Fringe theories

There was another of Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conferences this week and the pundits are here with their crackpot theories to tell us all about what Apple’s various announcements mean. (For certain values of “mean.”)

The Swiftonese Liberation Army

Writing for Bloomberg, Leonid Bershidsky plays psychologist.

Badly. As one does.

“Apple Gives Customers the Stockholm Syndrome” (tip o’ the antlers to @papanic).

Now, this is not the first time the Macalope has heard this argument. It seems to be trotted out every couple of years, as if it’s some stunning insight.

Well, it is stunning, just for the wrong reasons.

Don’t knock Apple Inc. for not showing off, or even promising, any breakthrough devices at yesterday’s Worldwide Developers Conference.

Because, you know, it’s a developer conference, not a consumer conference.

It is otherwise occupied, building a Disneyesque castle designed to hold its customers captive as long as possible.

You know the funny thing about Disney World? People love Disney World.

Apple’s enticements, as presented yesterday, suggest the company is focused on two goals: sprucing up the castle’s interior and making sure it offers everything customers could get outside its walls.

You know, just like kidnappers do.

If you’re like me, you probably tried to use some of the enhancements in the last two or three versions of Mac OS but then forgot all about them.

Or maybe you’re like a regular technology user, who appreciates software updates that provide new features.

Weirdo.

By taking such good care of me and offering me more than I ever asked for, Apple is trying to fence me in.

It is doing the same to developers, who might reasonably be wondering whether they should still release iOS apps first if 80 percent of smartphones sold run Android.

Right. Apple just showered developers with shiny presents, but they’re totally going to switch to developing for a thousand different screen sizes on a platform where people don’t buy apps.

The problem with Apple’s attractive castle is that when you leave, your carriage will turn into a pumpkin.

Apple should really be doing everything it can to make it easy for developers to leave. That’s Business 101.

This captivity may be a reason to resist the castle’s charms: Given the slow pace of Apple’s hardware innovation …

The Macalope would like to ask Bershidsky to point to the Android or Windows Phone OEMs that are more innovative than Apple—without changing the definition of “innovation”—because the results would be hysterical.

… it may soon be possible to assemble a better experience using apps and devices from various developers and manufacturers. There are more people working to that end outside the castle walls than Apple can ever hire. Being in the open field has its advantages.

Innovation by committee! What could possibly go wrong?!

This isn’t Stockholm Syndrome. This is people who choose to go to Six Flags complaining that Disney World is so nice.

Pet peeves

WWDC came and went and Apple didn’t scratch my particular weird itch!

Writing for ZDNet, Matt Baxter-Reynolds says “Apple’s new Swift development language highlights the company’s worst side.”

The problem that the industry has when it comes to software development for mobile devices is that each platform vendor produces their own toolset in their own language using their own APIs.

This is a problem for cross-platform development. Apple has no interest in helping cross-platform development. It has an interest in helping iOS and Mac development.

This approach makes it extremely difficult for developers to build apps that run on multiple devices. The only safe way to build good cross-platform apps is to create distinct versions of each app from scratch for each platform that you wish to target.

Dude, don’t worry. Everything is Web apps these days.

Oh, no, wait, that’s not true. And why is that not true? Because trying to code one bland, generic app that runs on anything makes for lousy applications. Apple knows this and so do its dedicated developers who—and this is just a fact—make better apps, on average, than developers for other platforms. Apple rewarded these people instead of the people who want to crank out apps.

Sorry?

No, not really.

[Objective C is] tremendously awful to work with, compared to the tooling that enterprise software developers work with every day.

That may have been true. It’s weird, then, that the best software is on Apple’s platform while the worst is enterprise software.

When I first heard about Swift I was pleased as I assumed that Apple would look to solve the key problem faced by mobile developers …

“I am not paying attention at all!”

When you look at Swift, that is what you get. Something that has been designed in a way that shows no empathy at all for what the greater community of software developers actually need. It looks to serve only Apple developers …

Yes, it’s a travesty that Apple didn’t spend four years working on a programming language that would make it easier for people to code for Android.

(?)

In essence, Apple had one job—create a new baseline tooling for iOS and show a sympatico [sic] approach with how the rest of the industry actually operates—and they blew it.

Wrong! Just because you want that does not make it Apple’s job. If you want to code software for one of their platforms, Apple just made it easier and more elegant. That was the company’s one job—which it did.

The headphone jack conspiracy

Writing for Forbes, Gordon Kelly really puts the “nut” in “contributor nutwork.”

“Apple To Abandon Headphone Jack? Beats Deal Suddenly Makes Sense” (no link, but tip o’ the antlers to Ty Belisle).

For this one you’re going to need some tinfoil, a grassy knoll, and a poster that says “I WANT TO BELIEVE.” Some mescaline wouldn’t hurt, either.

Suddenly why Apple spent a seemingly ludicrous $3.2 billion buying Beats is starting to make sense.

When you examine none of the evidence, it makes no sense!

9to5Mac has learnt that Apple submitted a specification to its MFi (Made For) licensing program for headphones which connect using the company’s proprietary Lightning port instead of the standard 3.5mm jack. Furthermore all it will take for the Lightning port to start accepting these new headphones is a firmware update.

So, OK, Apple’s added another way to attach headphones to an iPhone—one that could lead to some interesting new headphone features, as well as generating some more Lightning-port licensing money for Apple. Sounds like a fine idea, right?

Oh, do not bother to ask the sheeple to wake up, for it is in their nature to sleep through all the evidence that is right there for them to see. Such is their signature trait.

Kiss your headphone jack goodbye, Apple suckers, because it’s going away! According to Kelly. Which is to say, no, it is not going away.

The problem is most customers will lose out, even die-hard Apple users.

Turns out, even “die-hard Apple users” use headphones. Who knew? We all thought they just jammed their iPhones directly into their cerebella.

Worse still, the switch to Lightning headphones is likely to be mandatory.

That explains the three helicarriers Apple is constructing underground in Cupertino. And you thought it was a new campus. Could you get any sheeplier?

Make no mistake Apple is not stupid.

No, of course not. It’s run by secret-lair-under-a-volcano level evil masterminds, after all.

The company’s business model has always been about ‘us and them’ and controlling the user experience. By fracturing the oldest universal technology standard still in use today …

The Macalope believes the automobile cigarette lighter plug and probably a bunch of other things are older, but go ahead. Don’t let actual things get in the way of hyperbole.

… it will have found a powerful new way to make that distinction even stronger.

Then why do Macs still have USB ports? Why aren’t they all FireWire 800? Just because Apple decides to add some functionality doesn’t mean it’s going to force everyone to use it. There’s Kremlinology and then there’s wandering out into Lenin’s tomb, checking out St. Basil’s Cathedral, and then doing a bunch of shopping at GUM.

But here’s the most shocking part of this piece:

[Editor’s note: The original headline stated as fact that Apple was abandoning the headphone jack. This is informed opinion, so we added a question mark.]

Forbes has editors? Who knew?

But, no. This is not “informed opinion.” This is open mic night at the Zapruder.

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