The Macalope Weekly: Business time


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That’s right, it’s business time! And by that the Macalope sadly means trying to figure out why business folks never get Apple. Sorry for any confusion. Hope you weren’t thinking of something else. Any-hoo, we’ll first look at a consultant with a surprising motivation in talking about Apple (note: not that surprising). Then the brain trust at Business Insider takes it to the max, and, finally, the folks from Bloomberg are back! And they’ve learned nothing.

Attention grabbing disorder

Throw this piece by Steve Colquhoun on the bonfire of the vanities of people still asking questions in headlines:

“Is shiny Apple rotting at its core?” (tip o’ the antlers to @appleshk)

Get it? Because apples are shiny, and so are the things that Apple makes and, uh, apples have a core.

Hey, Steve. Here’s a freebie for next time: “Is Apple losing it’s a-peel?”

While the title in the body is uncertain of the whole premise of the article, the page header’s title reads “Apple Decreasing In Relevance To Gen Y, Says Social Researcher.”

Social researcher. It’s this century’s equivalent of alchemist or astrologist. Or voodoo doctor.

Tech giant tops brand survey again but could be teetering on brink of irrelevance, expert warns.

It topped a brand survey, as in came out number one … but it could be almost irrelevant.

No, the Macalope has no idea either.

Let’s see if we can track this: Apple is decreasing in relevance. Apple could be almost irrelevant! Apple is the world’s most valuable brand.


Apple has again been rated as the world’s top brand this week, but a leading social researcher warns the omnipresent technology giant is losing touch with its Generation Y heartland.

Apple is losing touch, Colquhoun says.

How does he know this?

“They’re not as hot as they were two years ago. The next 12 months will be absolutely critical for them, whether they can release another game-changing product like they did with the iPhone and the iPad. It’s been a long time between drinks for them,” [Michael] McQueen says.

Naturally, McQueen points to Samsung as being the new hotness, so surely someone can explain to the Macalope what Samsung has created that is as “game-changing” as the iPhone and iPad. Ha. Ha. Haaaaaaaa.

It’s at least worth mentioning that, as emailer “The Spheric Harlot” points out, McQueen’s client list includes Nokia and Lenovo.

However, McQueen points to Forbes magazine’s annual ranking of innovative companies, which last year relegated Apple from 5th to 26th. He says the rising profile of portable device competitors such as Samsung is creating “a subtle shift in what’s now cool”.

Wait, are we supposed to believe that Gen Y reads Forbes? Or, conversely, that Forbes has its finger on the pulse of Gen Y? Because … have you looked at Forbes recently? It’s like an online head injury over there. A gaping cranial wound oozing unsupported statements and conclusions all over its contributor network.

So, what other actual evidence does McQueen present to support his argument that Gen Y doesn’t care about Apple products? Well, let’s just scan through here and, oop, none.

But, guess what. You’re not going to believe this. It’s incredible.

McQueen has a new book out. It’s about brand relevance.

Guy selling a book screams “APPLE!”

Shocking coincidence, isn’t it?

A sonic boom of vapidity

Congratulations are due to Business Insider this week! Scientists said it was impossible, but BI put their heads together (which made a hollow klonking sound) and made their dream a reality! That’s right, they broke the slideshow barrier! Oh, you’ve seen slideshows with 10 items—you may have even seen them with 15—but have you ever seen a slide show with 21 items before?!

“21 Ways Switching To Apple Made My Life Harder.” (The Macalope is breaking his no-link rule because a 21-item slideshow is really a sight to behold; tip o’ the antlers to the Jony Ive parody account on Twitter.)

Of course, you can’t break a barrier without breaking something else, at least if you’re Business Insider. In this case Edwards shatters all sense of propriety. It would be completely unfair to contrast his list with, say, people suffering from a natural disaster, but most of his complaints pale in comparison to someone suffering from a canker sore, hangnail, or a mild rug burn.

There are 21 of them, so the Macalope’s not going to go through them all, but would you be surprised to know that “no removable battery” made the grade? Seriously, people have been saying this is a huge drawback for six years, and somehow Apple manages to sell more than a few iPhones. It’s probably baffling to them.

Oh, but wait! Because the one after “no removable battery” is “you become a battery-life miser” because there’s no removable battery. The Macalope is sooo disappointed to find that Edwards is padding his list. Well, then again, he’s caught Don Reisinger doing it with a list of 10 items, so …

The horny one’s favorite, though, is “There’s no Advanced Task Killer on iPhone!”

Of course, there’s no need to kill iPhone apps unless they’re stalled, but still … some of us just want them off.

Let us now remember that this is supposedly a list of things that have made Edwards’s life harder. Edwards’s contention is that not being able to group-kill apps that aren’t actually using resources or doing anything at all is somehow making his life harder.

That is about the best thing the Macalope has read all month. Seriously. Standing ovation.

“Business Insider: We Just Don’t Care If It Makes Sense.”

Edwards also doesn’t like the Lightning cable.

… if my phone runs out of juice in a place where there are no other iPhone 5 users, I can’t add power to my phone.

Because carrying around your own would be out of the question?

This innovation costs iPhone 5 users $30.

Well, no, the cable comes for free in the box. Extra cables cost $19. A dock adapter is $29.

“We also don’t care if it’s accurate!”

Hitting “return” doesn’t open files on a Mac.

This is, of course, how you get to 21 items. You complain about things that no one other than you cares about.

There’s certainly a way to write a piece suggesting improvements to Apple devices. They are not perfect golden spheres floating in a purely conceptual framework, devoid of the failings of devices crafted of the crudeness that is matter. But making a bunch of crap up and whining for 21 ad impressions isn’t it.

We’re linking at you, not to you

Writing for Apple Doom Weekly Bloomberg, Larry Popelka says “Google Is Winning the Innovation War Against Apple” (tip o’ the antlers to Daring Fireball).

Google (GOOG) appears to be on the verge of taking over the tech innovation throne once held by Apple (AAPL).

So the Macalope keeps hearing. And, as we’re all enjoying our Google Glasses from the comfort of our self-driving cars, it sure seems to be true!

A sure sign of this was the success of Google’s annual I/O developers conference last week at San Francisco’s Moscone Center.

Are you ready for this? The Macalope’s not sure if you’re ready for this. You might want to sit down. Wait, wait. Deep knee bends first. Stretch out a little. Drink some water. This is really something.

Tickets to the 5,000-seat, three-day conference sold out in just 49 minutes at $600 a pop.

As John Gruber notes, it’s actually $900 a pop. But, please, continue with your point about how because Google I/O is so super-popular, it means that Google’s stealing Apple’s crown or thunder or whatever it is that Google’s stealing from Apple today.

Apple’s event is still extremely popular …

Still! But not, surely, as popular as Google I/O.

Tickets this year sold out in just two minutes at $1,699 each.

Wait, what?! So, Apple’s developer conference, which seats exactly the same number of people as Google’s and costs 89 percent more, sold out 24.5 times as fast … but Google’s results are somehow a sign that NOTHING MAKES ANY SENSE ANYMORE.

Apple, however, is under growing pressure to have a good showing, thanks to a perceived lack of innovation since Steve Jobs’s death.

Pressure from whom? Developers certainly have a list of things they’d like, but it’s more “make iCloud work right” than “TELEVISION SET OR I WALK.”

Google is winning this war because it has a better innovation process. The key to Google’s process is its “launch and iterate” approach.

Apple clearly launches stuff and then never improves it ever again.

Apple consumers and shareholders, on the other hand, have grown accustomed to getting perfectly crafted, market-ready products. The iPod, iPhone, and iPad all worked beautifully from Day One and were launched with a big bang and lots of fanfare.

And were total failures.

Uh … hey, you know what’s really great? Pudding. Amirite?

The Apple approach works fine if you have someone like Jobs who’s meticulous and can get everything right before introducing a product.

Meanwhile, Jony Ive and all those other people who worked with Jobs on this stuff for years clearly have the attention span of a hyperactive Airedale.

One of Google’s latest innovations is a same-day delivery service called Google Shopping Direct, which delivers products from Target (TGT), Walgreens (WAG), and other stores to your home for free.

Focusing is not one of their innovations.

Few companies have the self-confidence to take on Google’s launch and iterate model. Most prefer the safety of Apple’s “perfect it before you sell it” approach …

Right. Like printer manufacturers. And Microsoft. And the airlines.

Really, this is one of Apple’s signature skills. Their secrecy is legendary. That Popelka has this turned around just points out that this article was an idea in search of facts. Facts that weren’t there.

Here’s the thing. Bloomberg is a serious publication. The people there should be aspiring to produce serious coverage. But one gets the feeling lately that they see a lot of hits on a piece and think “Ah, people must have liked it! Let’s do another one just like that!” They never realize that they’re getting hits from the people pointing out that their coverage makes no sense.

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