The Macalope Weekly: A river in Egypt

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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.]

Is the iPad having an effect on the PC market? Shockingly, two PC vendors say “no”! For some sound analysis on the iPhone tracking issue, the Macalope turns to the least trusted name in Apple news. And last, isn’t comparing the iPad to the PlayBook and Xoom unfair? OMG, it’s so totally unfair!

If we ignore it long enough, maybe it’ll go away

Dell insists tablets having no effect on PC in enterprise

Dell, honey. Don’t.

On Monday, Dell published a study it had conducted in the hopes of steering companies away from tablets.

The Macalope’s already flagellated himself for underestimating IT departments’ willingness to adopt the iPad so he’s going to resist his knee-jerk reaction of suspecting that corporate IT managers are so thick that this strategy would actually work. Some probably are, but apparently there aren’t as many of them as there used to be. Probably they all died out when they couldn’t figure out how to use their hands to get food into their mouths.

The study is somewhat suspect as it was paid for in February by Dell and Intel, both of whom would see the most benefit from keeping the iPad and its rivals out of the workplace.

Hmm. Yes. That is suspicious.

Read more…

OK, is the iPad going to completely replace the PC? Of course not. But it most certainly is having an effect—and it’s really having an effect on netbooks. Acer in particular seems to be taking it in the shorts in this area and has also switched to full denial mode, at least publicly.

If it’s not the iPad, ladles and germs, then what is it? Apple’s selling MacBooks hand over fist. How come you can’t?

Speaking of stupid reactions to the iPad:

Microsoft won’t rule out pure tablet OS, holding off

Oh, well, take your time. No need to rush.

“We won’t do anything in the tablet market unless we can be distinctive,” he said.

Again, this is where the Macalope gives Microsoft some credit. Windows Phone 7 has plenty of problems (starting with the name), but at least it’s not just an iOS knockoff. And frankly, this approach has a better chance of helping Microsoft get its head out of its Ballmer in the tablet arena than just grafting some touch gestures onto Windows 8. Which, unfortunately, seems to be their only plan right now.

Highfield personally remained loyal to Windows and said he used a Dell Inspiron Duo as a “best of both worlds” tablet and computer mix. He quickly acknowledged that, like owners of most other tablets, he had a conventional Sony VAIO notebook for “heavy lifting.”

Oh. So, not the best of both worlds. Highfield admits it’s not a good laptop, and you can tell it’s not a good tablet just by looking at the thing.

Microsoft, you’ve been trying to cross a tablet with a laptop for years and it hasn’t worked. It’s time to try something else. Hopefully something less offensive to the eyes.


Is it irresponsible to speculate? It would be irresponsible not to.

What are we to think of this iPhone location tracking scandal?

One could take a measured approach and admit that, while iOS really should purge this data frequently, like Android does (tip o’ the antlers to Rob Wensing), this isn’t even technically news. Alex Levinson points out that Apple is not collecting the data and the file is neither hidden nor new because, well, he’s been writing about it for months.

Oh, OK, Mr. Expert! If you want to believe there aren’t little men who work for Apple living in your iPhone, reporting back to Cupertino on your every move, that’s your business. The Macalope frankly finds this “logic” and these “facts” to be rather naive and boring and as itchy as burlap underwear.

Hmm. Who can we turn to to give us a hysterical, reactionary interpretation of this situation?

Ah! Gizmodo, of course! (Tip o’ the antlers to Anne.)

Until Apple stops doing this, or explains why they are doing it, I don’t feel safe. I feel weird having all this data that I don’t want recorded on my iPhone, and so do others. Maybe they’re doing it for the government.

Yes, yes, yes! Maybe they are doing it for the government. Now we’re getting somewhere. Or… OR… maybe… stay with the Macalope here…

Maybe they’re doing it for space aliens.

Oh, sure, you scoff. Why would they be doing it for space aliens? Ha-ha! The notion is absurd! Of what interest could our location information be to space aliens?

IT security expert Jonathan James has poked around inside the iPhone location database file in question and discovered tables labeled “Harvest” and “HarvestCounts,” although their use is still unknown.

Is it, Gizmodo? Is it? Think about it. Who does “harvesting”?

What? No, not farmers.

Space aliens. Harvesting of our internal organs, which are as delicious to them as donuts are to us. Apple is clearly tracking the location of iPhone users and then transmitting that data to their giant Earth-destroying data center so the space aliens can locate iPhone users and harvest their organs. Why do they want iPhone users and not Android users, you say? Ha-ha! Please! Because iPhone users, they’ve been told, have better taste than any other smartphone user.

And space aliens, as we all know, don’t understand homonyms.


There. That seems about the right level of hysterical paranoia.

We’ll spot you 15 points

John Gruber has of late been taking to task reviewers who seem to continually bend over backward to grade the iPad’s would-be competitors on a curve.

These are the big leagues, this is The Show. They’re charging customers real money to buy these things. They should be judged by the same standards.

Indeed. For his part, Harry McCracken has shot back and said that’s not what he was doing at all, but now we have one silly pundit—eWeek’s Wayne Rash—who’s come right out and said it: the PlayBook shouldn’t be compared to the iPad. (Tip o’ the antlers to the Curious Rat and the Angry Drunk.)

…at least the Xoom has the advantage of its own set of rabid Android fanatics to hold up its end of the perceived argument. The PlayBook doesn’t have that and worse, RIM has had to deal with a set of unfortunate public statements by senior executives that serve to make the company look as if it’s out of touch.

Yeah! Poor RIM! Having to deal with the unfortunate public statement of…

Wait, what?

Does Rash know that Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis are not some sort of malicious imps sent by Loki to throw wrenches in the gears that slowly and stupidly grind out PlayBooks? Does he know they actually run the company? Because they do.

True, they don’t run it very well.

Tip to Rash, though: the reason their comments seem “unfortunate” and “out of touch” is because they talked up a product that shipped late and stinks.

But wait. Why is it that I’m comparing the PlayBook against a Virginia ham? Well, why not? It makes at least as much sense as comparing the PlayBook against an iPad…

Other than the fact that you can’t get e-mail on a ham either, this is just making excuses. They’re both tablets that are marketed to suit a variety of identical use cases for consumers and corporate customers. Use cases that a ham, however delicious, cannot satisfy.

The PlayBook is a different story. It comes with Web mail links, and RIM says that there will be an email client in a few months. But clearly the PlayBook wasn’t designed as an email device.

Clearly not. Inasmuch as it doesn’t, you know, have an e-mail client.

So for the same reason that it doesn’t make sense to compare the PlayBook against a Virginia ham, it doesn’t make sense to compare it against an iPad. They are different products intended for different purposes and different users.

No! Other than the fact that RIM is simply not competing with the iPad in the e-mail space, they are not! The iPad is eminently suitable for a variety of business tasks which is probably why it’s doing so well in the corporate market. It’s true the PlayBook, as shipped, is pretty much designed for someone who already owns a BlackBerry, but that’s hardly a winning strategy.

While I think it was probably a mistake not to include BlackBerry messaging and email clients on the PlayBook, … that was a marketing decision more than anything.

Oh, so we should ignore it?

I suspect RIM now wishes it had made some other decision, but that’s already behind us.

Yes. We should totally not let decisions made about a product’s design in the past affect our decision whether or not to buy that product in the present.

Is there any part of this article that makes any sense at all?

Don’t base that decision on whether or not it’s an iPad clone; instead, base it on whether or not the device does a better job of supporting your needs than another device might.

Right. Don’t compare it to an iPad. Just look at it and the iPad and decide which one does a better job.

But don’t compare them.

No, you’re doing it wrong.

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