The Macalope Weekly: Schools of thought

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As the Macalope slogs his way through the morass of lousy coverage of Apple, he has been able to categorize the schools of so-called “thought” (air quotes) he has encountered. Journey now with him through the twisting and turning paths of logic employed by those who voice their “concerns” about Apple.


There is a school of thought that says “When the facts don’t support your argument, say it anyway with jelly on top!” Hence, the Macalope has a new maxim:

Apple’s profit and revenue rise in direct proportion to the number of pieces written about how the company is crumbling before our eyes.

The horny one’s not even talking about those who use the Law of Large Numbers theory to argue that it has to fall eventually.

No, he’s more talking about those promulgating the idea that, while Apple’s obviously not melting down in any kind of tangible sense—which is kind of obvious—it is still melting down in the kind of way that only those with a sixth sense can see. Oh, by the numbers, the company is fine. But if you tilt it just right and look at it at this angle, you’ll see a frowny face. You don’t see it? Well, you don’t have the special eye that these pundits have.

Plus, let’s face it, you’re an Apple fanboi.

We probably shouldn’t expect much from Venture Beat. Ouija board reading, like what Jolie O’Dell foisted on us last week, is probably considered complex analysis over there. But you’d think that the Atlantic Wire would lean more on actual analysis than throwing bones.

Since Steve Jobs passed away, we’ve seen the release of two Apple products without any design innovations from a company that won gadgets users over with its well-designed products. Could this be the beginning of a TK trend?

The Macalope’s not sure what a “TK trend” is but it sounds bad. Acronym Finder lists some disturbing possibilities such as “Team Kill,” “Toby Keith,” and “True Klingon.” Apple employees walking around dressed in Klingon cosplay garb and singing country music would certainly kill a team.

Read more…

The Atlantic Wire’s Rebecca Greenfield has apparently never heard of product life cycles before. Or getting the most out of product designs that are selling faster than you can make them.

Now, people have been predicting sudden death for Apple for years. But, in the predictions of yore, this death was always at the hands of one of its competitors. Now that it’s pretty obvious that Apple’s the gorilla with a thyroid problem, we’re told the company’s doom will come from inside. Either from a supposed brain drain or loss of creativity after Steve Jobs’s death or maybe just from that thyroid and the resulting obesity.

As the Macalope’s said, this isn’t analysis. It’s astrology. And it should be treated with the same level of respect.

Just say no

The new iPad is here! There’s just one thing you need to remember:


That’s right, while some sites may enable you in this reckless behavior, others are warning you against continuing a spiral of addiction to devices that look and work great and are available today at reasonable prices. The Macalope has identified no less than three separate schools of thought that advise against running out and slapping down your wallet at the nearest purveyor of fine tablets.

The first: “Whoa! Slow down, cowboy! Where’s the iPad fire?”

Yes, CNet’s Kent German advocates a “cooling off period” until Microsoft can catch up.

“Windows 8 and why to wait on the new iPad”

Sure, you’d forego all the utility and enjoyment that you’d get out of having a functioning iPad in your hands between now and whenever Windows 8 tablets that don’t suck start shipping. But were you aware that your iPad purchase is completely irreversible and may send you into a dangerous iPad lifestyle that will affect you and everyone you love? Please read this informative pamphlet and get help now.

The second school of thought: “iPads just suck!”

ZDNet’s David Gewirtz helpfully provides “16 reasons NOT to buy a new iPad (including 7 that haven’t changed from earlier iPads)” (tip o’ the antlers to LeTap), a delightful piece of passive-aggressive link-baiting spread over not one, not two, but three pages.

Some drawbacks of the iPad, in David’s opinion, are the fact that Apple won’t allow porn apps on the App Store and the 4-by-3 aspect ratio, which he calls “anachronistic.” David must be using an an unusual definition of the word, though, as given that Apple sells more iPads than all other tablets combined you can safely say its features are “in style.”

Our final school of thought on this important topic: “Why buy an iPad when you can settle for less?”

Now, for the record, the Macalope had not seen Don Reisinger’s top 10 list of “iPad Alternatives: Other Tablets to Consider” when he started writing this piece. Nevertheless, he knew it existed. To quote Mr. Spock, “If I let go of a hammer on a planet that has a positive gravity, I need not see it fall to know that it has in fact fallen.”

So many folks are looking to buy the tablet, in fact, that the new iPad is already sold out before it even hits store shelves. … Perhaps then, consumers who weren’t lucky enough to preorder the new iPad need to consider their options. Sure, they can wait for Apple’s new iPad, but if they really need a solid tablet now, they don’t have to put their plans on hold. There are a host of high-quality tablets on store shelves right now that will make any would-be tablet owner happy.

The list includes the iPad 2 and the usual collection of Android also-rans and BlackBerry never-rans. It also has one device the Macalope hadn’t seen before, the Le Pan, which he assumes is French for the reviews it got. Don highly recommends you check that one out.

So, before you rush out and buy a new iPad, please call our hotline at 1-800-NOT-IPAD and speak to Kent, David, Don or any of our trained crisis counselors, won’t you?

Saturday Special: Fixing what isn’t broken

Our final school of thought posits that as long as you don’t understand Apple’s way of doing business you can still write supposedly worried pieces about how the company is headed for trouble.

At the Motley Fool, Subhadeep Ghose wonders “Will Apple Need to Re-invent the Phone All Over Again?”

Apple is certainly a stock worth fighting for, but consider this: The hugely anticipated iPhone 5 might just have features which already exist in a present-day high-end Android smartphone. Is it time for Cupertino to get back to the drawing board once again?

This is both wrong and right, which is only unusual among Motley Fool’s Apple coverage for being partly right.

First of all, which features are we talking about? Because the Macalope will predict that Apple will always prefer jamming knitting needles up its nose to shipping a phone with a “3D” screen or a stylus. But more to the point, Apple does not compete on features. It competes on user experience. And it has a user experience substantially better than any of the competition. (Sweeping generalization, Ping and Game Center not included, void where prohibited).

Second, though, Apple may eventually need to “re-reinvent” the phone. We’ve seen this plenty of times before, from the iPod to iMovie. The thing is, that’s one of the company’s great strengths: murdering its own darlings. So, the Macalope’s not really concerned about this issue. That Ghose doesn’t see this is probably indicative of Wall Street’s understanding of the company.

Besides, the fact that the company is still selling iPhones in numbers so large that it starts to give you a Carl Sagan-like sense of the boundless infinity of the universe should be a tip that Apple’s design is still OK.

(Final disclosure: the Macalope no longer holds any shares of Apple. He’s holding a new iPad instead.)

(Also, big tip o’ the antlers to @evilneuro who made the Pundit-Matic™ 3000 based on the Macalope’s Mad Libs punditry in last Saturday’s column! It’s uncannily accurate!)

[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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