The Macalope Weekly: In theory


Today's Best Tech Deals

Picked by Macworld's Editors

Top Deals On Great Products

Picked by Techconnect's Editors

The theory has always been that Apple devices are just made better. The startling truth may surprise you! But probably not. Speaking of theories (which is what we’re doing this week), Apple should totally be competing against failed ones that its competitors are using to not sell many devices. That’s a sure-fire ticket to non-success. Finally, the open-source community isn’t so much theory-based as it is based on magical thinking.

A problem of definition

The Boy Genius [sic] Report’s Zach Epstein unveils the deep, dark secret behind Apple devices.

“Apple’s iPhones look great and iPads feel amazing, but are they really high-quality devices?”

Hey, he’s managed to turn Betteridge’s Law on its head! That’s something, at least. Nothing to put on your resume, but something.

It’s a simple truth: no other mass-market consumer electronics devices on the planet look and feel like Apple’s iPhone handsets and iPad tablets.

So far, so good.

The company’s designs are gorgeous, the materials it uses are a cut above the rest, and the end results are devices that are sleeker than anything the competition has managed to come up with.

Anyone else waiting for a big but?

Apple gadgets undoubtedly look and feel more premium than anything the competition has come up with, but …

Ah, there we go.

… are they really sturdier and built with more care than rival phones and tablets?

These are separate questions. A Fabergé egg is built with tremendous care, but it’s not sturdier than a golf ball. But let’s conflate the two because the evil maw of baloney technology coverage must be fed! FEAST, EVIL MAW OF BALONEY TECHNOLOGY COVERAGE! FEAST, ALTHOUGH YOU WILL ONLY BE TEMPORARILY SATED.

According to a battery of tests performed by SquareTrade Europe, Apple’s consumer gadgets are among the most breakable devices in the world.

Where by “among the most breakable” Epstein means pretty much “just as breakable as Samsung and Google/Motorola devices.” Because those are the only companies on this list.

In fact, not only was Apple’s iPad mini declared the single most breakable device in the world, but Apple’s phones and tablets actually managed to occupy four out of the top 10 slots in SquareTrade’s ranking of the most breakable consumer devices on the market.

Yeah, and of the other six, three were made by Samsung and three by Google/Motorola.

How much more breakable was the iPad mini compared to the next most breakable device, the Samsung Galaxy S4? It’s impossible to say, given the subjective nature of the ranking. The iPad mini scored a 7.5 and the S4 a 7. What makes up that 0.5 difference?


Apparently the lesson we’re supposed to be left with is that, when buying a tablet or smartphone, make sure to get one that’s not made by Apple, Samsung, or Google. In other words, get the crappiest possible user experience you can. Live a sub-standard life, always dissatisfied with everything around you, but safe in the knowledge that your device might break just slightly less. You’ll probably never actually break it because you’ll never be carrying it around. Devices stuck in drawers somewhere are really the most durable devices.

Allow the Macalope to suggest that this list is more about getting list maker SquareTrade, which offers extended warranties on devices, in the news than it is about anything else. Maybe the iPad mini is the most fragile mobile device; the Macalope doesn’t really have any reason to doubt that it is. But one thing’s for sure: No one would have written up SquareTrade’s results if the Galaxy S4 were on the top of the list.

Playing the wrong game

Not to be outdone, Epstein’s BGR colleague Brad Reed tells us “How Apple could beat Windows 8 at its own game” (tip o’ the antlers to Shawn King).

What game is that? The game of sucking?

As it turns out, Apple’s almost past Microsoft in number of computers sold, so how much harder is Apple supposed to beat Microsoft?

Microsoft’s vision for the future of computing—having one platform across multiple different device types—has always been intriguing.

Unless you’re actually buying a device to use, in which case not so much.

Where it’s slipped up, however, has been its execution.

But the theory is great. Theoretically. And theories are what Apple should be trying to beat, not execution.

Uhhh … yeah.

… AppleInsider points us to a new research note from JPMorgan that suggests Apple’s “next big thing” will be a more powerful version of iOS that will try to execute Microsoft’s Windows 8 vision of having one consistent platform capable of running on both small mobile devices and big, powerful devices that have PC-like capabilities.

Allow the Macalope to suggest that an analyst at J.P. Morgan knows about as much about Apple’s new product development as a goat knows about three-dimensional chess. Reed, however, simply takes it as fact that Apple will be doing what the goat says it will be doing.

Now, there will obviously be some differences between how Apple goes about this and how Microsoft went about it.

For example, Apple is most likely not doing this at all. That’s just one of the ways their implementations will be different.

In particularly, JPMorgan thinks that the introduction of 64-bit processors to the iPhone and the iPad is paving the way for Apple to introduce a keyboard-equipped iPad model in the next 12 to 18 months that’s powerful enough to run standard Mac applications.

Great, so Apple can sell more $500 iPads instead of $999 MacBook Airs. There’s so much to like about this idea, other than its complete lack of foundation in any kind of concrete evidence.

The upshot of this, says JPM, is that Apple will become more of a Microsoft-style “devices and services” company whereas today it’s more of a devices company.

Yeah, because God knows that’s not working out for Apple, so it really needs to come up with something else quick.

“Apple could generate revenue through the sale of specifically configured displays, iAnywhere-capable iPhones or iPads, and cloud-based software and storage services.”

Because it’s sooo good at cloud-based software and storage services.

It’s become trite to say “Gosh, I wonder how I could get a job being a Wall Street analyst and get paid to make up ridiculous crap about Apple all day long?”

But, seriously, how could the Macalope get in on that? Because that sounds pretty sweet.

You wish

Sometimes it’s instructive to look back at what people were saying a few years ago and see how they were wrong.

Sorry, did the Macalope say “instructive”? He meant fun.

According to Good Technology, the iPad now has 91.4 percent of the enterprise tablet market. 91.4 percent!

The Macalope’s no statistician, but that’s a lot of percent. If he’s not mistaken, it’s almost all of the percents.

But, wait, this cannot be correct. Because the Macalope distinctly remembers hearing how Android was poised to take over the enterprise. Hmm, let’s see, where was that? Allow the horny one a minute to flip back through his gigantic collection of ridiculous punditry, which he prints out and keeps categorized by a complicated laughability index of his own design, cross-referenced with … ah! Here it is!

“Android Tablets Beating Out iPad in Business and IT: Report”

For future purchases … Android was clearly the preferred choice, with 44 percent of respondents saying they’d choose a device that uses the Linux-based operating system.

That was PCWorld’s Katherine Noyes, writing back in July of 2012 about the creeping doom that constantly threatens to swallow Apple whole. Aaaand strangely never seems to amount to much. Possibly because that’s not actually what the results said. It said 44 percent of first-time tablet buyers said they’d be getting Android tablets.

Of course, the Macalope helpfully pointed out at the time that Noyes was making Android mountains out of nonexistent Android mole hills, but what are you going to do? Crazy punditry is an unstoppable force of nature, much like a tsunami, or a black hole, or Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.

(By the way, contrary to popular misconception, The Rock was not in the 1996 movie The Rock. Good thing, too, as that would have created a force feedback loop of ridiculousness that would have destroyed the universe.)

It is, of course, completely true that Android devices have far more market share in general than iOS devices. And it’s true that Good Technologies can only track enterprise deployments where its software is in use, which probably tend to be medium to large companies. But it’s also true that if wishes were open-source horses then Linux would be a freaking unicorn/pegasus hybrid, baby!

But it’s not just wishful thinking that fuels the open-source community. It’s also a healthy dose of paranoia. Now writing for Linux Insider, Noyes’s most recent Valentine to Apple accuses the company of gobbling up obscure Linux distributions.

“The Case of the Missing OS, or Did Apple Eat Pear?”

Turns out Pear, which was a Mac OS-themed Linux distribution—an homage or, as the French say, a “rip off”—was bought out by some big, nameless technology company and ZOMG it must be that dastardly Apple, oh, how we hates them, my precious.

Why Apple would reward Pear’s developers with a truckload of cash instead of suing them into a soft, gelatinous blob is quite beyond the Macalope. Apparently when your mobile platform is a “walled garden”—which is like the worst thing ever—there is no understanding what acts of evil chicanery you might commit.

Or, rather, there’s no reason to try to understand. It is enough to recognize that you are the sum of all evils and leave it at that.

Note: When you purchase something after clicking links in our articles, we may earn a small commission. Read our affiliate link policy for more details.
Shop Tech Products at Amazon