Redefining 'better': It now means 'worse'


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Here’s a secret to Apple doom analysis. If words don’t mean what you want them to mean, just redefine them.

Like Business Insider does here:

“Alibaba just invested $590 million in a company that makes a dirt cheap iPhone 5c clone better than Apple’s”

Make sure you stay until the unbelievable plot twist: It’s not actually better.

Whoops. Spoiler. But in the Macalope’s defense, the spoiler comes almost immediately.

The M1 Note has been described as an iPhone 5c “on steroids” by Engadget.

It has better specs! A larger screen, a camera with more pixels and probably some other thing!

Unfortunately, just like with people who take steroids, Meizu’s devices have some “performance issues”.

Battery life and camera quality are disappointing and operating system is riddled with bugs.

Other than that, how was the smartphone, Mrs. Lincoln?

The resemblance is uncanny: the phone comes in the exact same pink, blue, green, yellow, and white color options as Apple’s cheapest smartphone.

Wow! What a coincidence! Surely this is just the natural evolution of smartphone design. Meizu certainly wouldn’t have any trouble selling them in the U.S.

Note to Business Insider: If the thing is a cheap knockoff of the iPhone, there’s nothing “uncanny” about the resemblance. It’s entirely can-able.

But here’s where the similarities end—Meizu’s phone is much cheaper and more powerful than the iPhone 5c.

Well, sure. Who cares if it’s a complete piece of garbage, it’s cheaper and it has better specs. Aren’t you listening? Ugh, you Apple zombies with your blindless faith to your religion of things working better and having a better user experience. Will you never learn? Learn to love shoddy but cheaper experiences?

This is, of course, just typical Business Insider jerkbaggery. Do they really think it’s better? It doesn’t matter. What matters to them is getting Apple in a headline in a negative light. Mission accomplished.

But this idea—that easy-to-define things like price and specs are the only way to evaluate the relative merit of a device—is pervasive. It’s so pervasive that you can get a sweet gig writing for the Harvard Business Review to make the point that all people want are cheaper phones and market share is all that matters. The cheap commodity theory of success is the Piña Colada song of insidious market dynamics earworms.

Have you listened to that song recently, by the way? Good God, is it horrible. Unlike every other song on Awesome Mix Vol. #1, that is a bad, bad song. When the robots eventually arise to destroy us, all they will have to do is point to that song and we’ll just say “Welp” and lie down submissively in their energy-harvesting tubes.

If you’re writing an article that claims a cheap device is set to destroy the Apple device it competes against by virtue of its cheapness, stop. You have no idea how Apple succeeds and are probably better off writing about something else.

Or at least we’d be better off if you wrote about something else.

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