The Macalope Weekly: It wasn’t only rock and roll, but did you like it?

Today's Best Tech Deals

Picked by Macworld's Editors

Top Deals On Great Products

Picked by Techconnect's Editors

Hey, has anyone seen the Tupperware the Macalope keeps that Beatles rumor in? Yes, another Apple music event has come and gone, leaving us to reflect on why Apple failed to announce all the stuff we made up. But no camera in the iPod touch? That seemed like such a sure thing! Well, maybe not. And sensitive readers may not want to read the last bit where the shocking truth about Apple is revealed! (Spoiler: turns out they sometimes make mistakes!)

We’re still waiting for Copland, too, Apple!

Like the aftermath of every Apple event, there were some people who weren’t satisfied with what was announced. There was a modicum of whining, a dash of complaining, and, well, whatever this was.

And it’s true, there wasn’t a lot of thunder, but we run into this a lot at these iPod events. It’s a mature business now. Why rock the boat if the boat is already a-rockin’? Or is that the van? Well, whatever.

Apple’s also playing it smart during a tough economy by making more incremental enhancements to its operating system and core products. Compared to Microsoft’s “bet the farm” approach to Windows 7, the horny one thinks slow-and-steady wins this race and was quite happy with what was announced, even if he still hopes Apple updates the Apple TV soon.

Because his is starting to smell.


Can’t touch this

People are wondering why Apple didn’t provide a more significant update to the iPod touch, particularly by adding a camera. The Macalope thought this would probably be announced, but in retrospect he sees the logic. He can even tell you the thinking behind it without reading Steve Jobs’s comments on the issue. (Here, hold the Macalope’s beer!)

See, the iPod touch is already selling like hotcakes. Sure, if you stuck a camera in the touch it’d sell like even hotter cakes—possibly even thermonuclear cakes. But the energy output of these thermonuclear cakes then overwhelms the more tepid output of the iPod nano cakes, even at the lower price point. The Macalope believes that it was Einstein who first postulated that Et * camera > En * camera. Or maybe it was Planck.

So, you add a camera to the iPod nano and suddenly customers are forced to choose between different feature sets that add up to the same level of awesome. Now it’s like being forced to choose between donuts and bacon. You want to play games? It’s the touch. You want to make movies? It’s the nano.

As Jason Snell noted, this week’s announcements were all about priming the engine that is the holiday buying season. (That Snell’s a smart guy. And he wears stylish shirts.)

The new nano is the lazy parent’s dream. “You liked that nano we got you last year, didn’t you, honey? Well, this one has a camera!”

Does it ever strike you that there’s something really wrong with capitalism? Oh, well.

But parents, if you do give your high school and college-age kids a video camera for Christmas, don’t look at what they film. You don’t want to know.

The Macalope expects Apple will add a camera to the iPod touch at some point in its life in order to squeeze some more value out of the product line. But for now they’re content to leave people wanting more.

Not infallible?! That’s unpossible!

Are you sitting down, readers? The Macalope hopes so, because it’s his uncomfortable duty to report that, according to PC World’s Ian Paul, Apple is not infallible.

(Psst. Ian? We knew that.)

Paul tries to make some hay with problems with Snow Leopard and the iPhone 3.1 update, but ungulates know hay, Ian, and the Macalope’s here to tell you that ain’t hay.

…for a release that was supposed to be largely about system improvements, Snow Leopard sure came loaded with significant problems.

The piece Paul links to is based on forum postings and quotes sources such as “Westhamunited” and (no, the Macalope is not making this up) “Rickmeister.” The Macalope has said this before, but it bears repeating: you can’t tell by forum postings how good an operating system update is. The Macalope’s inclined to go with BusinessWeek’s Stephen Wildstrom (tip o’ the antlers to Jim Dalrymple) when he says Apple could have done better, but overall the Snow Leopard update was pretty good.

But without statistics, who knows?

Amongst Paul’s laundry list of Snow Leopard complaints is “problems with the Cisco VPN.” Now, this is a device used primarily in businesses, which prompts the Macalope to wonder who, exactly, these businesses are that installed an operating system upgrade the day it came out and how they are still in business?

On Thursday, about two weeks after Snow Leopard’s initial launch, Apple released Snow Leopard update 10.6.1 in an attempt to solve some of these compatibility issues.

“In an attempt?” Okay, Apple’s documentation of these releases is notoriously sketchy, but just because you don’t know what’s fixed doesn’t mean some Apple engineer is changing a few lines of code and yelling “Okay, try it now!” The definable bugs were either fixed or they weren’t.

As Apple’s market share grows, it’s only a matter of time before Macs get plagued with a major security issue.

Is there some brain disease that affects technology pundits where they can’t form sentences in the potential form? “It may only be a matter of time…” Ian Paul does not peer into the future, seeing what others cannot. Frankly, the Macalope is starting to think that if it were all that likely, it would have happened already. (Don’t take that to the bank, though, Apple!) These days he’s more concerned about the iPhone than the Mac.

Let’s face it: Apple makes great-looking, easy-to-use stuff, but, at its heart, it really is just another software company with products vulnerable to incompatibility issues and security issues. Just like the other guys.

Au contraire. Are its products vulnerable to incompatibility and security issues? Sure. But it’s not “just another software company.” The “Apple products just work” catchphrase is not about compatibility or security. It’s about design. It’s about the fact that you don’t need to remember that the calculator is buried under 12 layers of menus on your phone. It’s right where you’d expect it to be.

Apple is clearly not infallible. But they’re still cut from a different cloth than “the other guys.”

Note: When you purchase something after clicking links in our articles, we may earn a small commission. Read our affiliate link policy for more details.
Shop Tech Products at Amazon