The outrage gap: How Apple always gets top billing


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Attention pundits! Your Apple bias is showing. First, in outrage over bendable iPhones, then in a matter of security. Then we learn what Steve Jobs would have thought about Apple’s new product names. From some dude.

Getting bent

Writing for the Huffington Post, Shelly Palmer unleashes a charming euphemism to describe how Apple is treating its customers.

“Have an iPhone 6? Apple Says, ‘Bend Over’” (tip o' the antlers to @JonyIveParody)

Actually, aren’t they saying don’t bend over? You know, if you’re going to make a crude analogy you should at least have it make sense.

Right after the iPhone 4 was released (back in June 2010), people noticed that holding the device in a normal, natural way caused it to drop calls.

Wrong! It caused it to reduce reception which could cause it to drop calls. But, sure, let’s make it sound as bad as possible.

I remember this well because not only was it a fact that I personally verified...

“I have also verified that donuts are delicious.”

Unless you were off planet (or not paying attention in class) this past week, you’ve probably heard that the iPhone 6 has a “form-fitting” case that will shape itself to match your backside—if you keep the device in your back pocket.

And sit on it. Probably repeatedly. That’s kind of a key point, here. But, again, these fits don’t hissy themselves.

According to Apple, this is not true:

Palmer then goes on to quote Apple’s statement on the issue which, of course, says nothing of the sort. No, it says exactly what Consumer Reports said and what Square Trade said. It’s not a flimsy phone and you pretty much have to mistreat it to bend it.

Photographs do lie, but alas, the photographs of bent iPhones are mostly real.

Yes, and most of the ones the Macalope has seen are of phones that have been bent on purpose either out of sheer vandalism, Apple derangement syndrome, or link-baiting.

None of this is to say that the iPhone 6 Plus doesn’t bend under certain stresses. It obviously does. But a few instances out of the millions of devices sold isn’t necessarily indicative of an endemic problem.

I have received several phone calls from actual victims seeking help.

Victims? You mean you’ve been called by the phones that have been abused in this manner? That is sad.

Self-hypnosis is one thing, but making buyers of $400 – $950 smartphones bend over is something else entirely.

Because the fact that some people are able to bend their aluminum phones with what appears to be—according to several sources that tested this—considerable force is the same thing as receiving a sex act that we can’t discuss on a family web site. Or, maybe this is all just being made into a big deal because Apple.

Yeah, it’s actually the latter and you know how the Macalope knows it’s the latter?

“Samsung Galaxy Note 4 launch met with ‘screen gap’ manufacturing issue”

It appears Samsung’s launch of its new Galaxy Note 4 is running into issues with a number of early customers in Korea reporting a manufacturing problem causing a large gap between the display the frame of the device.

Now, you might have missed all the pieces on the national news stories about this and the late-night talk show jokes about it and the outcry from Huffington Post writers because, well, there weren’t any.

But don’t worry, because Samsung is on it.

This gap is a necessary manufacturing feature and some minor rocking or vibration of parts may occur...

In other words, if Samsung’s van-sized phone’s a-rockin’ because of a design flaw, don’t come a-knockin’ looking for a refund. It’s a feature.

So, Samsung’s phone ships like this but what we hear about is how people can bend their iPhones. Well, that’s typical.

Top billing

Still think the Macalope is kidding about this disparity? No, you probably don’t because you’re reading an Apple-centric site. It’s selection bias. But would it kill you to play along?


(There you go. Thanks for that.)

Well! Here’s more proof for you, unbeliever! Bloomberg’s Dune Lawrence and Micheal Riley say:

“Hackers Target Hong Kong Protesters via iPhones” (tip o' the antlers to papanic)

GASP. Now, take careful note of the devices listed in that headline. There is only one and it is the iPhone. You might want to jot that down. We’ll come back to it later.

In our digital age, geopolitics plays out in cyberspace...

“Cyberspace?” Hang on while the Macalope comically checks his calendar. Hang on while the horny one pages Prince because Lawrence and Riley are partying like it’s 1999. Hang on while this furry mythical beast pretends to accept a call from the late 1990s, in which the late 1990s are anthropomorphized and are demanding to have their words back. much as in physical space. The latest evidence comes straight from Hong Kong, where tens of thousands of pro-democracy demonstrators have been calling for the territory’s leader, C.Y. Leung, to resign. ...

China’s cyber spies have reacted as well, with malicious software designed to infiltrate demonstrators’ iPhones and Android devices.

Oh. So now it’s iPhones and Android devices. Well, that headline was super-long. Using “smartphones” instead of “iPhones” was probably out of the question. Those extra four characters cost money, you know.

Malware targeting iPhones is relatively rare.

Indeed! So how’s this one work?

Both Android and iOS are vulnerable, but iPhones can only be infected if they have been “jailbroken”...

So, let’s get this straight. Out of the box Android phones can be infected, but only jailbroken iPhones can be. Now, if you’re new around here you may not be aware that Android phones have more market share than the iPhone. It’s true. The iPhone’s market share is in the teens while Androids is, like, 4,000 percent or something. Jailbroken iPhones, in turn, represent a very small percentage of all iPhones. So, you kind of have to wonder which phones are really getting hacked in greater numbers here.

Let us now return to the headline of this article: “Hackers Target Hong Kong Protesters via iPhones.” What a long, twisted journey it’s been since then. Feels like ages ago! You looked so young! You’ve put on weight since we read that headline. But it looks good on you.

It’s only by paragraph 11 that we’re informed jailbreaking is only done by a few users. That’s right before this bomb of ridiculousness is dropped:

One theory is that the hackers have developed a way to jailbreak Apple devices remotely through some undisclosed vulnerability, Shaulov says. This is a possibility that he says is pure speculation—and scary, nonetheless.

It’s always the threats that are pure speculation that are the scariest. Like viper squirrels, the silent killers that strike from the trees. Pure speculation, but you’ll probably be giving trees a wide berth from now on.

Encase it in amber

It’s time for another look at the hot trend sweeping Punditlandia: Jobsplainin’.

“Why Steve Jobs Would Not Be Happy With Some Of Apple’s New Brand Names” (tip o' the antlers to weid1)

Isn’t it great that since Steve Jobs died, so many people who never even met him have taken the time to tell us what he would think about what Apple’s doing right now?

Ira Kalb assistant professor of clinical marketing at the Marshall School of Business of the University of Southern California and president of Kalb & Associates.

You know, the Macalope is president of Macalope & Associates. It’s not a real thing, but it’s his name so he can make it up if he wants to.

So, Kalb saw Apple’s 9/9 announcements and thought something was amiss with the names of the products announced: the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, Apple Watch, and Apple Pay.

At lease one of them makes perfect sense. The others seem inconsistent with Apple’s branding platform or branding logic.


Kalb’s all good with the iPhone 6, it’s the other three that are all wrong.

On the other hand, the name iPhone 6 Plus is problematic. A brand creates a problem for itself when it adds a “Plus” to a new product name. Why?

Because it’s larger?

A better option would be to call the one with the larger screen something such as iPhone 6 Panorama (or add some other word that connotes a bigger screen).

Like maybe... “Plus”?

Kalb suggests that the fact that pre-orders of the iPhone 6 Plus were constrained while it was easier to pre-order the iPhone 6 means people were ordering more Pluses because it has “Plus” in the name. Uh-huh. It surely couldn’t have anything to do with size or supply. That much we can all agree on.

Another bong hit?

Some may think Apple is copying its archrival

Google has been using the brand name Google+ for its social media network over the past three years.

[The Macalope turns to the camera and stares unblinking into it for 10 million years]

Perhaps the biggest surprise in its selection of brand names for its new products is Apple Watch. It deviates from the “i-single syllable” brand platform that Steve Jobs created to distinguish Apple’s innovative, groundbreaking products.

Like the MacBook Air.

The brand platform is violated.

To tell you the truth, the i-everything was becoming a cliché. It probably doesn’t matter, though, because people already call the iPod touch the iTouch. They’re probably going to call it the iWatch no matter what Apple says its name really is.

While it is a branding mistake, there may be compelling reasons for Apple to go with the Apple Watch name.

Never change anything. A brand is like the opposite of a shark. It must constantly not be moving forward in order to survive.

Which is exactly what Steve Jobs would have done, right? Yeah, that totally sounds like him.

[This piece was edited to remove an unfair cut at Kalb's title.]

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