The Macalope Weekly: So much better than Apple


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As if you needed any more evidence, the Macalope this week brings you three tales of how Apple’s competitors are once again smoking the company with the winning. Your feeble 128GB iPad is no match for the computing power of the Surface, Apple! And you may as well just roll over like a dog and let Samsung scratch your belly! Go on! ROLL OVER! NO! NO! BAD DOG! BAD DOG!

Asked and answered

Apple announced the 128GB iPad this week, finally answering the question “Can even the most mundane of updates to Apple products drive people insane?”

Writing for TechnoBuffalo, Todd Haselton asks “Who Needs a 128GB iPad? Buy a Surface Pro Instead.”

Apple announced a brand new 128GB iPad this morning. Now, I understand that while reading my headline you’re probably asking yourself:

What poor life choices led to me reading this article?

What do you mean who needs a 128GB iPad? Isn’t more space a good thing?

Well, that would presume we’re having a logical, adult conversation here. So, no, the Macalope was not asking himself that question.

Who needs a 128GB iPad? People with plenty of videos and photos and large documents, for sure.

Oh. Well, yeah. So … are we done here, or … ?

But that’s not what I really meant by the question. At its starting price point of $800, the tablet is just $200 cheaper than a MacBook Air. It’s also $200 cheaper than Microsoft’s entry-level Surface with Windows 8 Pro tablet. Those are full featured computers that can run full desktop applications.

Uh, sure, but maybe that’s not what you need. See, there’s this whole class of computing device called “tablets” …

Also, about that Surface “Pro” …

“Microsoft’s 64GB Surface Pro will only have 23GB usable storage”

Microsoft: redefining “professional” since 2013.

I’m sure I’ll catch some flack from people who say that the iPad is cheaper than the Surface Pro …

You mean people who can do basic math? Sure.

… but let’s be real: if you have $800 to spend on an iPad, you probably have the extra $200 for a beefier machine.

Oh, totally, right? Really, once numbers go over 800, they kind of become meaningless, don’t they? Heck, why not get a Retina display MacBook Pro? Or a Tesla? Those are really cool.

Sure, an iPad is great for some work tasks, especially out in the field, but it’s not a replacement computer for me.

Punditry 101: You, the pundit, are everyone.

Let’s see if we can clear some of your confusion up, Todd. The Surface “Pro” has 23GB of usable space. The 128GB iPad has about 120GB of usable space. And costs $200 less.

Are we done here now?


It’s important to remember as we go through these, people, that there are no stupid questions. What’s stupid is the thought process that leads someone to ask the question. That may seem like semantics, but it leads to motive.

The Economist asks “Has Apple peaked?”

Apple spends a few months just doing what ordinary companies do, not introducing anything that turns an entire market upside down, and it’s all over.

The world’s most valuable firm may be past its prime

Exxon? Past its prime? Say it isn’t so.

It depends on what day you ask and what stage of market insanity we’re in, but with Apple’s recent stock drop, Exxon was again the largest company in the world the last time the Macalope looked.

TECH blogs are abuzz. Pundits are busy pumping out predictions.

You’re describing any day that ends in a “y.”

But this time the fuss is not about an Apple product: it is about Samsung’s latest Galaxy smartphone, which is likely to be launched in March.

Oh, psych! You got schooled Samsung-style, Apple fans! That is to say you were schooled via a dim simulacrum of how you would have been schooled had it been Apple.

Two things have whetted the bears’ appetites.

Salmon and honey.

Oh, sorry. We are not talking about actual bears. Which is kind of too bad, because at least actual bears—unlike Wall Street bears—make rational decisions. Usually, of course, their decisions are based on salmon and honey, so it’s kind of hard to go wrong.

“I should eat this salmon. And later eat some honey.”

Nailed it, actual bear!

First, Steve Jobs, Apple’s founder and creative genius, is dead.

And he apparently died since the huge run-up on the stock over last summer, if we are to believe the fallacy that Apple’s share price makes a lick of sense.

Second, Apple’s fantastic profit margins—38.6% on sales of $55 billion—attract competitors like sweetshops attract six-year-olds.

And so far only one of the precocious little imps has been able to score so much as a gumdrop.

The company’s fans pooh-pooh the idea that Apple has peaked.

We also “pew-pew!” it by shooting imaginary lasers at it.

The firm’s price-earnings ratio—11.6 at close of business on January 23rd—is not much different from Microsoft’s (see chart 2). That makes Apple’s shares look relatively sexy.

Paging Mat Honan. Mat Honan to the white courtesy phone, please.

A drizzle of negative news had already dampened investors’ ardour before this week’s earnings announcement. Apple bungled the introduction of its new mapping app, and there were rumours of cuts in component orders for the iPhone 5.

And that’s what it takes. One bad app and some rumors that were pretty much disproved by strong iPhone sales from the fourth calendar quarter. Amazon, meanwhile, continues to ride high on smoke and mirrors, and they’re all out of mirrors.

Yet the best way for the company to prove it is not past its prime would be for it to disrupt another big market.

True! What we disagree on is what is a reasonable time frame in which to expect it to do so.

Yet even if it produces a cheaper iPhone, pushes deep into China and wows the world with a smart TV, its shares will not reconquer last year’s peak. Competition is now tougher in its core markets. Rivals will not let it disrupt new ones so easily.

OK, stop. How, exactly, have Apple’s rivals shown that they are any better suited to prevent the company from disrupting new markets than they were in 2001, when the iPod was introduced? Or in 2007, when the iPhone was introduced? Or in 2010, when the iPad was introduced? Every few years or so we are resoundingly told that there is categorically no way that the next Apple product will be anything other than a dismal failure, because the category has already been tried and there’s nothing there. Then Apple thinks around the problem and everyone coughs uncomfortably for three years and the whole thing starts all over again.

That may eventually be the case, but so far the onus is on Apple’s detractors to prove it. Because the company’s track record shows otherwise. Come on, you’re the ones who have been wrong, not Apple.

The Macalope’s not always right about Apple. He thought iOS would do better than it has in terms of market share versus Android, and he didn’t expect iPads to do so well in the enterprise market. So maybe he’s wrong again and Apple will be content to shovel out incremental upgrades for the rest of its existence.

But that doesn’t sound like the Apple we’ve come to know. Steve Jobs didn’t just run the company, he rebuilt the company. Does it seem likely he rebuilt it to be a timid tweaker of existing product lines? Not to this be-antlered observer.

Saying a thing makes it true

Move over, Apple, because Samsung is the new hotness. How do we know? Someone wrote it on the Internet.

“Samsung Just Can’t Stop Beating Apple.”

This tiny string of anecdotes flimsily strung together by the Atlantic Wire’s Rebecca Greenfield doesn’t lie, people!

Samsung has won the latest round of its neverending patent war with Apple …

Yeah, remember that $1 billion judgement against Samsung that Apple scored in the middle of last year? Well, get this! Samsung totally won against Apple … by not having that dollar figure made even bigger!

Not losing even worse is the new winning.

… and at just the right moment in its cultural ascendance, giving the South Korean gadget giant another notch on its “better-than-Apple” belt.

Knowing Samsung, it probably has an actual belt that it calls its “better-than-Apple” belt, because that’s what companies that are better than other companies do. Have belts that show how awesome they are. It’s probably got a buckle the size of a Galaxy Note.

Looking over the various appeals from both sides on that $1 billion jury ruling from this summer, U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh denied motions late Tuesday night from both sides for a retrial and ruled that Samsung didn’t willfully infringe on Apple’s patents, meaning it didn’t copy specific “trade dresses” on purpose.

Right! Now you can prove that Samsung is only a copycat savant, not that it copied the designs on purpose. In your face, Apple! Not that this ruling has anything to do with the payout Apple already won. Samsung still has to pony up $1 billion, but total moral victory! And in business, aren’t moral victories what it’s all about?

What are these profits of which you speak?

Because Samsung’s phone designs weren’t willfully a rip-off, it doesn’t owe Apple any more money …

Just a billion dollars. That’s like hardly even worth mentioning.

While Samsung’s Galaxy S phones enjoyed major fanboy love, the company reported record-high profits.

Unlike Apple which … erm … always gets major fanboy love and reports record-high profits.

Wait, so is “fanboy love” now a good thing? The Macalope thought it was so very lame when people lined up for phones. He remembers seeing that in a commercial once. Very confusing.

Well, you can’t make an argument omelet without breaking a few of the eggs of reality, right?

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