The Macalope Weekly: All not-so-good things must come to an end
By The Macalope, Macworld
[Editors’ Note: Each week the Macalope skewers the worst of the week’s coverage of Apple and other technology companies. In addition to being a mythical beast, the Macalope is not an employee of Macworld. As a result, the Macalope is always free to criticize any media organization. Even ours.]
iPad competitors don’t seem to be doing so well so it’s time to make some up! Then the Macalope consoles the Winotaur over the death of the Zune. Well, “consoles” is probably the wrong word. “Mocks” is probably closer. And Jon Bon Jovi fondly remembers all the ways the music business used to be able to take your money before Steve Jobs ruined everything.
Tablet fantasy league
We’ve had failware and vaporware competitors to the iPad, but now we’ve got imagineware. Forrester Research’s Sarah Rotman Epps, noting that the iPad competitors have been lackluster to date, asked analysts to opine on whether or not Amazon could waltz in where others have stumbled over their oversized clown shoes.
Amazon.com, by contrast, could create an Android- or Linux-based tablet to connect users to Amazon’s storefront, including its forthcoming Android App Store, said Epps.
It’s true that Amazon is a terrific retailer, but its online retail experience is not completely comparable to the App Store, at least not yet. The reason the App Store works is because the things that are sold on it complement the device you’re making the purchase from. Nobody’s going to be jazzed by a device that lets you buy a George Foreman Grill faster.
But Amazon does have digital music, video, and its Android app store is said to be close to done. The online retailer may soon be in a position to provide a viable ecosystem.
So, maybe it is a good candidate to create the first tablet that would make Apple break a sweat. But it’s hysterical that here we are, a year after the iPad’s release, and, according to the tech industry analysts, the best alternative is a company that not only isn’t shipping a tablet, it’s one that hasn’t announced a tablet or even expressed an interest in developing a tablet.
Epps polled consumers and found the carrier-subsidy model leverage by those tablet makers is unappealing to consumers.
Wha-what?! But the Macalope has always understood from the silly pundits of the world that the contract was iPad-killing awesome because it made the device seem cheaper, even if in reality it was actually robbing you of your personal freedoms and possibly your bodily fluids. Aren’t consumers aware of the many benefits of long-term commitments to cellular companies?
Where have you gone, Brett Arends? A nation turns its lonely eyes to you.
WINOTAUR: Anyway, nobody buys digital music players anymore. The action’s all in smartphones now and the Zune software’s going to live on.
MACALOPE: Yeah, there’s something to that, but you have to let the Macalope revel in this moment. Because he had to put up with an incredible amount of dime store analysis about how it would be an iPod killer. Do you remember the rumor that Microsoft was going to just give everyone the same songs they already had in iTunes for free via some magical conversion utility? Because Microsoft could just do that because they have sooo much money? Oh, God, that was funny!
WINOTAUR: OK, fine. Go ahead and have your fun. Just remember, I’m going to be here when Apple hits the trough, even if it takes 100 years. Because, remember, we’re mythical creatures.
MACALOPE: That is one of the drawbacks of immortality, isn’t it?
“Kids today have missed the whole experience of putting the headphones on, turning it up to 10, holding the jacket, closing their eyes and getting lost in an album; and the beauty of taking your allowance money and making a decision based on the jacket, not knowing what the record sounded like, and looking at a couple of still pictures and imagining it.”
The horror of waking up the day after a trip to the record store to find your arm around Get The Nack! Those moments of allowance-blowing remorse build character!
The dumb thing about this argument is that you can still do almost all of this with the iTunes Store. Just without the creepy cardboard caressing.
“I hate to sound like an old man now…”
Thats too bad because you’re doing a terrific impression of one.
“…but I am, and you mark my words, in a generation from now people are going to say: ‘What happened?’ Steve Jobs is personally responsible for killing the music business.”
Right. You know, the Macalope worked in a terrific independent record store while in college and he remembers those days fondly. The music, the posters, the Vans, the characters who shopped there, and the characters who worked there. He also remembers buying and getting stuck with a whole bunch of really lousy music.
Steve Jobs didn’t kill the music business. It was dying long before iTunes or the iPod came along. Even if he had, there’s a big difference between killing the music business and killing music. If there were ever a dog that needed to be put down it was the music business.