The Macalope Weekly: Like clockwork
Do we even need an introductory paragraph to set up these three items? There was an Apple event, so pundits rushed to tell us how lame it was. Same as it ever was.
HA HA HAAAA
Well, to be fair, Eric Schmidt is crazy, so he laughs at a lot of things. Often out of context.
Google’s management team is dancing around its new KitKat statue today, having dodged what could have been a competitive bullet or two from Apple—possibly the new iWatch, iTV or even a new laptop.
Alas, yes: no unicorns, wyverns, or other mythical beasts. Just a bunch of cool phones that Apple’s going to sell a metric crap-ton of.
For heaven’s sake, they didn’t even announce a new iPad!
For heaven’s sake, Apple didn’t announce something everyone knows will be announced next month!
Another company that’s having a field day today: Nokia.
Indeed! Since its time is not taken up with actually selling phones, Nokia was able to post a mocking tweet about the iPhone 5c.
Fingerprint sensor? You mean the same thing I got on my Dell laptop in 2007? And on the Motorola Atrix Android smartphone in January 2011?
Just like that. Uh, except not. It’s better, of course, because Apple generally only implements technologies when they actually work, instead of when they just let the company check a box on a list. The Atrix was apparently so good that Motorola forgot it shipped it. How else to explain the company’s iPhone 5s-mocking tweet:
Remember that one time you were stoked to give your fingerprints? Us either.
People do remember how much they hate having to type in passwords, though. Shocking that Motorola would so willfully miss that point.
Google’s Android and Chrome teams were already nicely ahead of Apple’s iOS team in terms of service integration, customization, ease of use …
Remember, you can just say a thing and it becomes true! It’s like magic! Stupid magic. The stupidest of magics.
If Android phones are so awesome, how come Apple’s phones consistently get higher customer satisfaction ratings?
Right. Right. Sorry. You said it was so, so it is. Carry on.
Over the next few months, Google’s Android and Chrome teams seek to extend their existing lead over Apple. The company will introduce Android OS version 4.4 KitKat, a slew of new Chromebook laptops starting around $199, a Chromepad (touchscreen Chrome OS tablet) and next summer the first Chromephone (Chrome OS replacing Android on the smartphone). The pace of innovation at Google is simply faster than it is at Apple these days.
Yeah! It’s weird how current Apple products are unable to keep up with hypothetical future Google products, isn’t it?
No sooner did Apple show the 5C, before it also introduced cases for it.
Gee … and is that then a sign of confidence? Not.
You are literally 12 years old, is that what you’re saying? And trapped in 1992?
For example, the cheapest Apple laptop is $999. For that price, you can get one Google laptop, one Google smartphone and one Google tablet, yet still have $322 left!
Right, because these devices are all comparable.
Here’s an idea, Anton. Why not compare how much you will be able to resell those devices for when you’re done with them? The Macalope imagines it’ll be something like $700 for the MacBook and, oh, $44.99 for all the Google devices.
Google doesn’t need stores for customer service, because their products don’t require any customer service.
Ha, OK, the Macalope has a Nexus 7 so, uh, no. Just because you can’t get customer service, doesn’t mean it’s not needed.
Bad news, folks: Apple’s ads still suck. According to two dudes who work at the L.A. Times, anyway.
Writing for the Times, Salvador Rodriguez goes from zero to Betteridge’s Law confirmation in 3.5 seconds.
Apple’s worst ads are, of course, better than almost every other company’s best ads, but thanks to the Apple Double Standard, such comparisons need not be applied.
Apple Inc. is responsible for some of the best commercials of all time, but this year it has sorely been off its game.
Its imaginary game. A game in which the self-appointed referees keep moving the goal posts. A game in which Apple must play by a different set of rules than its competitors. In short, a game that cannot be won.
And its latest commercial isn’t going to help change that.
Now, the Macalope saw this ad and he thought it was pretty good. Sure, he’s got a head shaped like a classic Mac, but he hasn’t loved every Apple ad. He was never a fan of the celebrity iPhone ads and was even less enamored of the Genius ads. But let us say that while it can’t be inducted into the pantheon of the company’s best ads ever—which, by the way, are pretty synonymous with just the best ads ever—some people do like the new iPhone 5c ad.
But instead, the ad comes off as tacky.
Because Rodriguez says so. Apparently people from all walks of life answering their phones is tacky.
Everybody in the ad is so exaggeratedly happy and cheerful to be on the phone that one of my colleagues actually thought the video was a parody of a real Apple ad when he first saw it.
Two out of two people at the L.A. Times hate it! What other confirmation do you need that it’s a turkey?
And people exaggerating their emotional states in a commercial?! The nerve! If we can’t trust commercials to accurately feature human emotions, what can we trust?! One wonders what Rodriguez and his colleague thought about the original iPod ad. “REAL PEOPLE CAN’T DANCE THAT WELL.”
In contrast, some of Apple’s other ads throughout the years—its 1984 Super Bowl commercial, the Think Different ad and the Mac vs. PC campaign—are regarded as classics.
Sure. Quick! Name signature ads from Apple’s competitors!
[stars wheel overhead]
[a coyote wanders into view, looks surprised and slowly backs out the way it came]
[the world returns to silence forever and ever]
As Thompson points out, the new ad is very reminiscent of the first iPhone ad. But it wasn’t one of Apple’s best ads ever so, just like Tuesday’s keynote, it’s deemed a flop.
That’s right, Apple “only” introduced new phones on Tuesday. So, naturally, innovation at Apple is dead.
So says Dylan Tweney, executive editor at
VentureBeat Tiger Beat in the Valley.
Man, just all kinds of Betteridge’s Law-invoking headlines this week.
This week, Apple unveiled a respectable upgrade of its iPhone line.
So why do I feel so disappointed?
Because it’s not Christmas every day?
Maybe it’s because we expect so much from Apple.
Don’t worry. Tweney won’t let this brief moment of clarity stop him from trying to flip some tables over Apple’s lameness.
It’s unfair to keep holding Apple to the same high expectations.
It is! But let’s do it anyway.
Now, don’t get me wrong.
This phrase invariably sets up a brief interlude to provide cover before an argument’s big “But …” waggles into view.
… the bigger issue is that Apple is facing an existential threat, and this week’s news suggests it has no clue about how to respond appropriately.
Because Apple didn’t announce what Tweney wanted to hear on Tweney’s schedule, Apple is doomed.
Merely keeping the faithful …
… happy is not working.
The growth in iPhone sales has slowed. This is true. But Apple doesn’t get its real growth from existing product lines, it gets growth from new product lines.
And consider the addition of the fingerprint sensor. I joked that Apple left out a key part of its technology diagram by not including the secret NSA back door.
That’s a timely jab, given the recent news that the NSA has targeted iPhones for hacking and has successfully captured images from intelligence targets via the device. It’s also a bit unfair …
A bit unfair? Or completely unfair, given that Apple only stores the fingerprint—and even then a mathematical schematic of it, not an actual picture—on the phone itself?
It’s a nice, convenient way to unlock your phone—assuming it works more reliably than prior sensors—but it’s hardly redefining the rules of the smartphone game.
Samsung can just slap a larger screen on a phone every year. Apple, the one company that’s already redefined the rules of the smartphone game, needs to do so every year.
Finally, there’s the question of the iWatch. Many of us expected Apple to launch a wrist-mounted wearable device this week …
And because we didn’t get it now, now, NOW, Apple is lost.
Hey, anyone remember netbooks? Any-hoo …
There was no sign of a watch. So those of us in Silicon Valley are left watching, wondering, and feeling a little empty inside.
Can you isolate that feeling? Is it from the neck up?
Tweney acknowledges Apple could still provide some surprises later, but then concludes:
Jobs is gone. It looks like Apple’s magic is slowly seeping away now too.
Apple should really just talk to these pundits and find out what their timetable is for when the company should release new products.
And then ignore it.
It’d be the same as what the company does now, but still—it might be fun to mess with those guys.