Upside down: Portraying Apple’s strengths as a weakness


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What is it about our culture that prompts us to write stories that tell you that thing you think is true is not only not true but the exact opposite is true?

Writing for the Washington Post, Hayley Tsukayama warns us of “The catch-22 that could hurt Apple down the road.” (Tip o’ the antlers to SamT.)

Despite my iPhone's insistence, I really don't care that much about hockey. And that's a problem for Apple News — and privacy-minded consumers everywhere.

Wow. That escalated quickly. From zero to cray in 3.5 seconds.

Apple News is distinguishing itself by saying that what happens in News stays in News.

And surely Apple’s strengths must be its weaknesses. That much we can all agree on.

News has rightly honed in on Minnesota sports, but can't benefit from the fact that I've downloaded At Bat from the App Store — even subscribed to Gameday Audio through that — to see that I care more about baseball in general than my hometown teams specifically.

Thank God.

OK, the Macalope sees the point and maybe there’s some validity to it (although Tsukayama doesn’t provide real evidence that other, data scrapier curation provides better results, just that Apple's could be better) but we shall have to agree to disagree on the conclusion:

And there's the rub. Great data make great products.

A product that’s constantly scraping the Macalope’s personal information is not, by his definition, a “great product” no matter how good the news results are. That’s a deal with the privacy devil he’s just not willing to make. Tsukayama points out the tradeoff and does recognize lax privacy concerns on the part of the public are a problem, but she continually sides with MOAR SCRAPING for the sake of curation improvement.

Some people think that's great. Others find that a little creepy. But almost everyone likes services that give them what they want…

Again, no, not if you value your privacy more. The Macalope is very happy that these options exist so that people can make their own choices but, please, don’t tell the horny one he should really be faxing his 1099s to Google in order to get a slightly more optimal news feed.

The focus on privacy puts some onus on consumers to do more work to make tech services work better. And honestly speaking, consumers have every right to ask: Who has the time for that?

Consumers also have the right to privacy, too, but in this crappy game of Jeopardy all questions must be phrased in the form of a problem for Apple (and only Apple).

Of course, all of this is a little rich coming from the paper owned by the guy who tried to sell people a phone solely designed to get them to buy more stuff from him and found he couldn’t even give them away. At least Apple doesn’t have that kind of a problem.

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