The Macalope Daily: Bad impression


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Does it ever strike you as odd that the Macalope can find fresh meat to tear his antlers into every day? How is it that pretty much every day of the week there is someone who is eager to step up (down?) and write something stupid about Apple? And how do these people think it reflects on them?

The Macalope doesn’t have an answer, and he’s not sure he wants to look a gift horse in the mouth. After all, it’s job security.

Which brings us to hedge fund manager Doug Kass, who is here to tell us about “Apple’s Cycle of Abuse.”

The real abuse, Doug, is reading your Apple “analysis.”

Kass’s first order of business is to try to throw Woz in Apple’s face. Woz has, once again, said things that are not very favorable to Apple. Anyone surprised by that should review his comments of the last 15 years and marvel that anyone takes pause in them as Apple continued its march to unprecedented success.

The Macalope has said it before and he’ll say it again: It’s interesting how the people most interested in Woz’s comments are the ones trying to bash Apple over the head with them.

Woz’s criticism, which Kass quotes, is over the screen size of the iPhone 5.

I wish they had made a small and a large version of the iPhone; that would have been great for me.

The iPhone 5 is literally smaller than the iPhone 4 and 4S. Do the math. Only the screen is larger. Now, maybe he wants a 3.5-inch screen iPhone 5 that would be even smaller, but Apple’s strategy is to make one current generation of the iPhone. And, oh, hey, look, it’s worked pretty well. But Woz wants a pony.


Arrogance has been the subject of some of my criticism recently on Apple. (It is also often the downfall of many companies.)

Really. Arrogance. And here the Macalope thought it was things like sales, revenues, and profit. Who knew that business analysis was really more about psychology than fundamentals?

Reminder: This man manages a hedge fund.

So, Kass’s conclusion is that it’s arrogance that drives Apple’s decision to add features on its own terms, when they make sense, instead of jamming them into phones just to check them off on a list. Don’t wait for battery life to catch up to screen sizes, just stop shipping Retina displays or make a giant honking phone!

Ohhh, you mean there’s a trade-off and this isn’t a free, all-you-can-eat candy store?

Also, if you believe the current Apple form factor is the best answer and Apple won’t or can’t do a larger-screen device (and will stick to one phone at a time for cost reasons), what is the next iPhone going to have that will really matter and get customers excited to buy it and help the company gain additional share?

Is gaining share Apple’s goal? Seems like its goal is to make a crapload of money.

Is the bulk of the innovation done? And, yes, I know it’s easy to say that Apple always thinks of something new, but the reality is that the last few iterations of iPhone have been evolutionary and not revolutionary—and, arguably, they now lag the market.

You could always argue they lagged behind the market. People have been doing that for five years. The first iPhone only had EDGE! It didn’t have a replaceable battery! Total deal killer!

It’s astounding how some analysts will simply cling to this checkbox mentality no matter how many times we point out that Apple doesn’t operate that way. And the company doesn’t seem any worse for not trying to get into a stupid arms race.

Another issue I would raise is how unfriendly Apple’s suppliers have been to their employees.

Of course you would. After all, trying to throw everything against the wall to see what sticks is your shtick.

Suppose a Wal-Mart supplier was accused of these conditions.

Suppose the company that locked its own workers into stores overnight was accused of having suppliers that mistreated employees? Gosh, what would the ramifications be?!

In my opinion, Apple is hypocritical—the company is every bit the abusive monopolist that it once accused Microsoft MSFT of being…

That link is to James B. Stewart’s hi-larious piece warning that Mapgate could raise antitrust concerns, a piece Glenn Fleishman deftly disassembled when it was published.

Hang on, though. Kass isn’t done with his ridiculous rant. Turns out you’re part of the problem, too.

And Apple’s customers are also hypocritical by continuing to buy Apple’s products and thereby supporting this abusive behavior.

Right. We should totally be buying stuff from companies that aren’t so arrogant as to ship phones with 4-inch screens in a 16:9 aspect ratio and whose suppliers are all located in the worker’s paradise known as Magical Fairy Candycaneland.

This is simply not a logical argument. Stupid, deranged and/or pushing an ulterior motive, the Macalope does not know, but whatever the case, it doesn’t make a great advertisement for investing in Kass’s hedge fund.

[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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