The Macalope Weekly: One side fits all

When it comes to the world of punditry about Apple, you must be of a singular vision. And that vision is basically the robot apocalypse future of Terminator, except isolated to Cupertino.

And then the aliens invade

It must be easy to write for Business Insider. All you have to do is take one side of things—the anti-Apple side—and …

Actually, that’s it. There is no Step 2. Well, press “publish.”

Writing for Business Insider, Jim Edwards describes:

“Apple: The Worst-Case Scenario” (no link, partly because it bugs them when the Macalope doesn’t link, but tip o’ the antlers to @JonyIveParody and Dan James).

Apple just had its biggest-ever quarter, with $58 billion in revenues, up 7%. It booked $170 billion in sales last year, up 9%.

Yep. Put a fork in it. It’s done.

Yet people are openly worrying that Apple has lost its way.

Well, Business Insider writers. Are Business Insider writers really “people”? There’s a lot of evidence they’re actually fish.

And God knows no one has ever worried that Apple has lost its way before. This is a startling new trend.

Analysts are writing negative reports to their investors.

Ohs. Noes.

There are doubts about whether Apple will deliver any new products—a watch? a TV?—this year beyond new iterations of the iPhone.

Some people doubt Apple is even real. These people believe this “Apple’ is nothing more than a government plot to steal our money, and they wonder where the nurse is with their Jell-O.

And even those will likely be a catch-up models spurred by the success of rival, big-screen phones.

Ooh, douché. Surely Apple execs will be sobbing into wads of $100 bills over that sick burn.

But Apple also makes mistakes. This was the company that fired Steve Jobs. This is the company that lost the desktop war to Microsoft’s Windows.

Edwards had to go back to the 1990s to find big mistakes.

And on mobile devices, Apple has only a minority share while Google’s Android has become the phone for the masses.

Gosh, it’s a good thing then that it still takes 60 percent of the mobile profits.

This is a game we play with Business Insider. Business Insider repeatedly says “MARKET SHARE BLAZZLEROZZLE!” and we say “PROFIT SHARE HOOZLEWOOZLE!” It’s fun.

So it’s worth asking: What would happen to Apple if everything that can go wrong does go wrong?

And, while Business Insider is doing that, why not ask what would happen if everything that can go right for Google and Samsung does go right? And then they can knock off for the day, because that covers all their imaginable scenarios.

What if iPhone growth has stopped?

Or, what if sales are 4 million units better than expected?

It goes on and on like this. And it’s not just one scenario, it’s 14 scenarios and 2,800 words in which everything goes bad for Apple and great for its competitors.

Rather than read Edwards’s relentlessly one-sided piece, you’d be better off reading what’s in the sidebar. Under “Watch & Learn” are three “stories” that Business Insider thinks are important for you to read: “What It Takes To Work At Hooters,” “How They Make Lingerie Models Look So Good,” and “Here’s How Supermodel Adriana Lima Stays In Ridiculously Good Shape.”

The Macalope’s going to guess it’s not by stuffing herself silly with alfalfa.

Gone in 60 days

Mark it on your calendars, folks! Apple’s doom is nigh!

“Time is ticking for Apple to announce an iWatch, say analysts” (tip o’ the antlers to @JonyIveParody).

Remember netbooks and how Apple needed to introduce one of those or go out of business? Good times.

Apple needs an iWatch sooner rather than later, or the company will risk losing its innovative edge to rivals, analysts say.

Are you sure that’s what they said? Sometimes it’s hard to understand someone when their mouth is full of paste and paint chips.

“They only have 60 days left to either come up with something or they will disappear,” said Trip Chowdhry, managing director at Global Equities Research.

60 days. Disappear. Poof. What does one even say about such analysis?

The Macalope’s trying to figure out what Chowdry’s game is here. He’s been talking trash about Apple for at least five years. It certainly doesn’t make him look smart. Maybe it’s a cry for help.

Chowdry says Apple has 60 days to save themselves and yet he has an $800 price target for the stock. So, the Macalope’s going to go with “cry for help.”

“It will take years for Apple’s $130 billion in cash to vanish, but it will become an irrelevant company … it will become a zombie, if they don’t come up with an iWatch.”

Ohhh, wait, maybe Chowdry is just a big viral marketing campaign for The Walking Dead. That would make more sense than him thinking this is good analysis that his clients can use.

So, Apple must release an iWatch specifically. Because the smartwatch market is taking off and not at all in the bumbling, nascent phase where everyone is secretly hoping Apple will hurry up and make one so they can copy it. Uh huh.

While Chowdhry’s prediction may be at the extreme end …

Good context. Thanks.

… other analysts echo his sentiment.

Crayons stuffed into their mouths and pencils up their noses.

And there’s no doubt that the wearable space is suddenly getting crowded.

Like the inside of a clown car.

“There’s a lot going on in the wearable space, but I think for Apple the pressure is to get it right,” [chief of research at Kantar WorldPanel Carolina] Milanesi said.

It’s OK for everyone else to release their half-baked concept designs. Nobody expects good work from them.

Well, if this analysis isn’t good enough for you, fear not. CNBC has a quote from your go-to source for tech analysis:

Shaq: I’m anxious to see this new iWatch

The Macalope is kind of torn over whether it’s better to get tech analysis from Wall Street analysts or professional basketball players. It seems almost indistinguishable.

Baa

The Forbes contributor network brain trust is still slaving away trying to think up new ways that Apple is doomed. Now watch as even Apple’s strengths … become its weaknesses!

Gordon Kelly explains: “The Majority of iPhone Users Admit to ‘Blind Loyalty’ - Why This Is A Problem For Apple” (no link, but tip o’ the antlers to Chris Hisle).

iSheep.

Ding-ding-ding-ding-ding!

Wow, right out of the gate.

That’s the retort most readily used to attack owners of Apple AAPL -0.16% kit. It is a wonderfully concise allegation …

Lazy tropes usually are.

… the thoughtless herd mentality Apple cynics attribute to those happy to spend small fortunes on Macs, MacBooks, iPhones and iPads. Well brace yourself for new forum flame wars because it might just be true.

Or, it might be trumped-up hogwash meant to gain free advertising for a site you’ve never heard of before. The real answer may not surprise you!

As part of ongoing research into mobile phone purchasing decisions simonlycontracts.co.uk …

Never heard of them before? Well, now you have. Mission accomplished!

For a second the Macalope thought it was Simonly Contracts, which certainly sounds British, but no, it’s SIM Only Contracts. So, a British site that sells SIM cards online polled a bunch of their visitors. This sample is statistically valid for a population of British SIM card purchasers who visited simonlycontracts.co.uk.

… polled 2,275 iPhone owners and found a staggering 59% admitted “blind loyalty” to the handset.

Oh! So, the respondents must have ticked the “yes” box on a question that said “Do you have blind loyalty to the iPhone?”

Actually, no.

The definition was users who stated they would not even consider researching other handsets when upgrading in future.

GASP. Do you mean to tell the Macalope that Simonly Contracts is spinning these results in a salacious manner in order to gin up yes that’s what’s going on here.

Suffice it to say there are a plethora of reasons why someone might not consider other brands. First of all, you could just be lazy. But you also might be invested in the Apple ecosystem. That’s not blind loyalty; it’s an investment decision.

In many ways this is an enviable position for Apple and demonstrates a level of brand loyalty to which most manufacturers can only dream.

You’d think, but then you realize you’re reading Forbes and you know there’s another shoe to drop. A stupid, stupid shoe.

And yet dig deeper and there are clouds on the horizon.

Clouds of deep user loyalty.

Asked ‘What mobile phone did you own before your current iPhone?’ the majority, 54%, unsurprisingly had another iPhone but a further 31% came from fading brands BlackBerry (17%) and Nokia (14%). That’s just 15% moving from more competitive brands while arguably Nokia is again finding its feet suggesting less easy pickings in future.

The only way to tell if these numbers are bad is to look at the industry averages, which this survey (of British visitors to one site) doesn’t do.

We have a limited survey, so let’s also misinterpret the results. Because that’s always fun.

Interestingly all those who had a previous iPhone were asked why they chose to stick with Apple and just 28% said because “it seemed to be the best phone at the time of switching”. 37% meanwhile said it was because they were used to the interface, the false friend Nokia long thought would protect it, while 25% cited friends and relatives who had iPhones.

Yes, but assuming that respondents were only able to pick one thing, that doesn’t mean the other things weren’t also a factor.

… reliance on friends and family is easily eroded should the budget charms of Windows Phone or Android take a foothold.

Only budget charms can take a foothold. Apple’s superior build quality and user experience can have no effect.

At that point blind loyalty would be almost impossible. Even for self-confessed iSheep.

You may have noticed that Kelly never does actually explain how this supposed “blind loyalty” is a “problem for Apple.” Instead he tries to give reasons why even “blind loyalty” won’t help because even the “iSheep” will one day want cheap Android phones, as that’s the only way these imagined scenarios ever work out. Consumers always leave Apple for cheap devices. Even when they don’t actually do that in reality.

If you’re wondering if blind adherence to conventional wisdoms such as this is a problem for a tech pundit, well, that’s probably because you’re an iSheep.

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