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It’s been almost a year since Steve Jobs left Apple, and while the company hasn’t fallen apart yet, it’s not for a lack of technology pundits speculating that it’ll happen any day now.

Time’s Sam Gustin is the latest to ask “Is Apple Losing Its Shine After Steve Jobs?”

Paging Mr. Betteridge. Mr. Ian Betteridge, please call your office.

If last week’s technology earnings bloodbath gave you pause, consider this…

Technology earnings bloodbath? The examples Gustin cites are Facebook, Zynga, and …

(Wait for it …)

… Apple.

“Bloodbath.” The company only beat its guidance by like a billion dollars. Total fail.

We’re halfway through the first sentence and already the dumb in this piece is causing the Macalope’s brain to leak out of his ears.

What happens if Apple, the world’s most valuable technology company, falters?

Armageddon? Or worse, the movie Armageddon? OH, GOD, WHAT IF IT’S THE MOVIE?!

As the one-year anniversary approaches of the death of Steve Jobs, the visionary and revered executive behind Apple’s most beloved products, tough questions could bubble up about Apple’s future, especially if we see a few more quarters of disappointing earnings results…

Just a reminder: What Gustin is talking about here is the fact that Wall Street analysts overestimated what Apple would make in the quarter. The company’s profit was up 20.5 percent.

Last week, Apple delivered a rare earnings disappointment.

He’s called it disappointing twice now, but hasn’t actually said what happened. Informative!

Apple reported sales of $35 billion, below Wall Street expectations of $37 billion, and said it sold 26 million iPhones, down from 35.1 million in the previous quarter but 28% higher than last year. That result was underwhelming for a company that normally blows away Wall Street expectations.

Wall Street analysts’ guesses were off in the opposite direction this quarter. Apple doomed.

Apple has a winning product with the iPad tablet, but that device faces increased competition, most notably from newly introduced Google and Microsoft devices.

Objection. “Increased competition” assumes facts not in evidence. Also, in the case of Microsoft, products not in evidence.

What if Steve Jobs already introduced the overwhelming balance of Apple’s breakthrough products?

The thinking here is apparently that while Steve Jobs was brilliant, he was not brilliant enough to leave some notes about what to do next or hire executives who were smart enough to continue along without him. Why someone would think that is beyond this pointy commentator, but there it is.

This week, the Associated Press published a story with a truly eye-opening headline: “IPhone appeal dims as Samsung shines.” IPhone appeal dims? That’s not exactly the impression given by the company’s report nor its executives.

Or reality! If iPhone sales growth is slowing, it’s probably because Apple has all but completed carrier penetration in the U.S. and has yet to fully emerge in China and India. If the company can make a prepaid iPhone 3GS available for those markets, we might see growth jump back up to phenomenal instead of simply amazing.

Remember: Last time Jobs left the company, it nearly collapsed.

More than twenty years ago.

But as much as I respect him, Tim Cook is not Steve Jobs. Whereas Jobs was iconoclastic and mercurial…

All of these comparisons immediately devolve into a bunch of psychobabble that the authors are consistently unqualified to give.

By asking about Apple’s post-Jobs future, I’m not trying to troll a company I respect deeply.

You may not be trying to, but the effect is still pretty much the same.

[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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