The Macalope Weekly: Technology journalalism


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Weep not for quality technology journalism, dear readers. For it is already dead. First, the Macalope can’t even read the entirety of a piece—he’d rather dive head-first into a dumpster full of broken glass. Then after reading another paper-cut-on-the-eyeball of a piece, he finds out there are sleazy shenanigans behind it.

In other words, it’s another day in paradise!

Crapus interruptus

Writing for Seeking Alpha (motto: We’re just as crappy as The Motley Fool, but without the traffic!), Michael Blair says “An iPhablet Would Be Popular But Would Very Likely Reduce Apple’s Profits.”

Apple must make a larger phone! A larger phone that will kill Apple!

Apple (AAPL) faces a conundrum.

Is it moral to fill a swimming pool with hundred-dollar bills and dive into it?

iPhones and iPads are losing favour with consumers in favour of Android devices and in particular so-called Phablets …

Uh, no. What you mean is that Apple’s market share continues to slide (except in the U.S., where it continues to grow by stealing share from Android). On an annual basis, iPhone and iPad sales continue to increase. So, Apple products are not “losing favor,” they’re just not globally gaining favor as fast as Android devices are.

Also, we are not going to start capitalizing “phablet.” The Macalope knows that it’s the current supposed golden god of technology, but it’s bad enough we don’t have a better name for it, he’s not going to start capitalizing it, too.

… which are smartphones with screens between 5 and 7 inches, particularly in Asian markets.

Asian markets excluding Japan.

Apple is rumoured to be planning to introduce an iPhone with a “Phablet sized screen” perhaps as early as September 12, 2013 at its forthcoming event.

More likely not. (We’ll let Blair slide on getting the wrong date for Apple’s event on September 10.)

Apple needs a Phablet …

Neeeeeeeds. Braaaaaaains.

… but such a device will almost certainly cannibalize sales of iPhones and iPads.

But it’ll actually be an iPhone. And a premium iPhone at that.

Besides, wasn’t someone just suggesting that the reason Apple needs to make a “phablet” (blargh) is that the company is losing customers? Oh, that’s right, it was Michael Blair! So doesn’t it mean that making a “phablet” (urgh) will cause an influx of people who only bought Android devices for the larger screens?

An iPhablet as I will call it …

Please don’t. Apple certainly isn’t going to.

… will be a direct competitor of the iPad mini and is likely to displace the latter device substantially since it will not only perform all of the tasks of the smaller iPad but also will be a phone.

Seriously, what to even do with this? It’s like Blair’s editor said “Just throw some arguments on the screen until something vaguely anti-Apple comes out.” Unless the device is almost 8 inches across diagonally, it is not a real competitor to the iPad mini. Also, unlocked iPhones actually cost more than the iPad mini and margins on iPhones are higher than those on iPads.

There was apparently a whole additional page of Blair’s piece, and the Macalope even tried to register on Seeking Alpha to read the rest of this remarkable oeuvre oeuf, but the confirmation email never arrived.

Imagine his disappointment.

A charade

It should be no surprise that, although it’s not here yet, the iPhone 5S is already a terrible disappointment.

Over at Yahoo, Archie Mariano says “Apple Needs To Try Harder: Meeting iPhone 5S Expectations” (no link—and you’ll see why anon—but tip o’ the antlers to Scott Falkner).

By the way, do you have hip boots? You might want to put them on if you do. This one gets pretty deep.

Since the launch of the first iPhone in 2007, Apple launches have been accustomed to being the most anticipated and the most hyped-up. The competition has finally caught up with Apple.

Oh? Samsung’s announcements have been met with the same blazzrozzle as Apple’s? Is this in the Marvel Infinite universe or …?

The same companies trampled by the iPhones of old are now producing iPhone-thrashing phones.

BlackBerry and Nokia are producing iPhone-trashing phones? Is any of this making sense?

Competition is alive and fighting back.


The smartphone one very competitive market [sic].


And full of lightsabers.

Mariano found this cool image of the Google Android fighting an Apple with lightsabers that you’ve probably only seen about a billion times.

While iOS is still one of the most stable mobile operating systems around, the lack of significant UI changes or having the same boring look (albeit with flashier colors due to iOS 7) has seriously undermined the belief of consumers in Apple devices.

Well, this was pretty predictable.

2012: “Apple desperately needs to update the look of iOS!”

2013: “Apple’s update of iOS isn’t enough!”

These days, iPhones are as prestigious and prevalent as “Galaxies.” The intense hype that surrounded Samsung’s launch of its recent flagships, the Galaxy S3 and Galaxy S4 proved that.

Seriously, check your continuity, dude. Is your sky filled with zeppelins? Are you being hunted by intelligent chimps? Bees?! Is everything made of bees?!

Who would’ve thought that styluses would make a comeback?

It’s bees, then. You’re in the universe entirely made of bees.

Or that waterproof phones that are not as thick as bricks would be readily available?

And not really waterproof. Or even guaranteed to work in water.

But keep mining those Samsung marketing materials, Archie!

Having laid down this solid base of evidence (“Samsung rulz, Apple droolz. Q.E.D.”), Mariano will now go on to give his stunning advice on how Apple can still turn things around. From being the largest and most profitable company in the technology business.

Apple needs to know that they can’t decide for the consumer.

Seriously, is this a joke? Performance art? The Macalope has never read a piece so entirely backwards. Well, maybe he shouldn’t say that. He’s read a lot of backwards pieces and they cause him to drink a lot. So maybe he doesn’t remember every single little piece.

The throw-spaghetti-at-the-wall-and-see-what-sticks approach by Android might be amplifying fragmentation issues, however, it works because the consumer has the choice of how his device should look, feel and work. And how it should be priced.

Do you know anything at all about how Apple does business? Because this is Apple 101.

The launch of the new iPhone on September 10 will very well be a make-or-break moment for Apple.

How long can Apple continue? How? Long?

Failure to dazzle the world once more is not an option.

Nuh-uh. Not again.

The fate of the fallen old guards: Palm, Ericsson, Motorola and just recently, Nokia can very well be Apple’s own.

One false step … and it could all be over!

The stakes are high.

Sing it, sister!

It can be the company’s make-or-break moment.


A new hope or the last hope?

Do you have some kind of cliché disorder?

For all intents and purposes, [an iPhone] is a better investment if you plan on selling your phone after a year of usage. Or …

Or what? What is it, Archie?! TELL US WHAT!

Or if you’re an iSheep.

Awwwwww, yeah. You know those iSheep! They’ll buy anything. Anything with a really high resale value. And a terrific user experience. And … well, look, the point is that they’re blind zealots, that’s the point.

The next iPhone is a make-or-break product.


There’s a weird interlude where Mariano tells you how to can sell your old phone in preparation for next week’s iPhone launch—wasn’t his point that iPhones suck?—before he closes with some more cheap shots at Apple customers.

Or you can just stream Apple’s presentation on September 10 on your TV using Chromecast and chuckle at the absurdity of people preparing to buy whatever sub-par device Apple will release.


Laugh at people wanting to pay hundreds of dollars for a device that is obviously not in the same league as the humongous and processor-obsessed Android smartphones.


While all eyes are on it, Apple turns inward. Searching for the lost spark that seems to have disappeared when Steve Jobs died.

Thankfully, that is the last line of this piece. You’ve reached the end. You’re a survivor.

Read on for the other shoe.


The Macalope got to wondering, who is this guy? Is he for real?

Well, it turns out that Archie Mariano is very real, as much as his writing might suggest otherwise. As a matter of fact, here’s his Google+ account.

Now, remember that weird interlude the horny one mentioned where Mariano tells readers how to sell their old phones?

There are several online sites that will buy your old smartphone or even accept trade-ins, but not all of them are secure and definitely not all of them are free.

Uhhh, OK. “Not all are secure.” That’s certainly vague and ominous, isn’t it?

For those wanting a secure and totally free way to sell your device and get its full value, you can always try (eCB). It offers convenience without the hassle.

Huh. Well, the Macalope had never heard of eCycleBest. But there’s a very good reason why Mariano would have heard of it.

He works there.

Take a look at that Google+ account again.

Works at eCycleBest

The Macalope’s read a lot of crappy articles on Yahoo, but to date he was unaware of its Small Business Advisor network of “content partners,” among which is this clowntastic site called Business 2 Community, where Mariano’s post originated. The site’s mission statement (of course it has a mission statement) is:

… to create an open community where business professionals can establish their thought leadership, increase exposure for their business/organization, and network with others.

Emphasis being on “increase exposure for their business/organization.”

So. No-name money-for-electronics site employee writes incendiary “article” trolling Apple fans which Yahoo publishes straight up without any identification that the author works for the site pushed in the piece (nowhere on Yahoo’s page is it mentioned that Mariano works for them, though a little searching can turn up Mariano’s contributor profile—which doesn’t link to this article).

The Macalope is pretty jaded, obviously, but even he didn’t expect this. Isn’t it a wonderful world we live in that we can all discover new sleazy things every day, even in industries we follow closely?!

Uhnnnnn …

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