The Macalope Weekly: Handle with care

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[Editors’ Note: Each week the Macalope skewers the worst of the week’s coverage of Apple and other technology companies. In addition to being a mythical beast, the Macalope is not an employee of Macworld. As a result, the Macalope is always free to criticize any media organization. Even ours.]

Some things in life are gentle. Such as flowers, butterflies, and the feelings of Adobe executives. It’s important to protect the things that matter (like, say, profit) and not be as worried about the things that are less important (like units shipped). Sometimes the things that are fragile are still worth having, though. Like, well, flowers and butterflies and iPhone 4s.

Going negative

The Macalope’s going to be honest with you. He loves this Adobe/Apple spat. Why? Because self-righteous people are so much fun to laugh at, and Adobe keeps trotting them out one after the other like a receiving line of Les Nessman, Kenneth Parcell, and Worf.

This week it was Adobe CTO Kevin Lynch’s turn (tip o’ the antlers to the Loop).

“I just think there’s this negative campaigning going on, and, for whatever reason, Apple is really choosing to incite it, and condone it,” Lynch says.

Hmm. Maybe it’s because Flash sucks. Do you think that could be it?


“I think that’s unfortunate. We don’t think it’s good for the web to have aspects closed off—a blockade of certain types of expression.”

Buggy, crash-inducing, power-sucking expression.

“There’s a decade of content out there that you just can’t view on Apple’s device, and I think that’s not only hurtful to Adobe, but hurtful to everyone that created that content.”

Oh, jeez Louise. You know who it’s not hurtful to? People who just want their web pages to load.

“That people put energy into making this stuff, and now some percentage of viewers can’t see it anymore because one company chooses so.

No. Wrong. One company didn’t choose so. Apple made the product and customers chose to buy it. It’s not like they pushed out an update that removed Flash from all of their devices.

“That’s just totally counter to our values.”

What’s not counter to your values, apparently, is making repeated holier-than-thou statements. At Adobe, posturing is job one!

What’s more important?

Bad news, everyone. According to Paul Grim, Apple can’t beat Android (tip o’ the antlers to Joey Drews).


Grim’s point is mainly about price—that Apple is going to be unwilling to compete at the low end of the market so Android will win gobs of market share while Apple will be forced to continue to get all the profit.

Wait, where’s the bad news again?

Grim gives short shrift to the idea that Android’s higher market share is mostly because it’s on more carriers (and he may be right as price does seem to be a big factor). He asks:

But will Apple ever have 20 versions of the iPhone? 50? Of course not. Will it ever license the platform to OEMs? Are you kidding me? This is why Android will completely dominate the wireless world.

This is the same tired “It’s the desktop PC wars all over again!” trope and the Macalope is continually astounded that people continue to trot it out without mentioning the iPod, which comes solely from Apple and continues to dominate the digital music player market almost a decade after its introduction.

But price is a factor. People have long talked about an iPhone nano, but the Macalope doesn’t see what you can pull out of an iPhone and still have it be an iPhone. It’s a phone that runs apps. You take the phone out and it’s an iPod touch. But you take the apps out and it’s just a phone. So far, Apple’s solution has been to sell the previous generation of iPhone at the low end of the price spectrum, but maybe—á la the MacBook—it should be a plastic phone with lesser specs versus a better-designed, higher-powered “pro” version.

Still, even the plastic MacBook doesn’t compete with generic laptops on price because, ultimately, Apple’s far more concerned about profit share than market share. And that’s as it should be.

It May Be Nothinggate!

“Glassgate” was back in the news this week because… well, because somebody else wrote about it, the Macalope supposes. This time, it’s Cult of Mac’s Leander Kahney with the shattering news. (See what the Macalope did the—oh, never mind.)

Apple’s retail stores have suspended sales of iPhone 4 slide-on cases because of concerns about trapped dirt causing scratches and cracks — the so-called “Glassgate” issue.

To the best of the Macalope’s knowledge, the company hasn’t “suspended” the sale of anyone’s cases because they have yet to sell a slide-on case for the iPhone 4 in their retail stores.

Now, for all we know, Kahney spoke to the very same anonymous case manufacturers that Ryan Block did, so why we’re talking about this again—and whether or not it really is “Exclusive”—is anyone’s guess. Indeed, this story has the air of being shopped around by certain case manufacturers because Apple’s decision to not stock their product is hurting their sales.

Which seems to the horny one like kind of an odd tactic. “Apple’s not stocking our products because they shatter the glass on the iPhone! It’s not fair!” Weird. Maybe you could, you know, re-design the product to better protect the device it was supposed to protect instead of grousing about how the company’s choosing not to stock it.

The Macalope’s previously made clear that his real complaint about this whole issue is one of tone. He’s previously ceded the point that grit may actually shatter the glass over time but both Kahney and Block act like slide-on cases are some kind of God-given right that Apple’s denying us by ruthlessly crushing the poor mom-and-pop smartphone-case manufacturers of this great nation, driving up unemployment and, somehow, the Federal budget deficit.

Why, the Macalope wonders, does Kahney wait until paragraph 18 to point out:

The Glassgate issue may even not be a real problem.

What?! Leander, it has to be a real problem. It’s got “-gate” at the end. The very name implies scandal. Please, pull the Macalope’s other antler. Or maybe his finger.

Tim Hickman, an iPod/iPhone accessory veteran and CEO of Hard Candy Cases, said there is no issue with trapped dirt — Glassgate is a perception problem, not a real problem.

Finally someone willing to put their name in print. You know, with any other company they’d be lauded for being careful. But because it’s Apple we have weeks of scandal-mongering.

There is certainly some real evidence that the iPhone 4 is more fragile than its competitors. It’s glass! It seems like it should be, right?

But it’s worth noting that the same results also show it’s more reliable than the competitors, too. And we already know it’s better looking and more fun to use.

So, the next time someone says “Antennagate” or “Glassgate” to you, ask them about “Better Lookinggate” and “More Fun To Usegate.”

And then bark like a dog.

Because it’s fun to freak annoying people out.

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