The Macalope Daily: All backwards


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Prepare yourselves, dear readers. We are about to journey into … the incredible world where everything is backwards!

Writing for Fortune, Cyrus Sanati warns that “Apple risks repeating the 1980s.”

Ugh, the Macalope hopes there hasn’t been an outbreak of Flock of Seagulls hair at One Infinite Loop.

Potentially weak iPhone demand is just a symptom.

Of Münchausen Syndrome by Proxy.

The back and forth in recent days about a cheaper iPhone belies what may be a much larger problem for the world’s dominant gadget maker: Apple seems to be repeating a mistake it made nearly two decades ago by making it difficult for developers and peripheral makers to work with the company.

OK, yes, even the Macalope has remarked on how Apple could do a much better job in making the app submission and approval process easier for developers. But it’s not like its flaws are exactly hurting the platform. While the process frequently stinks for developers, what doesn’t stink is that Apple’s customers don’t mind paying for things, unlike their Android-using counterparts.

A radical departure by chief executive Tim Cook is needed fast if Apple is going to stay on top.

Only by destroying the business model Apple used to get on top will Apple stay on top! Quick, huff this helium! Then it makes total sense!

For the past two decades, it has eschewed the mega conference, participating in MacWorld [sic] instead. Now, Apple isn’t even showing up at MacWorld [sic again], preferring to unveil its new products on its own schedule. At the height of the iPhone craze a few years ago it was understandable that Apple could get away with maintaining such an aloof stance.

Totally! It’s like no one even notices when Apple announces a new product anymore! And if Apple doesn’t do something quick, it might take them a long time to sell out on tickets to WWDC. Like three hours instead of two or something.

It has also refused to allow other phone makers to use its iOS, meaning that only Apple products can access iTunes and the iOS app store. That was fine when Apple dominated the smartphone market but it’s downright foolish now.

Uh, when did Apple dominate the smartphone market? The only thing it’s ever dominated is profit share. Which it still dominates.

Also, even loosely suggesting Apple license iOS? HILARIOUS.

Apple would be wise to look back two decades when it was locked in a war to control the personal computer market with IBM.

Hang on. Stop. Just … just stop. Holy cats.

As of May of last year, Apple was taking about three quarters of the profit in the smartphone business. Three quarters! Samsung was taking almost a quarter and everyone else practically nothing. Even if that’s dropped to two-thirds or something, it’s still amazing. To suggest that Apple “would be wise” to do anything other than whatever it’s been doing is … wow.

Also, just a general question, but did the value of money get turned on its head at some point? Maybe the Macalope was out sick that week. Neither Amazon nor Google seems to be making real money with their platforms—certainly not the kind that Apple makes—and yet they’re always held up as the examples to which Apple should aspire. Maybe the horny one is out of touch with the new math, but give him money clutched between his hooves today over the theoretical potential for money tomorrow.

To be sure, Apple isn’t going bankrupt and the iPhone 5 isn’t a dud …

Oh! Well, that’s good to know! Because for a second there the Macalope was concerned that Apple was going bankrupt.

Even though the iPhone 5 sold well initially in the US, that doesn’t mean it will continue to sell well going forward, especially in developing markets.

If Apple can figure out a way to sell phones in developing markets and still make money, it will. If it can’t, it won’t. That’s just smart business. All this talk about developers leaving iOS? Are you kidding? Yes, you can find a handful of anecdotes to that effect. And the Macalope can find more that show that developing for iOS is still the best bet if you want to make money.

Eventually PCs became as good as or arguably better than anything out of Cupertino.

Uh, and what about now? Apple’s the only computer maker to be growing sales.

If it weren’t for the iPhone, Apple today would be a niche computer maker.

The iPod apparently never happened.

There are a number of things Apple could do today to ensure it doesn’t relive its 1980s meltdown. It could for one open up its iOS so that other manufacturers could integrate it with their phone.

It’s unbelievable, right? Apple makes most of its money off selling iPhones. In order to protect that, it should remove one of the advantages of buying an iPhone.

This will bring a new line of customers into the iTunes orbit. It could also create a larger line of phones to fit a multitude of price points.

Yes! Like maybe an “iPhone Performa” line! Put a whole bunch of nonsensical numbers behind some made-up names, so people have no idea what you’re selling anymore!

Could things get much crazier in terms of rhetoric about Apple? Here the company sits on the top of the heap, largest company evaaaah (or whatever it is now) with $121 billion in cash and still raking in most of the profit in the smartphone business, and because its stock price is up only 17 percent over the last year and there’s an unsourced rumor about weak iPhone demand, the company needs to jettison its entire business model.

That’s where we are with this stuff.

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