The Macalope: Global thermonuclear hissy fit


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What to do when you’re a big-time national security blogger and you don’t get what you want exactly when you want it? BLOG IT.

James Joyner wonders “Why is Apple So Incompetent?” (tip o’ the antlers to Mark Wickens).

Don’t quit your national security day job, James.

A few years back, I switched from a Blackberry to an iPhone 3GS because the Atlantic Council stopped reimbursing me for the former and instead put me on a corporate plan for the latter.

Doesn’t someone else pay for your phone, too?

The 3GS served me reasonably well and I upgraded to a 4S a couple years later when the former’s telephone function stopped operating and, fortuitously, I was eligible for a free upgrade anyway.

Is it possible that Joyner doesn’t understand how phone subsidies work? “I used the phone for two years and then I was lucky enough that they wanted to lock me into anther two-year contract in exchange for paying $200 for a new … heyyy, wait a minute …”

When I transitioned to nonresident senior fellow status …

Let me assure you that I am extremely important. I can’t stress that enough.

… I asked and the Council allowed me to stay on their plan for another month on the grounds that the 5S was due to hit a couple weeks later and it would be silly to lock myself into a two year contract for an outdated phone.

So, here we hit the crux of Joyner’s complaint: Apple didn’t make its new phone available on his timetable. This is how he defines “incompetence.”

Apple released the phone later than scheduled …

Er, the Macalope is not sure where you found this mythical “schedule” for the iPhone 5s launch, but he’s pretty sure it wasn’t from this reality. It’s possible senior fellows at the Atlantic Council have access to technology that’s not available to the rest of us, which allows them to peer into alternate universes. Hard to say. It is clear, however, that they get their phones paid for and have at least some leeway as to how long they can stay on the plan when they transition to nonresident status.

Bet you didn’t expect to learn that today. The Macalope hopes that information doesn’t push something useful out of your brain, like what are reasonable expectations about technology releases, how to get along in social settings, or how to breathe.

… but finally got around to doing it. Yet, I can’t actually get the phone because, for reasons that escape me, Apple didn’t make nearly enough to meet demand.

Well, it’s pretty simple: First, it’s hard to ramp up assembly initially. You also don’t want to ramp it up too high, and you don’t want to stockpile inventory beforehand, as it’s expensive to just keep a gigantic warehouse full of iPhones sitting around.

Supply and demand are not always perfectly elastic.

I don’t have time to order one and wait a month for it to arrive–I’ve got to buy something soon.


I’m seriously tempted to just get a phone from a different company at this point.

Actually, that’s exactly what you should do. Get a free phone on contract—not an iPhone 4S, a truly free phone—and upgrade when you can get the phone you want.

Frankly, the only things holding me back are that I’m already in the Apple ecosystem with both an iPhone and iPad and already have applications for it and the fact that my four-year-old enjoys playing games on both.

Did the national security think tank you work for know that your kid was playing games on the phone they paid for? The Macalope hopes one of those games wasn’t “Global Thermonuclear War.”

OK, not everyone understands how this system works and not everyone knows all the tricks to navigating it. But maybe you could ask around instead of stomping your privileged foot.

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