The Macalope Weekly: Place your bets!

Three stories, three games! First, one silly pundit says Apple’s decision not to run a Super Bowl ad means Apple is DOOOMED. Then Apple’s stock price gains this week cause the Macalope to follow up on some fantastic investment advice from 2010. Finally, will Windows 8 kill the iPad, or is Microsoft just mired in the past? You can probably guess what the Macalope thinks.

Still not getting Apple

Yes, it’s time for the new quiz show that’s sweeping the nation: “What is this guy smoking?” This week’s entrant is Mashable editor in chief Lance Ulanoff.

Why Didn’t Apple Advertise During the Super Bowl? (tip o’ the antlers to Gwilym Lucas)

Oh! Oh! Because Super Bowl ads are expensive and make no sense when the entire world already watches your every move with breathless anticipation?!

Long ago, the Macalope compiled a list of things people thought Apple “must” do. Ulanoff’s piece is another in this continuing vein of ridiculousness, just after the fact.

During the third quarter of the 1984 Super Bowl, viewers witnessed one of the most memorable commercials ever, “1984.” Twenty-eight years later, Apple ignored the most widely watched television event of the year and is instead mocked by one of its chief rivals. Did it make a mistake by skipping Super Bowl XLVI?

Short answer: No.

Long answer: Nooooooooo.

Read more…

Were you aware that Apple did a Super Bowl ad way back in 1984? It’s true, as Ulanoff so rightly points out to you kids out there who know nothing of history. The ad teased the introduction of the Macintosh with the tag line “Why 1984 won’t be like 1984,” in reference to a book by George Orwell, the title of which slips the Macalope’s mind right now.

Fast forward to 2012. Apple is not mentioned at all during the rather thrilling contest between the New York Giants and the New England Patriots.

And the whole world forgot about the company and it went out of business early Monday morning. THE END.

Why do people wait outside an Apple store for, say, the iPhone 4S and iPad 2 when they know they could just as easily order one of them online?

“I am unaware of how Apple will provide stock to its stores while it pushes online shipment dates out, so I will assume you people are just stupid.”

For Apple, though, there is a bigger concern here. By not appearing at the Super Bowl, Apple is letting its competition frame the discussion.

With a 5-inch cell phone.

[slide whistle]

Founder and former CEO Steve Jobs, who died months before the Samsung ads started airing, would likely have wanted to create some sort of counter attack. He was, after all, the chief architect of the Macintosh and the remarkable first ad promoting it.

“I have paid no attention to Apple since Steve Jobs’s return and will just assume it’s still 1984 for the sake of convenience.”

In case you haven’t noticed, Apple’s iPad’s second birthday came and went without the introduction of the eagerly anticipated third generation of the landmark tablet.

Just like its first birthday did last year.

Does anyone realize how long we’ve been talking about new Apple hardware with nothing to show for it?

Twenty years or more, 12 months at a time.

The last year or so has, at least on the hardware side, been nothing but a big, pregnant pause for Apple. I knew that Jobs’s death would have an impact, but I never feared Apple would be rudderless without him.

So, what you’re saying is that you know absolutely nothing about product development cycles. Got it. Weird thing to be announcing, but good to know.

Is Apple, right now, struggling with how to unveil its next big thing?

It’s flabbergasting, isn’t it? Because the company didn’t waste a bunch of money on an ad timed to Ulanoff’s schedule, it must be “struggling with how to unveil its next big thing.” The company that, when it wants to announce something, just throws a media event at its corporate headquarters and has press fly in from all over the country, if not the world.

Apple needed a Super Bowl ad in 1984 because it was the underdog and not a household name. Now the company has buzz positively coming out of orifices that you don’t expect things as pleasant as “buzz” to come out of. Plus, when you sell crap that’s indistinguishable from everything else (cola, watery beer, a domain-purchasing service), you need big ad placements. When your products are unique, they speak for themselves.

Self-covering tracks

The Macalope has long said that being a pundit means never having to say you’re sorry. Today he’s here to provide the evidence by playing “Find the stupid post in the Internet haystack.”

We haven’t heard much from him lately, but you all remember The Street’s Scott Moritz, right? Perhaps Scott moved on to greener pastures or perhaps he died from utter shame about being wrong all the time about Apple. Whatever the case, the Macalope went back to review some of Scott’s greatest hits and found that some had gone missing.

“5 Big Blemishes for the iPhone 4”? Dead.

“Apple Faces A Cold Christmas”? 86-ed.

“Apple’s Netbook Foray Will Flop”? You can actually still read the first couple of paragraphs of that one, but The Street has the temerity to ask if you want to pay to read the whole article.

(Commenter Won points out this is the Macalope's error as the link he had was to the second page of the article. Also, the other pieces are still available via different links. More's the pity, really, but the Macalope apologizes for the error.)

With paragraphs like this, perhaps they get people paying to read the rest for sheer comedic value:

One prediction: The Apple tablet, instead of being a stunning iPhone-like innovation, will probably end up with a fate more like the MacBook Air. Remember that blade-thin metal-design, $2,400 laptop? It’s sitting at No. 52 on the Amazon bestselling notebook list. The tablet will be lucky to fall anywhere in the top 100.

Wow! Not only has hindsight proved Scott wrong about the iPad, but it’s also proved him wrong about the Air. Hindsight really hates Scott Moritz. Which is understandable.

People frequently wonder why we Apple bloggers bother taking these silly, silly pundits to task. Well, it’s apparent that their editors aren’t going to, and when many of their atrocities against humanity fall down the memory hole, we’re uncertain if history will give a full accounting unless we make note of them.

There’s nothing nefarious about this deep-sixing. It’s all due either to the fact that these are older posts that have been removed because of a site conversion or an expiration of terms, or because they were given a mercy killing. What The Street really needs is an algorithm that will force its pieces to expire as it becomes more and more obvious how intensely stupid they were. (DELETE articles WHERE author = ‘Scott Moritz’)

Why? Because you can still read Moritz’s stupidest piece: Apple: Sell Before the Fall”

The Macalope thought it would be fun to revisit this Moritz classic. See, in March of 2010, when Apple was trading below $200 a share, Moritz advised everyone to drop the stock. It’s the advice that gets progressively dumber as time goes on. It’s recursively dumb.

Just for fun, let’s take a quick look at how Apple’s trading right now and see just how bad Scott’s advice was and OH MY GOD, THAT WAS SOME SERIOUSLY BAD ADVICE.

Well. Scott’s probably a pretty good golfer, right?

Saturday Special: Pundit cage match!

Microsoft has announced that Windows 8 on ARM (WOA, which is a way better nickname than WINCE) will have the same full Windows desktop experience as Windows 8 on Intel.

You know what that means! Yes, it’s time for our third game of the day, “Spot the people hopelessly mired in computer nuance”!

OK, really, this stuff does matter (eye roll), given that Microsoft and Apple seem set to provide two very different visions of how tablets should work.

John Gruber thinks Microsoft’s making a mistake:

Count me in as one who suggested they go Metro-only on ARM. I believe this is a grave error on Microsoft’s part; that they’re ceding the future of personal computing to Apple and the iPad by doing this.

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, on the other hand, thinks “Apple should be worried”:

And this is why Apple should be worried. So far I’ve been concerned that WOA would offer a cut-down, Fisher Price soft of Windows experience. … Microsoft has pulled off what it promised, and has taken its desktop OS and put it across multiple platforms and onto various screen sizes. This changes how we look at tablets.

And there it is. Microsoft is either “ceding the future of personal computing to Apple” or changing “how we looking at tablets.”

The Macalope, not surprisingly, sides with Gruber, but Kingsley-Hughes’s argument—shared, also not surprisingly, by Paul Thurrott—is not completely unreasonable, once you get past the tired “Apple should be worried” construction. The Macalope thinks he’s utterly wrong, of course, and that his name is hilariously British, but it’s not an unreasonable argument.

Alternatively, though, it doesn’t necessarily have to be a zero-sum game. It’s possible that some people will like a more responsive user experience built from the ground up for touch and some…uh, will want to use a mouse with a tablet.

If there’s one thing the Macalope’s learned from the Internet, it’s that people have all kinds of weird fetishes.

(Disclosure: The Macalope holds an insignificant number of Apple shares.)

[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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