[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.]

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