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The Zune HD cometh! First person to call it an “iPod killer” gets a knee to the groin! And speaking of knees to the groin, the Macalope dishes one out to Forrester for its iPhone flip-flopping. Finally, Mac sales figures don’t look great, but if you drink enough beers they might look good enough.

Return of the Zune

Remember the summer of 2006? The summer of love? Zune love? Yes, it seemed every silly pundit was tripping over his or herself to proclaim the iPod dead, for surely Emperor Zune, when he did arrive, would be wearing some totally bitchin’ clothes.

Well, did you know that this “Zune”—who was sadly kind of buck naked on arrival—is still around? No, it’s true. As a matter of fact, it’s about to get an update.

Pictures were leaked on a site called WMPowerUser (which probably stands for Windows Mobile Power User and not White Male Power User but you never know—they’re already Zune fans) and show a device that looks like a first-generation iPhone with sharp edges (not for use by children under 5, not FAA-certified for air travel). It appears the design geniuses at Microsoft have struck again.

As fun as it’s been over the last three years—watching the Zune stumble and fall, then get up for a second only to slip on a banana peel, right itself, sigh heavily, adjust its propeller hat and horn-rimmed glasses held together in the middle by tape, take a tentative step forward, and slip again on the exact same banana peel—we should face the fact of the matter: we need the Zune.

No, not as a comedy foil, although that aspect of it has, to date, been awesome (thanks, Microsoft!). No, we need it as a big-name competitor. All joking aside, the Zune does bring to market alternative features that Apple later implements, such as wireless and, soon, according to rumors, HD.

And, maybe someday, brown.

No, that will never get old. Why do you ask?


Late to the party

Well, well, well. Look who’s suddenly singing the iPhone’s praises: Forrester Research.

It wasn’t so long ago that Forrester was falling over itself trying to come up with reasons why businesses shouldn’t let their users have iPhones. To be fair to Forrester, some of those reasons were valid at the time, but the company ignored ways to mitigate the issues and played up the “Did you know if an executive so much as looks at an iPhone your corporate headquarters may explode?” angle.

See, here’s the thing that really chaps the Macalope’s hairy hide. A little over a year ago, Forrester was telling corporate IT shops that the iPhone was a witch and they should burn it. Now, after a number of corporate IT shops ignored Forrester’s dire warnings and successfully deployed iPhones, Forrester is coming out of its hole and signaling all clear.

Don’t people pay Forrester to be ahead of the game and not behind it? Or, to borrow a phrase, thanks for telling us where the puck’s already been, Forrester.

Sales figures

The sad fact of the current economic environment, dear readers, is that sales figures come in only three sizes: “Bad”, “Ugly” and “Chapter 11”.

Fortunately, a report from IDC this week shows that Mac sales are simply in the “Bad” category. And there’s even a silver lining: see, when most everyone else’s sales are also sagging, you can actually look good by just not being the saggiest.

IDC’s numbers aren’t the final word, though. That comes next Wednesday during Apple’s quarterly conference call. And Apple may be able to seduce Wall Street analysts—who are pretty desperate for action right now—by stuffing its bra (also known as “the channel”, which means there’s a cleavage joke in there the Macalope doesn’t have time to construct right now). Kudos to HP for actually having something to hold its dress up on its own.

Is this analogy making you as uncomfortable as it’s making the Macalope? It’s OK. We’re done.

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