The Macalope Weekly: Early reviews

An Apple television set may or may not be coming for a while yet, but that doesn’t mean we can’t compare it to other products, right? And, heck, if we can compare the mythical Apple television to other things, we sure as heck can compare the next iPhone to things, right? Finally, how ‘bout that Tim Cook?

Money maker upper

CNNMoney’s David Goldman has seen the Apple future, and it is available today from Microsoft!

According to Goldman, Microsoft already makes something with the features of the rumored Apple television (tip o’ the antlers to Jim Plachy).

Wait, wait, wait. David Goldman. David Goldman. Why does that name ring a bell of ridiculousness in the Macalope’s furry head?

Ohhh, yeah. Probably because he was the guy who said Apple needed to “kill it with the iPad 2 event”, as competitors like the Motorola Xoom were giving the iPad a “run for its money.”

He said that. He really did. The Macalope gets the feeling that sometimes people think he makes up the stupid things these pundits say, but the sad reality is that he’s never had to.

If that wasn’t weapons-grade dumb enough for you, Goldman also warned back in 2010 that Apple had “lost touch with its customer base.”

Yeah.

Anyway, he continues to be employed by CNNMoney to write about technology.

[sad trombone]

Read more…

If you’re longing impatiently for the much-hyped features of Apple’s rumored new TV, you don’t have to wait. They’re already here.

Buh? The Macalope’s wondering how anyone could say that when we don’t have the slightest idea of what an Apple TV would look like. But now he remembers who’s writing this piece, so let’s just continue.

Microsoft’s Xbox Live service already does what Apple is reportedly negotiating with the cable companies to pull off.

Oh, no! Then why is Apple even bothering?!

The company has 40 million Xbox Live customers, while Apple has sold fewer than 10 million Apple TVs.

Microsoft has 40 million Xbox Live subscribers, which anyone can become for free just by owning Windows, an Xbox, or maybe even one of Steve Ballmer’s sweaty old shirts.

With Xbox Live, Microsoft hasn’t tried to outshine its partners.

Don’t make the sum greater than the parts! Just make it equal to them! There’s a recipe for a winner of a product.

According to Goldman, you can get all the features of the rumored Apple television right now with the Xbox Live. The only difference is that Microsoft played softball with the cable companies, while Apple will play hardball in order to get a better experience for its customers. So, he admits, they’re really not the same at all.

Wow, this has been a pretty quick journey from the lede to here, hasn’t it? The Macalope thinks he may have gotten whiplash.

Pundits, no one knows what an Apple television will look like yet. Please stop trying to review it or compare it to existing products.

Choose wisely

Our journey of adventure—comparing things that exist to those that don’t—continues, as the Houston Chronicle’s Dwight Silverman asks “Which is the better buy: the next iPhone or a Galaxy S III?” (tip o’ the antlers to Mike McConnell).

So … uh … Dwight.

You do know that the next iPhone isn’t even …

Yeah, you know.

As you know, I’m considering switching from an iPhone to an Android smartphone. I’ll make my decision once I see the next iPhone, which may or may not be unveiled on Sept. 12.

What the hey?! Does Texas have bait-and-switch laws?

…if the next iPhone is my choice, I’m going to bump up to the 64-gigabyte model. My iPhone 4 has 32-GB of storage, and because I’ve got nearly 20 GB of music on it, the phone is almost full. And that’s not all my music – I’ve probably got another 5 GB of songs that I am not syncing to the device to save space.

The Macalope’s new name for you is “Nutty edge-case guy.” Or maybe “Nutty edge-case guy who doesn’t doesn’t know how Smart Playlists work.”

I’m presuming Apple will keep the same price structure with the next iPhone…

Gosh, who knew analyzing products that don’t exist yet would be so fraught with uncertainty?

Silverman notes that by buying a 16GB Samsung Galaxy S III and a 64GB memory card, he can get an 80GB phone for less than a 32GB iPhone. And he doesn’t even mention all the space he’ll save by having fewer quality apps to choose from!

In addition, I could sell my iPhone 4 to recoup much of this cost. If I was to unlock it and sell it on eBay, it could fetch well over $300.

Huh. Why is it that the resale value of iPhones is so high, while the resale value of Android phones is so much lower? OH, WELL.

Still, the biggest factors in my decision to switch or stay put will be the quality of the hardware and software, as well as the overall ecosystem.

Then why are we even having this discussion?

If Apple offers a cutting-edge iPhone that leaps ahead of the top Android devices, the price won’t matter all that much.

Well, it all depends on how you define “cutting edge.” If cutting edge is some features-based list of checkboxes, then enjoy your Android phone. If, however, cutting edge is the phone with the best overall user experience …

Saturday Special: Executive review

Unlike the Apple television and the next iPhone, it’s not too early to give Tim Cook his annual review, as he has in fact been Apple CEO for a year now.

It’d be kind of hard to argue that Cook’s tenure has been anything less than a success, even if he’s mostly just stayed the course. Staying the course isn’t as easy as it looks. You can’t shake a stick in this country without hitting an executive that screwed up an otherwise fine company by chasing Gartner quadrant unicorns or industry buzzword faeries.

Go ahead, try.

No, harder.

Harder.

HIT THEM.

GET OUT OF THE WAY. GIVE THE MACALOPE THAT STICK. YOU SWING LIKE A HOUSTON ASTRO.

The point, of course, is that Cook was one of the architects of “the course.” Despite the many cries that “He’s no Steve Jobs,” he didn’t have to be. Because Tim Cook already worked at the company, you see, and no one was pulling the company out from under him and forcing him to start all over.

For the Macalope’s money—which, fortunately, is not really at stake here—we’d need to see Cook get through a new product line introduction to know if his review merits an “Exceeds expectations.” Still, there’s no real cause to think he and the company can’t do it. Reinventing product categories and shipping major hits are pretty much in their DNA right now.

But the Macalope understands that, if you’re looking for pageviews, “TIM COOK TOTAL FAIL” is much more enticing than “Apple soldiers on.”

Oh, how he understands.

[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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