The Macalope Weekly: Trying too hard

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The Macalope’s not sure why it is that some tech writers and analysts feel that they have to try so hard for Apple’s competitors. Like comparing shipping Apple products to competing vaporware. Who does that? Well, this one guy we’ll look at. Oh, and trying to spin an online “poll” as somehow indicative of anything other than your particular biases and desires to enflame Apple fans? Blogger, just don’t. And, finally, who brings a Lumia to an iPhone fight?

Horses versus unicorns: Which should you buy?

If it’s wrong to pick low-hanging fruit, then why did the Gods make it taste so sweet?

Chances are you’d never heard of this site, Trusted Reviews, before—the Macalope hadn’t—but when someone purports to be able to review a product they haven’t seen yet, well, you’d be foolish not to be reading a site with magical powers, wouldn’t you?

Yes, fiction lovers of all kinds will enjoy Ardjuna Seghers’s “iPad 3 VS Microsoft Surface Tablet” (tip o’ the antlers to Jim Miles).

From a niche sector that no-one was very interested in, tablets have evolved to become a hotter property than even the average laptop.

Where by “tablets,” you mean “iPads.”

They’re arguably the new smartphone in terms of momentum, with the most powerful X86 models able to completely replace a laptop.

Oh, totally. All those … X86-based … tablets people are using … to … replace their laptops …

Does anyone else have a splitting headache right between the antlers?

They come with Android, iOS and even Windows 7. There are 10in, 7in and 5in models. Some have keyboard docks, others pressure-sensitive styli. In short, there’s a lot of variety, but a few stand out.

Yes! Very few!

Actually, just one of them. It’s called the iPad.

Read more…

Being a 10-inch tablet, the Surface’s most obvious competitor is the iPad. But which one should you get if you’re considering a premium tab?

Uhhh, the one that’s actually shipping right now and you can go out an buy today? Would it be that one?

However many third-party keyboard accessories are available for Apple’s tablet, the company itself does not sell one in any kind, shape or form.

Right! Except for this one, which is the one the Macalope uses with his iPad. But other than that, none at all. Not a single one.

Though Microsoft hasn’t gone all-out and given its Surface tablet a true keyboard dock like the Asus Transformer Pad 300, it will offer no fewer than two different keyboard covers…

Which is like a whole other one than Apple offers! One is like practically none! But two, well, now you’re talking keyboards.

Keyboards that, to date, no one outside of Microsoft has been allowed to use and could be complete failures. But, still, two.

This, along with decent connectivity, make it a far more flexible and productivity-oriented solution than the iPad.

Unless, of course, you want to be productive today.

From the front both these tablets look very similar—but then the same can be said for 10in tablets in general. What does stand out sharply is the white Windows logo on the front of the Surface, which we feel is a nice touch.

Suggested improvement: a sticker detailing which kind of processor is inside the Surface. People love those.

On specs, Seghers does say:

This is a tough one as the Surface RT’s specifications haven’t all been confirmed.

Tough. Impossible. Those are almost synonyms, right?

This piece is so laugh-out-loud ridiculous that the Macalope is genuinely happy you did it, even if it does speak volumes about the absurd state of tech writing. Or, perhaps, because it does.

While giving the overall advantage to the iPad on software, Seghers dials in some bias from 1996:

The RT has Office, ’nuff said. Seriously though, considering the severe lack of comprehensive Office suites to rival Microsoft’s offering on both iOS and Android, we can’t see anything touching Surface with Windows RT and Office 15 Apps for those interested in productivity.

Productivity = MS Office. QED.

Sadly, Seghers doesn’t deliver an ultimate verdict:

It might be too early to call a winner…

Might be? 1400 words and two “pages” into a comparison of fact and fiction—one that stunningly neglects to mention we don’t even know how much the Surface is going to cost yet—Seghers suddenly gets cold feet. That’s just your sense of propriety, talking, Ardjuna. You gotta just write through that.

Great moments in dumb

The Macalope has several sites that he doesn’t link to because of their outstanding achievements in the field of jackassery when it comes to Apple, but TheStreet actually isn’t one of them. Well, not yet, anyway.

But while TheStreet isn’t yet on this be-antlered beast’s blacklist, the odious one-two combination we’re about to look at is such an exercise in obvious trolling that even the Macalope clicking through to it was too much reward. But documenting the atrocities is his job. What’s a mythical beast to do?

TheStreet’s Chris Ciaccia, you see, has a dire warning about the mythical iPad mini: “iPad Mini Sees Tepid Demand: Poll.”

Wow. That would certainly seem troubling and, perhaps, an indicator that an iPad mini could be a non-starter for Apple. Well, it would be, except for one thing: Chris Ciaccia does not seem to understand the definition of the words “tepid” or, more importantly, “poll.”

In a surprising result, only 43% of respondents to a poll from TheStreet said they would definitely buy an iPad Mini should Apple decide to make one.

“Only” 43 percent said they would “definitely” buy one? How many people were you expecting to say yes? 120 percent? 43 percent is astoundingly good. From a scientific study. From this study, however, it means as much as 78 percent of people saying they like to put jam in their ethernet ports because the neighbor’s dog told them it improves throughput.

See, we’re one sentence into Ciaccia’s “analysis” of TheStreet’s “poll” and already the Macalope’s antlers are tingling the way they do when he gets the sense someone’s trying to pull a fast one. Or, in this case, an incredibly slow and dumb one.

Despite the robust projections provided by [Piper Jaffray’s Gene] Munster, only 43% of the 815 people who responded to the poll said they would “buy anything Apple related.”

Now, based on that wording, you might think people were asked “Would you buy anything Apple-related?” But that’s not exactly how the question was asked. No, here are the three possible answers in the online poll—yes, a highly scientific online poll conducted of bored, bitter, and confused readers of TheStreet—Ciaccia conducted in the body of a previous article:

Yes—I’ll buy anything Apple related. No—I agree with Steve Jobs. A 7-inch tablet is “dead on arrival.” Maybe—Others are selling 7-inch tablets, but I would need to see how Apple does it.

Yes, I’ll buy anything Apple related.” In other words, you have to profess undying fealty to Cupertino in order to say you’d be interested in buying a 7-inch iPad. Even the Macalope, with a head like a Classic Mac, would have answered “Maybe” to this quiz. Assuming he had drunk himself stupid enough to visit the poll in the first place. Even the “no” answer is loaded, as it implies that you don’t think any 7-inch tablets are worthwhile. The whole thing’s wrong! The whole world’s wrong! Nothing makes any sense anymore!

Well, until you remember it’s just a ginned-up poll quoted in a link-baiting article. Then things suddenly make sense again.

Low blow

Sit down now, young ‘uns, and the Macalope will tell you a tale of long ago, when analysts, ever trying to get ahead of the curve, predicted doom for Apple.

Well, three months ago.

See, back in the day (three months ago), it was a popular belief among analysts that U.S. cellular carriers were fed up with Apple’s iron grip and were going to stick it to The Man by pushing something else instead: the Nokia Lumia.

Ha-ha! Take that, Apple! The power of marketing shall push people to buy a phone they don’t want!

Based on a big push by the carriers, with the help of Microsoft, analysts downgraded Apple. No, seriously, they did. Look, the Macalope knows April was a long time ago, but read a book, people. Because those who cannot remember the past are, uh, condemned to be analysts for BTIG.

So, it’s a whole quarter later. How badly has the Lumia juggernaut damaged Apple? Horace Dediu does that voodoo that only Horace can do, asking “How many Lumia phones were sold in the U.S.?”

If we then use comScore’s figure for total smartphone users (110 million) then the data would suggest that there are 330k Lumias in use in the US. This would have been accummulated over a sales period of about four months.



Man, that is …


Sorry, the Macalope’s going to have to walk off, after looking at the number a bit.


It’s OK. The feeling’s coming back again, it just …

So low.

The Macalope hasn’t been hit that low since he got into a barfight with those hobbits. (Seriously, little people, no one wants to hear your folksy drinking songs. Give it a rest.)

But, really, analysts: Is there nothing about Apple you can’t get wrong?

That’s a rhetorical question, by the way. We already know the answer.

[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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