The Macalope Weekly: The cure for what ails you

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Dr. Paul Thurrott has the prescription that will cure the iPad of its many ills and bad humors. You didn’t know it had any? Neither did the Macalope. Then the horny one tries to talk some sense into the Winotaur about his expectations for next year. Finally, iOS gets a shot in the arm that will help with its case of low market-share-itis. Which is non-fatal and has no ill effects but apparently has some kind of social stigma amongst silly pundits.

The doctor is in

The Macalope will submit to his supple yet physically powerful readers that there is no one better situated to prescribe a cure what what ails Apple than a Windows blogger.

Take it away, Paul Thurrott!

How Apple Can Fix The IPad In 2012

Uh... was not aware that it was broken.

Last year, I wrote about how Apple could fix the iPad in 2011. This type of thing is blasphemy to Apple’s empty-headed fanatics, who believe that everything Apple does is perfect.

Aw, it’s like a Christmas card from Paul! So sweet! And we didn’t get him anything. Again.

Curiously, however, Apple answered some of my suggestions and complaints with the release of the iPad 2 this past year.

There’s “empty-headed” and then there’s “fat-headed.”

So let’s take another look: Here’s how Apple can fix the iPad in 2012.

First, of course, we should take a look back at last year’s suggestions.

Nice setup, Cyrano.

Paul’s complaints about the iPad were the same perennial gripes about Apple products you hear from Apple detractors: They cost too much, don’t come in every possible configuration imaginable and don’t have removable media. Apple in fact only took one of Paul’s suggestions, that of adding cameras which, duh. He also said Apple “needs’ a 7-inch iPad to compete with the Kindle. Actually, the only thing Apple needs (if anything) is a cheaper iPad.

Keep bringing out those old saws, they never stop being hilarious as Apple sells more and more devices and takes more and more of the profits in each market.

OK, time to get into the dry, overheated holiday meat of Thurrott’s piece: his suggestions for how to screw up the iPad in 2012.

It's time for another iOS revolution. The iPad’s OS was a revolution in 2007, but it’s looking dated next to Windows Phone, in particular, and even compared to Android.

The Macalope admires the different tack Microsoft took with Windows Phone, but it’s not like it’s really paid off for the company. And he doesn’t really have much to say about Android’s schizophrenic UI. Somehow with a “dated” OS, the iPhone and iPad continue to sell more units than any competing devices. It’s weird!

Computer. In tandem with the previous suggestion, Apple should make iOS the basis for its standard personal computer operating system in 2011 and slowly phase out Mac OS X... ...formally making mouse/trackpad and keyboard first-class input devices, and creating a version of the Macbook Air that is basically an iPad with a clip-on keyboard + battery.

In other words, do the opposite of what Microsoft is doing—trying to shoehorn Windows onto a tablet. Because people are dying to use a mouse and Microsoft Office on a tablet. Because they hate themselves? The Macalope’s a little unclear on that part.

High resolution, high DPI.

This will probably be the one Apple actually does do.

A 7-inch version of the iPad could retain the original devices’ resolution.

Uh, right. And run iPad apps? That’d work real well. The Macalope hopes you like squinting.

Simplify the product line. ...I recommend killing off the Wi-Fi-only versions and making a single device that would work on any wireless network.

But add a 7-inch tablet to the mix. And lower the price.

Paul would also like some fudge.

Magical fudge that’s calorie-free.

While some people react in an overly emotional way to these and related suggestions...

Well, in our defense, most of these suggestions are contradictory, completely nuts, and fly in the face of how Apple’s made the iPad so successful.

...I can see a future where simpler devices like the iPad take over for more complex, traditional PCs and Macs.

Paul looks into a crystal ball to see things that are happening around him right now. He’s weird that way.

But it’s not going to happen until and unless the iPad matures into a more capable product line.

Well, there’s always room for improvement. As Paul so frequently shows.

The comeback kid

Microsoft’s staking a lot on 2012 and the Macalope caught up with our old friend the Winotaur at the local coffee shop again to talk about it.

You know, the conversation down at that Starbucks is very heady.


MACALOPE: Oh, for the love of... settle down! What is with you?

WINOTAUR: 2012, baby! 2012 is gonna be our year! I can feel it in my horns!

MACALOPE: Please... please don’t say that so loudly. Oh, god, now the parents are looking at us weird. Use your inside voice.

WINOTAUR: I’m telling you, it’s all falling into place! Did you know that if you subtract 12 from 20 you get the number of letters in “Microsoft”!?

MACALOPE: What? ... One, two, three, four... No you don’t.

WINOTAUR: Oh. Are you sure? Anyway, doesn’t matter! We’re bringing it all together in 2012! Windows Phone 7 is starting to hit its stride...

MACALOPE: Uh, wow, really? Did they turn this Starbucks into a wine bar already?

WINOTAUR: ...and the frenzy for Windows 8 is going to explode when the beta comes out in February!

MACALOPE: February, huh? You’re really sticking with that date?

WINOTAUR: Why not?

MACALOPE: Well, it just seems a little soon for a major, game-changing update like Windows 8. Isn’t there a lot to do?

WINOTAUR: I don’t think so. I think they’re pretty much just slapping Metro on Windows 7.

MACALOPE: Oh, come on. It’s more than that.

WINOTAUR: [shrugs]

MACALOPE: The funny thing is, at the same time it seems too soon for a big release, doesn't it also seems too late for a tablet OS?

WINOTAUR: What? No! Look, this might be hard for you to get through that moulded plastic head of yours, but we’re the ones thinking different.

MACALOPE: Different means late?

WINOTAUR: No, different means different. Come on. You know what I’m talking about. Metro isn’t like iOS or that other operating system that we make a mess of money off of.

MACALOPE: You know, it’s really annoying when you play dumb and then start making a good point about three quarters of the way through one of these conversations. But, yes, you know the Macalope’s, ugh, admired what you've done with Windows Phone 7.


MACALOPE: Except for the name, of course. Even “Android’ is better than that.

WINOTAUR: Which, by the way, you’re not doing us any favors by trying to kill. We make a lot of scratch off them.

MACALOPE: Yeah, it’s called triangulation. Look it up. Oh, wait, you already know what it means because it’s also what you're doing to us.

WINOTAUR: Hey, you can’t fault us for trying. Besides, how’s a girl supposed to buy herself some shoes?

MACALOPE: Really do not want to know what that’s supposed to mean. Anyway, it just seems like you’re getting your hopes really high on having such a great year. And the Macalope just wouldn't want to see you get hurt ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!

WINOTAUR: Yeah, I’m really feelin’ that.

MACALOPE: Oh, man! Just no way to say that with a straight face!

Sometimes the Macalope's really not sure why we keep meeting for coffee.

Saturday Special: Naughty and nice

Numbers from Flurry Analytics and Google caused such furious mathematical calculations this week that the slide rules of analysts burst into flames from the friction.

That’s right. The Macalope made a slide rule joke. In 2011. Actually, he had to because starting next year there’s a $50 fine for making a slide rule joke. Just got it in under the wire.

He’s really got to clean his closets out more frequently. His grandfather gave him that joke on his death bed and it had just been sitting there for years.

Anyway, Flurry claimed that 6.8 million Android and iOS devices were activated on Christmas day while Google said 3.7 million Android devices were activated on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Using these numbers, Philip Elmer-Dewitt estimates that on Christmas Day iOS activations beat Android by 1.6 million devices.


Well, on holy days, anyway. The Macalope thinks it’s somewhat amusing that while Android devices sell better throughout the year, iOS-based devices are apparently more popular as gifts.

You can probably make your own anti-Android joke about that. Possibly having something to do with crying children on Christmas morning unwrapping their Android-based iPod touch knockoffs.

The wildcard in this, however, is the Kindle Fire and the Nook. These would be tracked in Flurry’s numbers but not in Google’s because they’re not “Android”. They’re the black sheep of the Android family as far as Google’s concerned. They didn’t get invited to Christmas dinner.

The Macalope joked about crying children getting Android-based devices when they wanted iOS-based devices, but anecdotally he’s heard of two instances where people were given Kindle Fires and were going to return them and pay the difference to get iPads. This probably doesn’t mean much as the Macalope’s circle obviously tends to skew toward those who prefer Apple devices (the Winotaur notwithstanding) so he expects most people are perfectly happy with their Fires. Although, it seems unlikely that anyone would return an iPad to get a Fire. Even if they could get two-and-a-half of them.

As an aside, Two-and-a-Half Kindle Fires sounds like a horrible TV show.

[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.]

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