The Macalope Weekly: Serial jerkery

Today's Best Tech Deals

Picked by Macworld's Editors

Top Deals On Great Products

Picked by Techconnect's Editors

After a “hands across the Apple world” edition last week the Macalope promised he’d get back to punching jerks this week and he’s a mythical beast of his word. First some silly punditry from Mashable gets the horns and then Gizmodo sinks to, well, not a new low but their frequently-visited low watermark at any rate. And, finally, let’s make a pact to make this the last we speak of Mike Daisey. Pinky swear.

Reasonable expectations

When we last heard from Mashable editor in chief Lance Ulanoff, he was chastising Apple for not wasting its money on a Super Bowl ad. What’s he up to now? Why, being incredibly wrong about what Tim Cook might chat about with Walt Mossberg at the All Things D conference on Tuesday.

The day before the conference, Ulanoff published his list of “7 Things Tim Cook Might Say at D10” (tip o’ the antlers to Shawn King).

Not surprisingly, what Ulanoff had actually written was a list of seven things Tim Cook would never say in a million years.

Will he signal a shocking new direction for the company?


Maybe he’ll show off that new stylus the company just tried to patent.

Sure. Right after he shows a new build of Copland.

The possibilities are endless.

No, they aren’t! Ulanoff’s zero for three, and we haven’t even gotten to his list yet. That’s a feat the Macalope’s not sure he’s seen before, and he’s seen a lot of lousy list-based punditry.

One gets the impression that Ulanoff has never watched an Apple executive appear at an event before. Which is not a good basis from which to make predictions about what an Apple executive appearing at an event might say. Other companies’ executives use industry conferences to announce things, but Apple executives don’t. They don’t have to or want to. When the company is ready to announce something, it throws its own event and has the press attend. It’s one of the benefits of being Apple.

1) “I give you the iPhone 5″

This was never a possibility, unless it was to be followed shortly thereafter by the word “Psych!”

This is the dream of not only every single Apple fanatic…

No, actually, it’s not. It’s their nightmare! Why? Because it would mean that Tim Cook has gone completely insane.

On the other hand, Apple is not in the habit of introducing major products at non-Apple events…

If you mean it has never introduced major products at non-Apple events since leg warmers were in style then, yes, it is not in the habit of doing that.

2) “Under that fabric is the new Apple iTV”

“Psych! Oh, man, I can’t believe you fell for it again!”

3) This is Apple 2.0

“And this is a monkey in a fez smoking a cigarette. The monkey is now in charge of Apple. And he has a penchant for white papers and Lotus Notes.”

4) We’re pleased to introduce iTunes with Facebook integration.

This isn’t necessarily a bad idea and the company may actually cozy up with Facebook but, again, what part of “Apple does not make announcements at other people’s events” does Ulanoff not understand?

5) This is the iPad Mini, and it’s amazing

“And this is mescaline. It is also amazing. And I did a mess of it before coming on stage.”

Surprisingly, “iCar” was not on Ulanoff’s list. Reading these other items, the Macalope is really not sure why; Ulanoff seems to be just throwing up every current Apple unicorn onto the page. Probably this was just an oversight.

6) Our fight is not with Samsung and HTC, it’s with Google

Have you seen some of the Samsung phones? The Macalope assures you, Lance, their fight is with all three of them.

7) Thanks for having me, Walt.

Cook could end up talking about Apple in ultra-broad strokes and leave nothing on the table for reporters except scraps. This is also unlikely.

The most likely thing on Ulanoff’s list, the thing that actually happened, is what he lists as “unlikely.” You missed the easy out, Lance! Next time just leave off the "unlikely" part and you're gold.

Well, not gold, exactly. Not really copper. Magnesium?

No, wait. zirconium. You'd be zirconium.


The Macalope’s brilliant and nimble readers know he doesn’t link to Gizmodo. Why? Any number of reasons, but now you can add to the list the site’s poor taste in posting a picture of a zombie Steve Jobs’s hand coming out of a grave, as well as the impropriety of clumsily putting words in the late Apple CEO’s mouth.

Yes, Gizmodo’s Jesus Diaz has the temerity to bring us “10 Changes That Must Have Steve Jobs Rolling In His Grave.”


Hey, Jesus, you know one of the things he really hated when he was alive? People buying property stolen from his employees. But, please, by all means, bottom feeders, tell us all about how far Apple has strayed from the path in the nine months since Jobs stepped down as CEO.

1. Siri

… Had he known its problems, it’s hard to imagine that he would have approved its release in a final product.

Because Apple never, ever shipped a flawed product in the history of the company under Steve Jobs.

You know, when Jobs died, we were treated to a whole collection of yahoos complaining about how Apple fans were whitewashing Jobs’s history when we were really just accentuating the positive. Little did we know it would be the Apple bashers who’d go to greater extremes to whitewash Jobs’s history—in order to continue bashing the company.

2. 16:9 4-inch iPhone screen

First of all, where is this 16:9 4-inch iPhone of which you speak? Second, other things Jobs expressed his distaste for include television and shipping iTunes for Windows. Just because he said he didn’t like something doesn’t mean he wouldn’t change his mind or that he wasn’t just wrong.

3. Supply execs and managers in engineering meetings

This gets to another aspect of this list. Who cares if Jobs wouldn’t have liked it? He’s not running the company from beyond the grave, no matter how many stock photos you oh-so-amusingly slap Apple logos on. The veiled implication is that this will mean Apple will start pumping out crappy products. Call us when that happens.

(Note: not an actual invitation to “call us.” Ever.)

4. Negotiating with Google-puppet Samsung

Let’s forget the fact that these talks come because a federal judge ordered the two companies to sit down together.

5. That [terrible] Apple TV user interface

Like No. 4, Diaz links to another Gizmodo piece that completely takes the air out of his point. In this case the engineer who claims Jobs didn’t like the new Apple TV interface explains why it still makes sense for the company to use it.

That’s not as useful when constructing what “ZOMBIE STEVE JOBS SMASH!”, though.

6. Making products with worse specs

Apparently the new iPad is somehow worse than the iPad 2. Who knew? Certainly not all the people buying them.

Ugh, look, even an ungulate can’t bear the stomach-churning this list inflicts. So let’s just whiz by charities, dividends, Foxconn leaks, and go straight to No. 10.

10. User interface details

This skeuomorphism thing is getting out of control. And there are a thousand little details that Apple is now [fouling] up in their user interfaces. Something that Jobs would have never allowed, with his obsessive attention to detail.

Oh, totally. Except for the fact that, according to people who actually know people at Apple—instead of just ticking them off—Jobs was apparently the one who liked the leather look of Find My Friends. But, yes, other than being the actual proponent of what you’re talking about, he would never have allowed it.

This is certainly a great list, Jesus. Other than the items that are exactly backward, misrepresent the issue, whitewash Jobs’s history, or are based on devices the company does not actually ship, we are left with …

Well, the title, which is merely offensive, and some of the punctuation. Good job! That’s actually an improvement for Gizmodo, isn’t it?

Saturday Special: Unforgiven

Oh, Mike Daisey. Can you really not quit us? Is there no other topic you can focus on, devote your time to, exaggerate and then lie about and have to be shamed yet again?

Really, nothing else we can get you outraged about? Voting rights? Unemployment? The continued popularity of Glee?

Here’s what has a bee in Mike’s bonnet of lies now (no link because, seriously, but tip o’ the antlers to Jim Miles). At this week's AllThingsD conference, Kara Swisher asked Tim Cook why Apple doesn’t have its own factories in China, noting that the company has “many critics, not just fictional ones,” in reference to Daisey.

That’s it. This is apparently enough for Daisey to launch into an expletive-ridden “open letter” (barf) in which he accuses Swisher of failing her journalistic duty by not asking Cook tougher questions.

And, let’s face it, Daisey’s right about that. The AllThingsD conference is mostly a softball-fest. The hosts pull their punches in order to get big-names to attend. Look what happens when someone asks a question that’s too hard.

Unfortunately, too bad, because Swisher’s right, too.

Calling you “fictional,” Mike, despite the poor word choice, is actually doing you a favor.

The thing is, it doesn’t matter if you weren’t a journalist as you caps-lock scream at Swisher. You lied to people. And, while it obviously happens in politics and entertainment and personal lives all the time, people shouldn’t get to lie about something and then continue to be taken seriously about it.

And it’s too bad you did, because you hurt your cause by doing so. And the job isn’t done.

I don’t call myself a journalist—I never did. And I have paid the price for where I’ve gone wrong.

Have you? If you have then why are still showing your face around here?

[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.]

Note: When you purchase something after clicking links in our articles, we may earn a small commission. Read our affiliate link policy for more details.
Shop Tech Products at Amazon