The Macalope Weekly: Mythical creature high school musical

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Apple delivers a new iPod shuffle that asks the musical question "You didn't like your old headphones, did you?" The company also makes a couple of mistakes of note and what is that thing behind door number 3? The Macalope doesn't know for sure, but stop calling it a netbook.

Smaller, and now more confusing!

Apple released a new iPod shuffle this week and, get this, it’s even smaller than the last one!

Which is great because if there’s one thing the Macalope heard about the previous shuffle it’s “Why does it have to be so darn big?” Soon they’ll be taking the form of some kind of weaponized audio inhalant.

Hi, I’m Hanna. I work at the Apple Store and I’m going to show you how to use the iPod shuffle inhalant. Press your left nostril to advance, hold down your right nostril to hear what track is playing. But don’t hold down both at the same time because you’ll suffocate.

Putting the controls on the headphones is certainly ingenious, although probably more in that “razor handles and blades” way than in the usability way.

The Macalope doesn’t envy anyone who has to try teaching your average grey-haired granny how to change playlists on one of these things (oh, that is so gray-haired granny-ist). Can’t be done without alcohol.

There will, reportedly, be third-party headphones and adapters (tip o’ the antlers to Daring Fireball), but you can bet the cash you pulled out of the bank and stuck under the mattress that Apple thinks most people will just be buying stock replacements from the Apple Store. The Macalope doesn’t know about you, but he hopes Apple starts selling a pallet-sized package of these suckers because he goes through headphones like Heroes goes through highly contrived plot points (zing!).

Maybe it’s because they always get tangled up in his antlers.

The headphones, not the plot points. The plot points just sail right over them.


Mistakes were made

As much as we don’t like to admit it, sometimes our favorite fruit-themed company doesn’t behave as well as we’d like it to. This week saw two screw-ups on Apple’s part and we’re all adults here (except for those of you who are not, actually, adults) so we can be big enough to admit it.

First was the debacle of Apple rejecting a Twitter app for the iPhone because—surprise!—some people swear on Twitter and the app might return a naughty word or two. Please make your own joke about smelling salts and fainting couches because this is really too dumb for the Macalope to make the effort. At least the company has since walked back on this issue after someone sat the app reviewer down and explained that sometimes people swear on the Internet.

The second is really less gaff-a-licious and more jerk-tastic. After laying off at least 50 employees last week, Apple tried to deny it to the point of literally denying it, although it actually really did happen.

This is the kind of behavior the Macalope has not seen since his days at Mythical Creature High when the Minotaur made out with Medusa under the bleachers and then, when cornered about it during third period Trig, said it never happened. And we’re like, oh, yeah? Then what turned your lips to stone?

C’mon, Apple. Don’t be that guy.

You know the guy.

You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

It looks like netbook wishes are horses this week as reports indicate Apple will be delivering a “netbook” (ironic quotations the Macalope’s) later this year.

And we know how accurate reports are. Hey, it’s in one of those binders that always catch your fingers! It’s gotta be real!

Now, the Macalope has always expected Apple had something up its sleeve in this area. It’s just not likely to be anything equivalent to a PC netbook, which would be a tiny, under-powered MacBook running Puma (seriously—Puma was released exactly one month before Windows XP, the operating system that most netbooks run). Computerworld wants to make it seem like there’s some difference between Steve Jobs’s view on netbooks and Tim Cook’s, but anything that’s coming later this year had to have been dreamed up before Jobs went on leave.

But here’s the thing. As described in the piece, it’s not a “netbook” at all. No, it’s one of the Holy Grails of Apple rumors, after the iPhone and the Apple TV: the tablet.

So, when is a netbook not a netbook? To date, never. They’re all the same pieces of crap. And, according to your report, Apple’s not making one. What Apple’s making is a tablet.

Computerworld, you buried the lede.

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