The Macalope Daily: Byte me

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Younger readers probably don’t remember Byte magazine but the Macalope, being timeless, does. Well, now it’s back, apparently, and one of its first shots is across the bow of Apple. Because nothing kicks off a debut like link-baiting Apple fans!

Demetrius Mandzych’s piece titled “A Sobering Look At Apple” makes a very serious point that’s never been made before: Apple customers is dumb.

In all honesty, I don’t know why people buy products from Apple.

Well, gosh, then you’re the perfect person to write about Apple! Please, go on! The Macalope has no reason to expect that this won’t be a fair and even-handed piece.

Apparently, you see, Apple products are all busted and the company has only managed to sell so many of them because it has “fooled its customers”.

I submit to you: Antennagate. …

Coined by Apple CEO Steve Jobs…

Wrong. The Macalope isn’t going to bother to try to figure out who first used the term but he can categorically state that it wasn’t Steve Jobs because Steve Jobs is not an idiot.

The word diverted people from what was a real problem.

Wait, comparing a situational antenna attenuation problem to the largest U.S. political scandal of the last 100 years is some kind of sleight of hand on Apple’s part to distract people from the situational antenna attenuation problem?! What kind of crazy Jedi mind trick is that?! Adding the -gate suffix is implying the situation is a scandal. Does Mandzych seriously not know this?

After this nonsense, Apple announced a program to remedy the problem by giving their “bumper” cases to those customers affected by the antenna problem. Interestingly enough, this was the first time that Apple had produced its own case for the product. It suddenly appeared.

The fact that it’s made of glass probably had nothing to do with it. Oh, sorry, that’s an additional -gate that Mandzych also wants to rehash. Is Byte going to go through all of the supposed scandals they missed while on hiatus? It’s certainly easier than trying to think up new things to write about.

Ask yourself. If Apple knew, why didn’t it change the design from the get-go? Beyond the fact that it is another means to make a profit off of case sales, the root of this problem—as well as the problem with the company as a whole—is it values form over function.

Wow! We’ve never heard that before!

In about three years Mandzych will come up with the brilliant idea that the smartphone wars between the iPhone and Android are just like the PC wars between Apple and Microsoft!

The Macalope knows that some people have a problem with the iPhone 4, but the fact of the matter remains that a) they are in the minority and b) any number of phones from other manufacturers have the exact same problem. We went through this dance all last summer and almost everyone decided it was much ado about nothing. Now Byte wants to do the time warp again.

Now consider the issue of cameras. Apple wants you to forget, but try to remember.

Try to remember, you stupid useless-Apple-product-using saps.

The first iPad lacked a camera of any sort. People accepted this and even rationalized it by saying no one would [sic] a tablet camera and so on.

The Macalope’s wracking his be-horned head but he’s having a hard time recalling the other $500 tablet for sale at the time that ran a tried and tested operating system, had a breadth of applications, and also had a camera. Mandzych seems to think people who bought the original iPad would have been better off sitting at home and staring at a blank wall while waiting for some magically perfect tablet to appear. What does he recommend people buy? A TouchPad? A PlayBook? A Xoom? Oh, he doesn’t recommend anything, because those are all flawed devices—but we’ve just come to expect them from companies like HP, RIM and Motorola.

Of course, the cameras in the iPad 2 aren’t good enough, either.

Fact is, the quality of the still image from the rear camera is less than a megapixel at 0.7MP, while the FFC is VGA (640x480) for both video and still shots. For a premium product launched in 2011, this is simply unacceptable.

Unacceptable. Compared. To. What? A better camera on a buggy piece of junk with lousy batter life and no apps? Who are these people who think they can declare that Apple doesn’t have to compete with other manufacturers, it has to compete with their personal fantasies of what the product should be?

Consumers need a wakeup call.

Byte needs to hit the snooze alarm.

Like a spoiled child, Apple will do exactly what you let it get away with. Vote with your dollars.

Mandzych doesn’t say where customers should spend their money instead. Probably because finding a cell phone or tablet that isn’t open to other more glaring criticisms is impossible. Being a pundit is easy if you just harangue people who like stuff and don’t feel the need to provide alternatives!

People don’t buy the iPhone 4 and the iPad because they’re perfect. They buy them because they’re better than the alternatives. It’s like Mandzych has no idea how a market economy works.

The Macalope remembers the old Byte, and the one thing he liked about it was that it was platform-agnostic. If we’re to judge by Mandzych’s post, the new Byte is apparently platform-antagonistic, at least where Apple is concerned. Way to appeal to today’s technology consumer. Good luck with that comeback.

[Editors’ Note: 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.]

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