The Macalope Weekly: Total failures


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This week brings us more Apple failures—some of which don’t even exist yet, creating quantum-mechanical implications that Stephen Hawking would have a hard time noodling. That’s right, the as-yet-non-existent Apple smartwatch? Failure. And, of course, we all know the iPhone 5c is a failure, right? It was in all the papers.

A mind-bending state of fail

Writing for Minyanville (which is inexplicably reprinted by Yahoo, Nasdaq, and USA Today), Diane Bullock wonders: “Is Apple wasting its time with the iWatch?” (tip o’ the antlers to @JonyIveParody).

Way to tackle the tough questions of our time, Diane. The tough questions about devices that don’t exist yet in markets that barely exist.

Unfortunately, based on what we’ve seen thus far from other prominent manufacturers—coupled with tepid sales projections—we’re left wondering if the iWatch is even worth Apple’s time.

Given the fact that we’re all going to die some day, is anything worth it?

[table flip]

As previously mentioned, the reviews for the Galaxy Gear watch are in. And they’re not good.

Oh, no! That can’t be good for Apple!

Wait, what?

It’s not a giant leap to predict that Gear’s critical reception may not bode well for Apple.

WAIT, WHAT? Seriously, is the Macalope having a comically-timed stroke?

Unless Cupertino has something dramatically different up its sleeve with respect to functionality and features, the iWatch is likely to get skewered just the same.

Gosh, what are the the odds that Apple—the company that reinvented the personal computer, the digital music player, the smartphone, and the tablet—could bring anything to the table in the already so well-defined smartwatch market? Probably zero.

But the nail in the coffin (or, in this case, crib) …

Note to readers: Do not let Diane Bullock put together your baby furniture. Or your metaphors.

… for the iWatch could be recent data gathered about its consumer demand.

Bullock finds Gene “Ask me about the Apple television!” Munster’s recent survey on iWatch interest disturbing. Alas, for all the wrong reason.

A team of researchers, led by senior analyst Gene Munster at investment firm Piper Jaffray, polled 799 US customers about their likelihood of buying an iWatch with a $350 price tag.

Twelve percent of respondents showed interest.

But what’s really disturbing is the fact that 799 people bothered to give an opinion about a product that no one knows anything about.

After more than a few ho-hum entries in its recent product lines, the iWatch simply doesn’t seem to be the game changer Apple needs in development right now.

Future Apple products exist in only two quantum states: failure and, well, abject failure.

Trigger happy

Writing for Yahoo Finance, Morgan Korn writes up the results of another episode of The Daily Ticker. It’s called that because of the stupidity-induced heart attacks it gives you.

Yes, the besuited three-person panel of Daily Ticker geniuses in the accompanying video say “Apple Could Have the Same Problem Steve Jobs Warned About 30 Years Ago” (tip o’ the antlers to Nick Sayer).

See, Steve Jobs apparently said once that Apple’s mistake in the 1980s was going for the high end instead of market share. You know, Steve Jobs also supposedly didn’t shower and ate only apples for a year, but that doesn’t make either of those right.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Apple is slashing fourth-quarter orders of its lower-priced iPhone 5C model because of weak demand.

Oh, no! If the Wall Street Journal reports it you know that it’s rock s—

“WSJ backpedals on iPhone 5c supply chain cuts story”


Well, you can’t blame the talking heads at The Daily Ticker for jumping on this like a bunch of salacious pundits on an anti-Apple bone, right? OK, that’s not a very good metaphor, since that’s exactly what happened, but you get the idea—inasmuch as the Macalope is literally telling you what went down.

The 5C, which has a plastic body and comes in four different colors, was supposed to help Apple expand its global market share and appeal to consumers who cannot afford Apple’s more expensive 5S model.

Is that what it was supposed to do? Or was it supposed to give the company a better margin on its mid-tier phone?

But Apple made a huge mistake on the 5C argues Yahoo Finance technology reporter Aaron Pressman.

Indeed, there is no denying the enormity of this “mistake” that is based off a Wall Street Journal report that has been walked back.

Apple is miscalculating again, Pressman says.

Yep, what’s happening at Apple right now is just like what happened there in the 1980s, and the technology industry is almost indistinguishable from what it was then, and market share is the only thing that companies should be worried about.

“They have to go back to the drawing board on what they’re doing at the low end,” he explains.

“I am wearing a suit so you know this advice is good.”

The 5C may not be a big winner with consumers but better-than-expected sales of the 5S model could actually give a boost to Apple for the next few quarters.

So, the high-margin phone is doing really well and will probably help Apple’s financial performance (like it needs any), but the company should go for market share. Does any of this make any sense?

“They’re still winning from the 5C even if it’s not selling well because they have more capacity to make the most profitable [iPhone],” he adds.

So, it’s a mistake and a miscalculation that needs to be completely redesigned …

… but it’s still a winner.

There’s probably at least $3000 worth of suits in that video. And not a penny of worthwhile analysis.


Let us pause for a moment, dear readers, to thank the valiant members of the investment and technology press for reminding everyone what Steve Jobs thought and would have done, for without them the people who actually knew him and worked with him would have no way of knowing.

Bloomberg’s Adam Satariano will now school Apple on what Jobs thought: “Jobs Right as Apple Customers Prefer 5s to Cheaper IPhone” (tip of the antlers again to @jonyiveparody):

Apple Inc. (AAPL) co-founder Steve Jobs, who emphasized high-end consumer gadgets over cheaper ones, may have been right all along.

So, for those of you who are following at home, the iPhone 5c is a failure both because Steve Jobs thought Apple should have gone for market share over the high end and because his strategy was emphasizing the high end. Got that?

No? OK, here, take these powerful hallucinogens and try it again. And just keep taking them until it makes sense.

Three surveys in the past two weeks said the company’s new high-end model is outselling the 5c by at least 2 to 1.

Apple sold 9 million iPhones over the devices’ opening weekend. If those surveys are correct, that means it sold around 3 million units of the iPhone 5c. The Macalope’s not sure what planet that’s a failure on, but it sure isn’t this one.

Customers are shrugging off the $99 iPhone 5c even as Apple spends heavily to advertise the handset …

Yes, 3 million in sales over a single weekend is the new “shrugging off.”

“Apple customers are still interested in premium products from a premium brand,” said Laurence Balter, an analyst at Oracle Investment Research in Fox Island, Washington. “If anything, the 5c is a failed experiment in trying to please the masses.”

Because Apple is selling more of the 5s, the 5c is a “failed experiment.”

Consumer Intelligence’s numbers, along with findings by Pacific Crest Securities LLC and Canaccord Genuity Inc., suggest that customers are viewing the 5c like they would older iPhone models. The first wave of customers typically flock to Apple’s latest device, rather than buying the cheaper version.

In other words, the iPhone 5c is for the long game. But we can totally tell it’s a failure after just two weeks.

Well, we’re about a thousand words into this piece, time to finally quote someone who makes sense:

The worries may be overblown because the ultimate success or failure of the iPhone 5c won’t be known for months, said Benedict Evans, an analyst at Enders Analysis in London.

“The question is what happens in six months’ time—does it fall off with the 5s or remain steady?”

Another lede well buried.

If only the performance reviews of everyone running around calling the iPhone 5c a “failure” could be inversely tied to the long-term performance of the 5c itself. Alas, punditry is a consequence-free industry.

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