Just your typical launch: Apple sells lots of devices, pundits see doom


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Apple had yet another terrific launch weekend, selling 10 million iPhone 6 and 6 Pluses. So, let’s of course obsess over what went wrong. First, you know Apple’s got problems because this guy on the TV said they do. Then we’ll thrill to the tale of the guy who might return his iPhone 6! Finally, if you can compile a list of things wrong with Apple, well, then you know things are really bad.

The guy on TV says

If we’re going to get to the root of Apple’s problem (shh, just play along), how better to do it than to get some guy we’ve never heard of to talk about the company for a couple of minutes on TV? Fortunately, Bloomberg has you covered with this interview with author Milo Yiannopoulos.

“iPhone Problems Risk Making Apple Like Microsoft: Author” (tip o’ the antlers to TechnoLawyer)

“What?!” you say. “Someone who wrote a book is on TV saying incendiary things about Apple?! Fascinating!” Indeed! Why, a cynical person might be led to believe that these comments were some kind of publicity stunt to generate news and try to sell books, since exactly the same tactic has been executed over and over and over again. It’s a good thing we’re not so jaded as to be led to such depressing conclusions, though.

One of Yiannopoulus’s first charges is that Apple has shown its “spreading waistline” by picking U2 to headline its 9/9 event. Well, the horny one certainly isn’t going to defend anything about Apple’s relationship with U2, but if it’s a knock against Apple, it’s a knock that was also true under Steve Jobs. And Yiannopoulus’s whole shtick here is how totes lame the company is since Jobs died.

It should be pointed out that expanding-midriff Apple is also the company that Dr. Dre and Trent Reznor work for. So, it’s not all mini-vans and soccer meets and heart attacks.

You will no doubt be very surprised to learn that Yiannopoulus is decidedly not impressed by the Apple Watch, which, he says, “clearly hasn’t set people’s imagination alight. It’s clearly not a transformative product in the way that previous products were.”

Totally, right? I mean, have you even seen anyone wearing one? The Macalope hasn’t. Obviously it’s a failure. QED.

Then, of course, we’ve got a problem with this phone, which, you know, is so gigantic...

Apple’s phones are too big! It’s so obvious! Gah! So stupid! Who told them to make the phone so big?!

... and yet it bends if it’s in your pocket...

Just having it in your pocket bends the phone! Remember, he’s on TV news. He’s supposed to over-simplify things to the point where they lose all meaning.

It’s been a bit of a catastrophe for Apple.

Just a bit of a catastrophe. Like a bit of an armaggedon or a bit of a Ragnarok. Apple says only nine people have complained about bent iPhone 6 Pluses. But on the other hand, Yiannopoulus says it’s a catastrophe. Perhaps the truth lies somewhere between “nine” and “catastrophe”.

This was make or break. It was supposed to be the moment in which we found out if Apple could still be...

Now Yiannopoulus has gone too far for host Guy Johnson.

Make or break, that’s a bit agressive, isn’t it? Apple has sold huge numbers of these phones. Yes, it’s had a couple of glitches, yes the phone may be in certain people’s pockets it’s going to be bending. Is that the... this isn’t going to break the company, is it?

These shows should really come with some kind of trap door. And a pit filled with vipers.

No, but what we mean by “make or break” is can the company still set the agenda and create and release transformative products that everybody is talking about?

Asked the guy who is literally on TV talking about the products. So, in other words, by “make or break,” the royal “we” do not mean “make or break” at all. “We” (Queen Elizabeth wave) means something else.

Got it.

...the Watch: incredibly safe design. Precisely the problem is they haven’t taken risks like they did with the iPod...

The iPod? See, the iPod is probably the device most analogous to the Watch. It’s entering an existing but small market that’s characterized by a series of complete clunkers that have failed to catch on with the public in general. And, just like with the original iPod, Apple’s offering only works with its own devices.

But, please, carry on with your “Less space than a Nomad. Lame.”-level analysis. (That Slashdot post is the gift that keeps on giving.)

I mean when they introduced the iPad, it was an extraordinary thing because there’d been tablets around for years and they’d never taken off.

And, yet, everyone said “It’s just a big iPhone!”

Apple’s design philosophy is becoming infantalized [sic]. ... If Windows Phone is the sort of thing you give elderly people and children, Apple’s becoming the sort of thing that you give the drooling, inbred neighbor that can’t work a washing machine.

Right. That’s Apple’s key demographic. 50 million drooling, inbred neighbors a quarter.

I mean, it’s so ugly and so awful that it’s turning into the phone for people who can’t work phones.

Yiannopoulos has now reached the “wildly flailing” stage of the interview, where he’s so desperate to land a punch he’s just throwing things out there even if they don’t make any sense. Apple must take risks, but their risky redesign of their flagship operating system is “ugly” and “awful.” Because it has to be, right? It’s incredibly popular, more and more people buy into it every quarter, so it must be deemed objectively ugly and just for the rubes. Otherwise his whole argument falls to the ground.

The Beats deal was interesting because it was an admission of failure. ... Apple’s never been good at making cloud software so it brought some in.

Is that the only reason it bought Beats or did it buy talent as well?

That was a really humiliating admission of defeat on Apple’s part and it would never have happened under Steve Jobs.

And you would know. Because you wrote a book, after all.

Thrilling tales of iPhone usage

Really, the only word we need to know on the success of the iPhone 6 will come from Business Insider, right?

You were thinking that. The Macalope was thinking that. So, let’s go to Business Insider‘s Jay Yarow.

“I Just Got The iPhone 6 Plus And I’m Already Thinking About Returning It” (link generated by DoNotLink.com, with a tip o’ the antlers to Rich Siegel)

Oh. No. How terrible. Please. Say it isn’t so. Not that. Stop. It’s too much to take. Cease. Desist. We implore you. Have mercy.

There was literally nobody on the planet more excited for Apple’s first phablet than me.

Seriously, does anyone believe that even for a minute?

Yarow then goes into the riveting story of how he decided to order the iPhone 6. It’s 87 words of suspense worthy of Jean Le Carré.

Not the author, the French pastry chef.

It arrived Wednesday...


...and my initial impression—30 minutes in—was...






...after ~12 hours with it, I have more mixed emotions.

More updates every 12 hours as this breaking situation evolves.

I am now wondering if this phone is too big for me and my day-to-day usage.

Sooooo, let the Macalope get this straight. A dude who writes for Business freaking Insider, land of Apple being doomed for not making a “phablet,” thinks their new, bigger phone is too big.

Does the Macalope have that right? Because if so he’s gonna need a lot more tables to flip.

I am wondering if in a week I’ll be at the Apple Store, returning the phone.

“I am wondering something” is more than enough to base a Business Insider article on. Really, that’s more of a Business Insider centerpiece. An enterprise project that they let a writer devote six months to. He won’t answer the question, of course, but he’ll write a lot of copy about how he’s wondering, where he’s wondering, and his various stages of wonderment.

I am 6-foot-1, and I think I have the hands that correspond with that size.

OK, but do you have all the right junk in all the right places?

Well, I was sitting on my couch watching TV...

Go on.

[eyebrow arch]

...and it turns out I use my phone with just one hand a lot!

Wow! So many amazing revelations in one piece! Do we dare read on for fear of exploding with excitement?

Here’s the best analogy I can think of for describing the new sort of motions needed to navigate this big phone: Have you ever tried to move around on the ground without using your arms? You end up shuffling using your butt.

Wh-what? Did he mean legs instead of arms? Is Yarow just not familiar with how the human body works? Or has this article somehow made words stop holding their intrinsic meaning?

To be clear, I am not returning it—at least not yet.

Is there some place where we can get a minute-by-minute ticker of your thoughts about the iPhone 6 Plus?

You know, just so we can stay as far away from that place as possible?

It’s probably his Twitter feed. Just to be on the safe side, we should have it taken to a remote location and detonated.

Never before

Let’s stay on Business Insider (because we love it so much) and take a look at Jim Edwards’ latest collection of tropes bundled up and thrown on the doorstep of the world like it’s news.

“Suddenly, Apple Just Looks Accident-Prone” (tip o’ the antlers to Scott Anderson)

This article brought to you by the ridiculous impression that Apple historically has never made any mistakes and all software launches it has ever done in previous years went off without a hitch.

You know, the impression that launches articles like this every year.

The screwups at Apple keep on coming.

Sure. Uh-huh. Yep. Sing it, sister.

Apple’s launch of iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus has been dogged by these unfortunate incidents:

Wait, you’re just going to list them? Is the slideshow generation machine at Business Insider on the fritz or something? Come on, Jim, that’s just leaving money on the table!

Apple has pulled the update to iOS 8, the mobile operating system that disabled some phones from making calls.

Indeed! Embarrassing. But how many phones did it affect? Apparently about 40,000, which is a lot, but not percentage-wise. Also, iOS 8.0.2 is already out. So... not exactly the influenza epidemic of 1918.

In addition, users found a ton of smaller bugs in iOS 8, like keyboards that suddenly disappear.

They literally found 2,000 pounds of bugs. People can’t even pick up their phones. I will name one such bug to prove there are very many bugs. Then I will move on.


The Macalope’s penalizing you ten yards for unnecessary hash-tagging.

People discovered that the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus can get bent, and stay that way.

You know who else can get bent and stay that way?

None of its competitors do that.

Patently false.

This is classic Apple derangement syndrome. Because one YouTube video maker bent one iPhone and could not bend one other Samsung device, no products competing against Apple are bendable. Not worth acknowledging is the fact that people who did some more rigorous testing say you kinda really have to try to bend the iPhone 6 Plus.

Some iPhone users got annoyed that Apple replaced the “camera roll” photo album on their iPhones with a “recently added” folder...

Pro tip: Always nest that “bottom of the barrel” item in the middle of the list instead of putting it at the end where it looks so obvious. Although, if that was the bottom of the barrel, this next one is about 90,000 feet under the barrel, in the fantastical, glittering kingdom of the Mole People.

Apple upset law enforcement officials by saying that “it’s not technically feasible for us to respond to government warrants for the extraction of this data from devices in their possession running iOS 8.”

That’s right, telling your customers that you’ll protect their data is an Apple “screwup” in Jim Edwards’ eyes. Do you really need to know anything else about this list? The other items—having to deal with Chinese bureaucracy, the livestream trouble, and the theft of celebrity photos—are nothing new and nothing that Apple won’t recover from.

To release an operating system update that prevents a phone from being used as a phone, and then to retract it, is a shocker.

Certainly every prior Apple software release has been completely flawless.

Apple is the company in which everything “just works,” the brand that prides itself on being thoughtful and careful and obsessed with details.

And its slip is showing.

The only slip that’s showing is the one worn by our intrepid pundit corps that runs to the fainting couch every time Apple makes mistakes. They happen. It would be nice if they didn’t. But to pretend that they never had before and that these are ubiquitous and unprecedented? Please.

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