The Macalope Weekly: Crackpot theories


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Do you ever wonder how the human race continues to dominate the planet, even though some days it seems like it can’t even tie its shoes? Well, you will now.

Crackpot theories about Apple abound. It’s too bad Fringe is off the air and, you know, not actually real, because Wall Street’s disconnect with our reality has the Macalope wondering if we shouldn’t just encase lower Manhattan in amber.

And are you ready for the shocking reveal about how Samsung has beaten Apple? (Wait, Samsung did whatnow?) Well, whatever. Just remember that punditry means never having to say you’re sorry. You just get back out there and keep punditrying.


[UPDATE: Please see the Macalope's correction of this section here.]

VentureBeat’s John Koetsier brings us this antler-against-the-desk-inducing story: “Jim Cramer: Apple’s next product is a ‘clear loser.’”

But not only has Cramer not seen any good news from Apple for months, he’s also predicting that the company’s next product, due in September, “is a clear loser,” as he seems to believe that Apple is incapable of pulling out of a “tailspin.”

Cramer then went on to describe his alien abduction, and how a little man living in his cupboard is stealing his dreams in order to weave them into a pair of magical shoes.

[Circles hoof around ear to indicate the level of crazy taking place here.]

But, really, is this not a perfect example of Wall Street’s “understanding” of Apple?

“Apple’s in a tailspin and the gubbermint is broadcasting Mexican wrestling shows into my brain!”

That’s a fairly remarkable statement, even from Cramer.

Indeed! Someone should call a doctor!

Can it be that this is too much for even Koetsier? Nahhh.

… he is not unknown for hyperbole and bombast. But predicting the utter failure of a future, unreleased product?


Sure! Much in the same way a smoking monkey in a fez is “interesting.”

Swallow whatever liquids are in your mouth, though, because what Koetsier finds “interesting” is so spit-take-provoking that it could void your Mac or iOS device’s warranty. (Neither the Macalope nor Macworld assumes any liability.)

Essentially, what Cramer seems to be saying is that the momentum of the mobile markets has swung so far in favor of Apple competitors Google and Samsung that Apple will not be able to reverse it, no matter what devices they bring out: new iPhones, new iPads, a new iWatch, or even other unexpected products. That’s essentially a platform call, saying that Android is winning and iOS is losing.

Not only is Android “winning” but it’s winning by so much that iOS does not stand a chance. Stick a large novelty fork in it, it’s toast. (Why do metaphorical people stick forks in toast anyway? Real people never do that.)

Of course, if that’s true…

Really, John? Are we really asking ourselves if the guy who smashes things with a baseball bat on television, and barely seems to get the industry he supposedly follows has the last word on the competitive landscape of mobile platforms?

… and if Apple misses on its next quarterly numbers—as Cramer expects—CEO Tim Cook’s job security could be in doubt.

Yeah! Let’s fire him because he didn’t report record profits for one quarter and replace him with … uh … well, Batman or something. Look, it’s not for pundits to come up with all the answers, it’s just for them to armchair quarterback.

Cramer did temper his comments at the end of the show by backpedaling a little, saying that Apple still has a strong installed base and that if it releases a new wow product, it would still matter. Of course, that came after some theater in which he somewhat incoherently complained that Tim Cook is no Steve Jobs …


Exclamation mark!

Forbes contributor Adam Hartung joins the chorus of those telling us how Samsung is beating Apple.

“How Samsung Changed the Game on Apple.”

Following very successful launches of the iPod (which transformed music from CDs to MP3) …

And if you think that parenthetical remark doesn’t make sense, just wait! He’s only beginning to not make sense.

… and iPhone (which turned everyone into smartphone users,) [sic] the iPad’s transformation of personal technology made Apple look like an impenetrable juggernaut – practically untouchable by any competitor!

And look at it now! It only still dominates the tablet market!

Apple’s stock soared from $200/share to over $700/share, and Apple became the most valuable publicly traded company on any American exchange!


But things look very different now. … Apple’s value has declined by 40%!

That’s a lot!

Quite simply, there have been no “game changer” products that dramatically outperform Apple’s.

Which probably explains why they’re still in leadership positions.

Instead, Samsung changed the game by focusing on distribution and advertising!

You don’t say!

Instead of looking back at its old ad budget in dollars, and maintaining that budget, Samsung allowed the budget to grow (to a huge number!) along with revenues.

Really big! Hartung cannot stress that enough!

Once America’s untouchable brand, the Apple brand has faltered.

Totally! Well, OK, other than the fact that, according to comScore, Apple’s increased its lead over Samsung in the U.S. market and is gaining on Android itself. When this was pointed out to Hartung in the comments, his reply made about as much sense as the main article.

Short term results aren’t very good at pointing to long-term winners. … Right now people are excited about Samsung products, and waiting for “the next big thing” from Apple.

So excited that they’re not buying as many of them as Apple devices.

Uh …

Well, back to the article!

People now question Apple’s sustainability.

OK, they’re mouth-breathing idiots, but they’re still technically people. Until they devolve into a lower life form. Which could be any minute.

And Apple is not without great engineers, and a HUGE war chest which it could use on advertising and distribution to go heads up with Samsung.


Samsung’s leaders deserve a lot of credit for seeing the opportunity – and seizing it!

Also, I like pie!

You know, the Macalope gets away with heavy use of the caps lock and exclamation marks, too, but there’s a difference: the Macalope is a cartoon of a human/Mac/antelope hybrid. Alas, a Forbes editor (an animal even more elusive than the mythical Macalope himself) has since removed some of Hartung’s exclamation marks, presumably to spread them amongst other, less effusive Forbes contributors.

On the same day as Hartung’s eighth-grade book report was published, Microsoft’s Frank X. Shaw was in New York listening to a panel that included Forbes’s chief revenue officer. After it was over he remarked on Twitter:

good panel but I am so not sold that the forbes contributor network is highly vetted. #pagespring

And how!

This time for real, though

Dan Lyons may be gone, but it looks like his influence is still being felt over at ReadWrite—like a bad hangover or truck-stop sushi. Turns out Matt Asay, who used to take his bon mots about Apple to The Register, has found a new outlet for his valuable input.

“The Kinder, Gentler Apple (We Really Don’t Want).”

Like Cramer, Asay doesn’t like Tim Cook’s apology to China. Sure, it may have worked and sure it’s good business, but Steve Jobs never would have blah blah blah.

Perhaps Cook isn’t aware …

Yes, please, Matt. Tell the guy who’s been at Apple for 15 years and was handpicked by Steve Jobs to be the next CEO what Apple’s really supposed to be like. That never stops being funny.

… but nonchalance toward industry feedback and arrogance are hallmarks of Apple’s history. Now it’s apologizing for these traits?

So, hang onto Steve Jobs’s flaws as well as strengths is what you’re saying? How is that good advice?

It’s a kinder, gentler Apple. And I’m not sure I like it.

Huh. Matt Asay wrote that.


Matt Asay.

So, let’s just make sure the Macalope has this right. Matt Asay thinks Apple needs to get back the attitude it had under Steve Jobs, and stop listening to people who complain about the company.

Would that be people like Matt Asay, who said back in 2011 that Steve Jobs’s patent warfare was

… the last refuge of scoundrels and mobile competitors.

Apple has been patenting anything and everything related to tablets, and is now trying to block Android tablets from ever seeing the market. Apple’s Steve Jobs can declare victory all he wants at Apple love-ins, but the reality is that Apple has serious cause for alarm …

2011 Asay should get together with 2013 Asay and have a frank discussion of ideas. Perhaps in some inter-dimensional time portal, for all eternity.

Asay’s full of great insights about the company. Last year he said the iPad was “RUBBISH” for the enterprise (use of caps lock his) and that only Android and Microsoft Surface devices are fit for business use.

As much as magazines like MacWorld [sic] may hype it as “The New Business Machine”, the reality is that the iPad is only enterprise-ready in iFantasyLand.

Even Asay realizes that, like a spaceship caught in a gravity well, he can’t escape his past proclamations about Apple. They’re simply too dense.

I know that I, personally, have been proved wrong many times about Apple, and am grateful that it hasn’t listened to what I or others in the media were saying.

But this time, Apple should totally listen to Asay. Because … er …

Well. Just ‘cause.

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