Never not wrong: Saying Apple should ditch its chips

iPhones are great and people love them so Apple clearly needs some advice on how to make iPhones.


Today's Best Tech Deals

Picked by Macworld's Editors

Top Deals On Great Products

Picked by Techconnect's Editors

Apple better look out because right now it stands on the precipice of making a terrible mistake that could sink the company and…

Oh, jeez, this is by Rob Enderle. Sorry, false alarm.

Two Risky Strategies Could Threaten Apple’s Long-Term Survival (tip o’ the antlers to @JonyIveParody)

Wait, wait, let the Macalope guess. He’s gonna say, uh, texting while driving and assuming you can make a quart of Cherry Garcia last a whole week.

When Tim Cook handled Apple's supply chain, he was one of the company's greatest assets.

Presumably as opposed to now when he’s the Moe Howard of the company.

The problem is, as powerful as the company is, it doesn't have the R&D budget for processors that a processor company like Intel or Qualcomm does.

Uh-huh. As others have pointed out, Apple’s R&D budget is lower because it’s more focused. But more importantly, is this really Enderle’s point? That the A-series of chips is a drag on the company?

The end result is likely to be inferior to what the other vendors can do.

Apple is shipping phones that beat Intel-based desktop computers and Rob is worried that Apple can’t compete by developing its own processors.

Simply put, everything Rob writes about Apple is almost exactly backwards. We can argue over whether or not he believes these musings that read like a clown car owner’s manual or whether he’s simply trolling. The point is he is not so much a broken clock as a compass that points south.

For the type of ARM problem that led to the Apple [XcodeGhost] breach, there's only one fix currently available in the smartphone market -- and it's over at Qualcomm, which is the company virtually every other large cellphone company uses for core technology.

That link leads to Qualcomm’s marketing materials on the Snapdragon 820 and, really, what else do you need to know about its magical ability to stop userland attacks other than that? And, well, maybe the fact it doesn’t ship until next year, that Apple’s processors seemingly already have similar technologies and that smartphone vendors will have to build their own user interfaces to enable Qualcomm’s embedded malware identification technology. It’s not like Android phone makers have an unbroken track record of building user interfaces that make customers want to smash their phones against rocks and then throw them into the sea and then fish them out of the sea using very expensive deep sea submersibles just so they can carefully dry them out and then light them on fire.

Now, just for laughs, let’s look at Rob’s list of clients and… yeaaah. Qualcomm’s on there. Of course.

The Macalope pointed security consultant and author of a detailed article on XcodeGhost, Rich Mogull, to Enderle’s piece and he had this to say:

He is categorically wrong and shows a fundamental misunderstanding of the XcodeGhost attack.

So, you know, there’s that.

Enderle is a one-man truth-wrecking machine.

…it seems unlikely that Apple can mitigate these problems alone.

Addressing Chinese bandwidth constraints on Xcode downloads, forcing developers to use trusted downloads and adding digital signatures to Xcode, all the things Mogull suggests in his article, these are all things that are utterly impossible for the world’s largest technology company to accomplish. Clearly the only answer is to switch processors. Also probably convert to Android. And, well, might as well convert the Mac to Windows while you’re at it.

Basically just go out of business. That’s where the smart money is. That’d be oddly convenient for Rob’s clients. Surely just a coincidence.

That raises the specter of next year's new iPhones being the only premium phones vulnerable to attacks like this.

Right. No other phones are vulnerable to… you know, is there anything on TV right now? Anything at all? The Macalope would even take an old Scooby Doo episode, even though it’s a cartoon with a laugh track. Seriously, are we supposed to believe it was animated in front of a live studio audience or something? What the…?

The other thing Enderle thinks could be a problem for Apple is lock-in.

The company eventually stops growing the number of customers, and the executives realize the easiest way to grow revenue is to mine its customers for money.

Sure, that sounds like Apple.

Apple is nowhere near that phase yet, and I doubt it will get there this decade -- but if this outcome isn't aggressively mitigated, one of Apple's biggest assets could eventually kill it.

In other words, if Apple becomes not Apple, it will be in trouble. That certainly is food for thought. If your brain’s looking to lose weight.

(Disclosure: The Macalope does some writing and editing work for Rich Mogull.)

Note: When you purchase something after clicking links in our articles, we may earn a small commission. Read our affiliate link policy for more details.
Shop Tech Products at Amazon