The Macalope: The beginning of the end ... again


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It’s almost summer, but the Macalope’s still digging his way out from under the blizzard of dumb WWDC analysis that fell from the skies of stupidity last week. Why, oh why did the Macalope take up residence under the skies of stupidity?! What was he thinking?! There should be a zoning ordinance!

Anyway, suffice it to say that The Verge’s Vlad Savov was not impressed by iOS 7.

“iOS 7 redesign: the beginning of the end for Apple exceptionalism” (tip o’ the antlers to Waly Kerkeboom and Harry Marks).

And here the Macalope thought the iPhone 4S was the end of Apple exceptionalism. And the iPhone 5. And the iPad mini. And …

Today’s marathon WWDC keynote served up “the biggest change” to iOS since the original iPhone, and it’s a change as much about the surface tweaks, polishes, and additions as it is about the underlying philosophy. Apple is now playing it safe.


This is what we’ve come to. Pundits have made so many ridiculous statements that the Macalope is now stuck with stringing together two of his go-to faux surprise words, “Duh?” and “Wha?” The horny one doesn’t like it any better than you do, but that’s where we are.

… Apple’s success has never been about giving users what they think they want, the company’s decade of dominance has grown out of making devices and software that prove themselves with long-term usability.

Yes, surely iOS 7 is without controversy and we all march forward in lock-step agreement that its design style is exactly what we want.

By the way, Vlad, can you quickly check which Internet are you reading? Because it’s apparently not the same one that the Macalope is reading.

… we decry HTC and Samsung’s efforts to introduce change for change’s sake—how is Apple different when it spends time redesigning the cell signal indicator into a more abstract row of dots?


If anything a row of dots is more accurate than the traditional bars, which imply that additional signal strength increases exponentially.

It gets worse the deeper you dig in.

Does it?

The “today” section in the Notifications Center instantly reminds you of Google Now.

In that they’re both calendars showing a day view, sure. In that they’re both virtual representations of the kind of physical day planner that’s been around since, oh, the industrial revolution, yes, absolutely. Totally stole that from Google Now.

The slide-up Control Center is a quick settings menu that’s been present in Android skins since at least 2010.

And, hey! Guess what? Android itself is a copy of an operating system that’s been available from Apple since at least 2007! How about that?!

Hey, this game is fun!

Look, all that’s happened here is that after Apple defined the market, mobile operating systems have matured, just like desktop operating systems did. See how that works? Apple figures out how something should work, ships it, then everyone else copies it and iteratively improves it until Apple defines a new market. Repeat.

Microsoft has actually done the most innovation in operating systems in the last five years and look where that’s gotten it. Mostly because the company decided that, rather than giving users a new path to walk on, it would just pull the rug out from under them—because everyone likes that.


The once-leader is now playing catchup by picking and choosing what it considers the best aspects of its competition.

Really, though, how “innovative” have Apple’s changes to the Mac OS been over the last ten years? Well, in the sense of “innovative” that pundits only mean when talking about Apple.

Let the Macalope state this as clearly as he can: When you define “innovative” as the kind of change that remakes an entire market, Apple only ever delivers those kinds of shake-ups in new product lines. The reason is because when it remakes a market, it delivers the best product that it knows how to make. Which its competitors then rush to copy.

Is any of this getting through? Is this thing on?

Whereas the Apple of yesteryear seemed to relish being unorthodox, the Apple of today is moving much more in line with mainstream trends.

Right, because everyone’s making cylindrical professional computers with a centralized extruded aluminum thermal core these days.

This is probably how this is going to go down. Apple remakes a product category every three to six years. During the “lulls,” as it iteratively improves its products, pundits will shout “Where’s the innovation?!” While we all point out the logical fallacy, they’ll pretend not to hear us. Then, when Apple does remake a category again, they’ll say “The old Apple is back!” When, really, it never went away. Apple-style innovation takes time. That fact may seem annoying to the impatient, but considering that no one else seems capable of doing it at all …

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