The Macalope Weekly: Au revoir!

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It’s goodbye Kin, goodbye porn via Flash, goodbye 3G reception bars, and goodbye Macalope as he heads off for some well-earned vacation!

Only the dumb die young

With the news that the Kin has been cancelled, the Macalope just had to call up his old buddy, the Winotaur.

MACALOPE: Dude, sorry to hear about the Kin. What happened?

WINOTAUR: Well, you can’t make a iPhone-killing omelette without breaking a few eggs, you know what I’m saying?

MACALOPE: Hmm. Yeah, well, there’s using up a few eggs to try things out and then there’s just drunkenly throwing eggs against the wall.

WINOTAUR: Hey! I drink because I have a lot of stress! OK?!

MACALOPE: You guys are hard to keep up with. The Macalope was all set to give you crap because the Kin’s price got cut in half just seven weeks after the thing launched, and then a couple of days later it’s just dead.

WINOTAUR: We, uh, we didn’t sell a lot of them.

MACALOPE: But you’re giving gift certificates to the Microsoft Store for early adopters though, right?



MACALOPE: Well, yeah, you cut the price, so aren’t you going to make it up to your loyal customers?

WINOTAUR: What the hell are you talking about?

MACALOPE: That’s what the Macalope thought.

WINOTAUR: Tell you what, though. I’m starting to believe there may actually be an Apple fifth column working within Microsoft.

MACALOPE: You don’t say.

WINOTAUR: C’mon. Look at the evidence. Someone who worked in the MacBU, then oversaw the Danger debacle and now the Kin? Maybe a million dollars down the hole? It’s all so obvious, man!

MACALOPE: You make a compelling point. But usually the right answer is the simplest one.

WINOTAUR: Which is?

MACALOPE: You people are incompetent.

WINOTAUR: [sigh] That’s another reason why I drink.

MACALOPE: Are you sure it’s not the other way around?

WINOTAUR: That’s the thing! There’s no way for me to tell anymore!

There goes our biggest market!

Flash got something of a boost from YouTube this week as a blog post by an engineer on the team detailed all the things that HTML5 doesn’t do that Flash does.

Yay, for Flash! Flash wins the week, right?

Eh, not so much. Turns out the porn industry has seen the writing on the men’s room wall. And, in addition to that, they’ve realized that Flash’s days are numbered. Ari Joone, the director of Digital Playground, one of the big porn producers, said:

Mobile browsers run HTML 5 very well. Flash brings everything to a crawl and has an impact on battery life. With HTML 5, there is no reason to show our content in Flash.

Adobe’s running around trying to stimulate the suddenly flaccid support for Flash, but these aren’t the kind of people that Adobe’s going to excite.

Now, Adobe’s not going to overtly try to appeal to the porn industry, because it would just look bad, but regardless, Adobe simply has no leverage over these people. The company’s not going to forge some kind of tacit strategic alliance like it has with Google because all the porn people are interested in is eyeballs. Big, bouncing eyeballs. And if more people can “consume” their “content” if they “deliver” that “content” in HTML5, then expect to see them start pushing that “content” into HTML5.

Gently at first and then gradually faster and faster, building to a crescendo of…

Well, you get the idea.

First world problem

The Macalope’s not one to scream “Frivolous lawsuit!” (although he once woke up in a cold sweat screaming “Fabulous pantsuit!” and, no, he doesn’t want to talk about it) but are people really filing lawsuits over reception problems already?

“Plaintiffs are left with a device that cannot be used for the normal purpose and in the normal manner in which such devices are intended to be used,” reads the lawsuit. “Plaintiffs are unable to return the phone without incurring a substantial restocking fee.”

Well, strictly speaking, it can be used for normal purposes in the normal manner. First of all, not everyone holds their phone with their left hand. And even some who do don’t notice anything different because they’re not clutching it like it’s the last ticket out of Saigon and it’s April 30, 1975.

The situation is actually relatively complicated (tip o’ the antlers to Daring Fireball). Other phones—including other iPhones—have pretty much the same problem to varying degrees. Well, except for the Kin, because no one’s actually held or cared about one. All things considered, reception on the iPhone 4 is actually pretty good.

Apple says the drop appears more dramatic than it is—presumably because the company’s been jacking up the indicator all along—and a forthcoming software update will take away those bogus bars posthaste (uh, yay?). And from the press release, it appears the company has dropped the restocking fee (which is only right).

So, what’s this lawsuit about again?

There is clearly a problem here and it’s not just sweaty palms, unless it’s the sweaty palms of some designers at Apple who are a little too clever for their own good. But if it’s such a big problem, how come the Macalope still can’t lay a hoof on one of the damned things? Because they’re sold out everywhere.

Programming Note

Taking down silly pundits is exhausting, so the Macalope will be on vacation for the next two weeks. He hopes to return with an iPhone 4 but who knows?

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