The Macalope Daily: Aren't incendiary titles the best?

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Ding! OK, who had “About 24 hours” in the “How long it’ll take someone to write something stupid about the WWDC keynote” pool?

Congratulations to PC Pro’s Barry Collins for writing “Is Apple planning to kill off Mac OS X?” and, either willfully or not, violating Ian Betteridge’s Law of Headlines. He did, however, prove the Macalope’s Theorem of Apple Causation, which says that if there are two possible reasons for something Apple will do—one uncontroversial and one incendiary—the chance that a writer will promote the incendiary one approaches infinity if they write for a publication with “PC” in the title.

As Gerald Ratner will testify, standing on stage and panning your own products isn’t a particularly effective sales strategy.

For those unfamiliar with Gerald Ratner (as the Macalope was), he made a speech in which he called his own company’s products “total crap”. Do you remember Jobs calling the Mac “total crap”? Neither does the Macalope. Perhaps in Britain, where Collins is, they show a special “uncut and unedited” version of the Keynote that’s too risqué for American viewers.

Yet when Steve Jobs announced last night that he was “going to demote the PC and the Mac to just be a device”, it wasn’t a million miles away from the “total crap” quip that cost Ratner his job and, very nearly, his company.

Actually, it was, unless you’re looking for phony controversy in which case, close enough for journalmalism! Collins fails to take into consideration several things here, in his rush to claim that Apple’s replacing Mac OS X with iOS. First, in the scenario Jobs was describing, the iPhone and iPad are also “just devices.” So the Mac is now an equal, not subservient. Second, this new paradigm replaces a decade old one with the computer as the hub for digital media, which people were really getting tired of. There is not a PC user on the face of the Earth that enjoys physically cabling their iPhone or iPad in order to get new media on it. Finally, notice what Jobs said. He said they were demoting the PC and the Mac. Is Apple also replacing Windows 7 with iOS?

Now, that they’d like to do.

Does Apple really want or even need full-fat Mac OS X? The evidence increasingly suggests not.

Collins’s “evidence” is that the market share of the iPhone and iPad is greater than the Mac’s ever was, which is like watching a production of Non Sequitur Theater. So what? Jobs also noted that in a declining PC market, Macs are bucking the trend and selling great.

The only part of Apple’s portfolio where iOS doesn’t make sense is in the high-end. Yet, Apple’s already discontinued its Xserve range of servers and the company barely speaks of its corporate customers these days: it’s almost exclusively fixated on the consumer market.

OK, you’re clearly just not paying attention and should stop typing right now. Check out the most recent quarterly conference call and you’ll see several references to how pleased Apple is with its progress gaining corporate customers. Yes, Apple focuses mostly on the consumer market and it’s always been coy about its efforts in the corporate market, where it’s been running more of a stealth campaign, but don’t confuse that with giving up.

Or, well, go ahead and confuse that. It’s no skin off the Macalope’s hide. It just makes you look like a dope.

Watts Martin makes exactly the point the Macalope was going to about where Collins is wrong:

I get the impression that the doomsayers crying that iOS means the death of OS X are simultaneously right and profoundly missing the point. OS X isn’t being dumbed down, it’s being radically reshaped.

Martin finds the changes in Lion more revolutionary than the changes in iOS 5 and the Macalope doesn’t disagree, but the point is that both these platforms are evolving together. It’s not an either/or, unless you’re just lobbing grenades, which is what Collins leaves us with.

Could Apple eventually phase out Mac OS X? I suspect it’s already doing so.

Totally. If by “phase out” you mean “change.”

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