The Macalope Daily: An IOU for the future

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What’s the difference between an iPad and an 11-inch MacBook Air?

Once again, that’s Billy, the Macalope’s rhetorical question construct and intern. Billy brings the Macalope coffee, water, and sweet, leafy alfalfa to keep him going as he wades through the cesspool that oozes from the anti-Apple punditry.

Thanks, Billy.

Anyway, back to the question. There are a number of differences between an iPad and a MacBook Air, but the primary ones are: a keyboard versus a touch screen, the persistence of the operating system, and how much of that OS is exposed to the user.

You’d have to be crazy to think that Apple hasn’t considered how those things might eventually come together. Or you’d have to be Zach Epstein.

Apple will never launch a touch-enabled device with a desktop-grade OS. Or a smartphone.

No touch-enabled device at all? Ever? OK. Well, the Macalope thinks there may be a reason they inverted scrolling in Lion, other than just to give people something to complain about. But what does he know? 

The difference between Apple and Microsoft is that Apple doesn’t run around blabbing, making wild promises it may regret. Like the Macalope said, Microsoft has set the bar, perhaps unintentionally. Windows 8 will supposedly bring the mighty future Zach Epstein is talking about when it ships, which is widely expected to be in a year but could be as early as April 2012. This seems like kind of a dangerous game for Microsoft after Vista, but when the company has so many who are so willing to forget recent history, why not max out that credit card?

Despite the tenor of his article, Epstein said on Twitter that he didn’t expect Apple to sit still—yet he still credits Microsoft with making the future. When, really, the company showed an early demo of what might be the future, assuming it ships on time and actually all works.

That strikes the Macalope as a little irresponsible. People rely on those who attend conferences like BUILD to use at least a modicum of objectivity in reporting, but Boy Genius Report, Wired, and a host of others decided that the story was “Microsoft leapfrogs Apple to the future” and rushed off to the pay phones to file their stories.

So, surely this pushback is just sour grapes from a bunch of people who are enjoying actual tablets actually now.

The way the Macalope sees it there are three ways this can end:

1) Microsoft, in a Herculean effort of coding, makes Windows 8 something more than just Windows 7 with the Metro interface bolted on and it ships a year from now on devices that are well-designed and easy to use and if you think it was easy to type that without laughing you are very much mistaken. 2) Microsoft ships Windows 7 with the Metro interface bolted to the top of it on a misbegotten mishmash of confusing hardware and outright iPad clones. 3) Microsoft delays.

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes gets the many obvious obstacles here; it’s a wonder more Microsoft boosters seem so willing to oh, man, this would be a good place for a Kool-Aid reference but the Macalope respects himself too much.

Meanwhile, while these antics are going on, what do you think Apple’s doing?

Thanks again, Billy.

[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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