The Macalope Weekly: Round 2

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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.]

Like the Macalope said last week, don’t leave your seats yet, this fight’s just getting started. The Verizon iPhone’s on the way and analysts are drooling at the potential number of iPhone sales it could mean. (Is that weird? Who drools at numbers? That seems weird.) Then, the Macalope provides some unusual praise and we’ll close this week wondering if silly pundits will ever learn. (Short answer: “no”.)

The game’s afoot

Tracking iPhone sales isn’t like tracking sales of other Apple products. Because of the vagaries of the cell phone business with the carriers’ different coverage areas and charming two-year periods of indentured servitude, adding Verizon is almost like entering a new market. In this case a market about the size of the Philippines.

Something like 65 percent of AT&T’s smartphone activations in the 3rd quarter of 2010 were iPhones. If the much-vaunted choice that Android offers is such an iPhone killer, how can the iPhone own so much of the AT&T market? OK, there’s probably some percentage of people who are in the market simply because they had to have an iPhone because, well, they have taste. But, still, the Macalope’s been to the malls of this great nation and he knows that there aren’t as many people concerned about good taste as there should be.

Horace Dediu calculates that AT&T has 15 iPhone users to every Android user. How can that be? AT&T sells Android phones and the Macalope distinctly remembers reading that “Android roolz while iPhone droolz.”

Whatever the case, 2011 should be interesting. The Macalope’s investing heavily in Swanson’s, makers of frozen crow dinners.

What’s in a name?

The Macalope sat down with his old friend the Winotaur this week to provide him some unexpected praise.

Macalope: Hey, the Macalope wanted to thank you. Your team did a good thing this week.

Winotaur: No need. It’s the least I could do…. What are we talking about?

Macalope: Oh, this “App Store” thing. Apple’s trying to trademark “App Store” and Microsoft’s opposing it.

Winotaur: Oh, that. Yeah, like you guys invented the App Store. We had one first!

Macalope: Oh, totally. See, while the Macalope understands why it’s in Apple’s business interest to try to trademark “App Store,” he thinks it’s kind of ridiculous. So, good for you guys.

Winotaur: Hey, that’s just doing the right thing, baby.

Macalope: Yeaaah. And you guys would never file a jacktastic trademark claim.

Winotaur: What was that?!

Macalope: What?

Winotaur: What was that sarcastic link to?

Macalope: What? You can’t see the links!

Winotaur: Oh, I don’t have to see them. I can hear them. You have a tell in your voice. It’s like an an audible HTML tag.

Macalope: Oh, fine. Windows. Dude, you guys trademarked Windows.

Winotaur: Ha-ha! Yeah. We did do that. Good times. We did whatever we wanted to back then. Those were better days, you know?

Macalope: Sure. You seem a little too attached to Windows now, though.

Winotaur: What do you mean?

Macalope: Outside the sweaty, dancing software company CEO demographic, no one wants a Windows tablet. And what’s with just slapping “Windows” on your phone? It’s not even the same OS.

Winotaur: It’s called “leveraging your brand,” girlfriend.

Macalope: Leveraging it right into a ditch. Here’s another phrase you should consider instead: “murder your darlings.”

Winotaur: I have no idea what that means.

Macalope: That’s pretty apparent.

Why it’s still in beta

Over at Betanews last Saturday, Joe Wilcox took on Jim Dalrymple’s assertion that Apple let Verizon handle the iPhone announcement to manage down expectations of new hardware. According to Joe, Verizon handled the announcement because it wears the pants in the relationship.

Dalrymple has reported about Apple for more than 15 years, and he is remarkably astute in his observations and he is careful about story sourcing.

Joe, on the other hand, seems not to be able to open his mouth without bass-ackwards statements about Apple flying out of it like angry bees of wrongness.

But for once—in the rarest of instances—Apple Kool-aid poisoned his judgement.

The Macalope knows Dalrymple, too, Joe. Well enough to know that he doesn’t drink Kool-Aid. He drinks Heineken. The Macalope questioned Dalrymple’s analysis once and he’ll think long and hard about doing it again.

Wilcox throws up a bewildering array of numbers meant to show that Apple needs Verizon more than Verizon needs Apple… provided the sole metric Apple’s interested in is market share. Oddly, the company remains more focused on profitability. Weird!

Apple CEO Steve Jobs is worshipped by many people.

No, he isn’t. He’s respected. Admired. Even idolized. But he is not worshipped.

He’s a cult leader…

We’ve gotten to the point where people are so used to lazily typing up hackneyed religious similes when talking about Apple that they’re not capable of hearing how ridiculous they sound anymore. If your medieval barber has, for some reason, advised you to purge yourself of ill bodily humours by typing up tired Apple memes, please use “Steve Jobs is like a cult leader.” not “Steve Jobs is a cult leader.” But please, for the sake of the rest of us, ask your medieval barber first if leeches and blood-letting might be right for you.

Verizon knows perhaps even more about influencing through execution.

Seriously? Verizon knows more than Apple about execution. Well, OK, that’s debatable, but at least it’s not a gag-inducing religious reference.

If Joe’s argument was dubious on Saturday it was downright laughable by Tuesday. If the trend continues, it’ll be side-splitting by Monday and should become so funny as to reach weaponized form by the end of the month.

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