Logical sandcastles


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Pundits make such pretty sandcastles. But why do they make them so close to the shore? This week we’ll look at statements that quickly collapse under, well, if not their own weight then surely the raging tide of reality. Which, OK, is kind of what we do every week. But you try to make up a lead-in paragraph for these things one week after another. It’s hard.

Former biggest fan ever

CNN’s David Goldman explains “Why I broke up with Apple” (tip o’ the antlers to James Reberry).

Oh! Is it because you realized that you’re a human being and Apple is a corporation and it’s super weird to pretend to be having a “more than friends” relationship with a company?

Boy, people who make grandiose platform switches sure do have weird relationship issues, don’t they? They also apparently don’t know when a construction becomes utterly played out.

Disclosure: I used to be a big Apple fan.


Boy, you could have fooled the Macalope. Were you a “big fan” in 2010 when you bemoaned the lack of Flash on iOS? How about in 2011 when you said Apple needed to “kill it” with the iPad 2 because the Motorola Xoom was super-awesome? Maybe you’re thinking of last year when you said the iPhone was played out? The Macalope’s having a tough time finding your Apple fandom heyday.

I still remember how giddy I was when I got my green iPod Mini in 2004, my fifth-generation iPod in 2006, my MacBook in 2007 and my iPhone 4S in 2011.

But love fades.

For all its glitz and glam, the iPhone had a lot of features I didn’t need (see: Air Drop, Passbook, Airplay, Photo Stream and iTunes Radio).

And just not using them is apparently out of the question.

So, this is a first, though. Pundits are usually railing against Apple for not jamming features into its devices.

But mostly, it just didn’t do enough of the stuff that I really cared about.

What I really need is a phone that understands the binary language of moisture vaporators.

In October, I bought a Motorola Moto X. I love it. It’s by far the most useful gadget I’ve ever owned. I can check the time just by taking the phone out of my pocket.

Which you would certainly never attempt to do with an iPhone! Ha-ha! As if!

When I want to change directions while I’m driving, I don’t hit any buttons—I literally just speak to my phone …

And there certainly aren’t any intangible costs, like the phone sending all your data to Google, who then uses it to sell you to advertisers! Well, at least none that Goldman feels are worth noting.

I could go on. The point: Google just seems to understand me better than Apple.

I don’t mind being bought and sold like cigarettes in a federal penitentiary! Google gets that!

I love my Windows 8 laptops much more than I ever enjoyed my MacBook, which died three years ago. I ended up buying an Acer notebook and a Surface tablet. Or is it a tabtop? (Laplet?).


Windows 8 isn’t perfect, but I’m growing to really like it.

Hey, Microsoft! We found that one guy!

On my laptops, when I want to open an app, I literally just start typing the name, hit enter, and it starts running.

It is quite possible that Goldman simply doesn’t know how to use Apple devices.

There is nothing better for watching Netflix in bed than the Surface, with its kickstand and screen optimized for HD videos.

Although, having to get up and dance every five minutes is kind of a pain.

The MacBook is a great computer, but I don’t need to pay MacBook prices to do those things.

Entry level price of the 2014 MacBook Air: $899. Entry level price of the 2014 Surface Pro with a keyboard: $928.

I also opted for a Google (GOOG, Fortune 500) Chromecast video streamer for my TV over an Apple TV.

Why, one might say your devotion to divesting yourself from Apple was almost religious! One could argue you’re practically a zealot about it! Ha-ha!

On Monday, Apple is expected to unveil iOS 8 and possibly a new Apple TV, Macbooks, smart home initiative and an iWatch. I’ll be reporting on it—and I’ll let you know if Tim Cook & Co. showed me enough to bring me back into the fold.


Only Apple

Writing for PandoDaily, Carmel Deamicis warns “China is overtaking the U.S. in mobile phone sales, which is mostly just a problem for Apple” (tip o’ the antlers to Peter Matthaei).

Do you even have to say that? Don’t all threats exist only to destroy Apple?

Who loses as China gets bigger? Mostly just Apple.

Well, sure. Apple would also lose if China stayed the same, got smaller, or turned into a gigantic Jell-O parfait.

The company has notoriously struggled with traction in the huge country because there’s more app options on Android for Chinese users, and the iPhone prices are too high for the typical Chinese consumer.

Apple’s prices are too high for a lot of customers. That’s what’s called “taking the high end of the market.” It’s also what allows it to take most of the profit. Apple’s continuing to do the same thing in China and it’s actually showing growth there.

The Apple 5c was rumored to be the company’s big play for the price-conscious Chinese buyers.

Awww, that is some fine construction. See how easy it is to construct an argument that Apple cannot help but lose? It was “rumored” to be. Of course, Apple didn’t intend it for that purpose, but when you’re baking a fail cake, sometimes you have to use the ingredients you have on hand.

Let’s just completely forget that Apple sells a cheaper smartphone in China, the iPhone 4S.

But as we all know, that launch went over like a dud …

Still, somehow Apple managed to record 17 percent growth in iPhone sales in China for the first calendar quarter of this year.

Apple stumped analysts and itself by posting better than expected revenue last quarter, largely due to increased sales in China.

But if those sales stagnate …

Does any other company get coverage like this? “Things are good. But if they suddenly aren’t …

… it’s a further sign that the iPhone may not be the company’s biggest breadwinner in the future.

Yes, markets mature. Apple’s modus operandi is to stake out the high end of a market and take all the profit, then go on and revolutionize another market and do the same. Now, you can argue that it’s hard to see where else Apple’s going to be able to get the kind of growth it got out of smartphones, but the Macalope will point out that before Apple entered them, few people thought digital music players or tablets would be the markets they’ve ended up being.

Given all of the above, the significance of the expanding Chinese telecom industry becomes clear. Apple needs to start dominating in China, or run the risk of sounding its growth death knoll [sic].

Uh-huh. Because all it’s going to make ever again is smartphones.

Right and wrong at the same time

This logical sandcastle is right in the headline. Isn’t that convenient?

“Apple Seeks To Regain Cool With $3B Beats Buy”

The Macalope doesn’t know the Associated Press’s Michael Liedtke, but he wouldn’t take the advice of someone who goes to Rob Enderle for an Apple-related quote on what’s cool. Because that is definitely not cool. He doesn’t go to the Enderle well this time, but he does go to a well that feeds from the same cholera-ridden aquifer.

Yukari Iwatani Kane, the author of “Haunted Empire,” an inside look at Apple since co-founder Jobs’ death, also sees a disconnect.

Kane questions a move by Apple? Well, now the Macalope has seen … uh, basically all we’ve ever seen from Kane, ever.

Did you guys know she wrote a book about Apple? She wrote a whole book so she must know what she’s talking about when every word that comes out of her mouth is about how Apple’s doing everything wrong. Which, coincidentally, was the theme of the book.

“Culturally, Beats is the complete opposite of Apple,” Kane says. “It’s known for being loud and bold and in your face. It doesn’t fit with Apple’s understated, discerning brand.”

Did Kane never once receive an in-your-face email from Steve Jobs? That’s kind of a shame. But despite their similarities in being premium brands that emphasize style and ease of use, maybe there is a difference in culture—even if the horned one would not go so far as to call them polar opposites. That said, maybe part of the point is to inject another element into Apple’s culture. In other words, maybe the difference is a feature and not a bug.

This is how you can be right and wrong at the same time.

Which brings the Macalope to another subject! Dan Lyons responded to last week’s piece on his Beats story, firing back on Twitter after the deal was confirmed:

I guess I owe Macalope an apology? Oh wait no I don’t.

The thing is, Dan, the Macalope never said you or Walter Isaacson were wrong about Apple acquiring Beats and making Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre executives. If anything, the horny one’s gone out of his way to defend this deal as an acquihire, so why would he disagree with that?

No, no, no. What he was saying is that you’ve been willfully wrong about Apple so many times and your coverage of the company is so rife with tired and phony shots at “the Apple faithful” that there’s no reason why anyone should listen to you.

See? There’s a difference.

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