For exaggerated effect: Surveys don’t change sales

Apple laptops sank in a survey but that doesn’t mean people aren’t buying them.


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Apple says its laptops are selling briskly, better than the previous year, but would you be shocked to find out that a headline disagrees with that? Probably not. You’ve read this column before, right? You’re jaded, Monica. It happens.

Writing for the Forbes contributor network and late night informercial for a miracle urinary tract infection cure for cats, Ewan Spence says “Apple Losing Out As Consumers Reject New MacBook Pro.” (Tip o’ the antlers to @JonyIveParody.)

Don’t bother sending invoices to Forbes, readers. They do not reimburse for spit-take damage done to your screen.

So, “customer” are “rejecting” the 2016 MacBook Pro. By buying more of them than ever (it took Apple until near the end of January to catch up with demand). Must be some of that “fake news” the Macalope’s been hearing about. The headline here is at least wrong and, while most of Spence’s article is just grazing the guardrail going around the corners on Crazytown Drive and he never really breaks through to explode spectacularly over Bananaville Gulch, he still revs the engine a lot.

All is not well with Apple in the world of desktop and portable computers.

All is also not well with the amount of lead in the drinking fountain at Forbes but we see startlingly few articles about that. Certainly Apple has stumbled badly on its desktop lineup. There is simply no room for disagreement there. Laptops, however, while in a transition period, are still doing quite well.

What’s Spence’s evidence to the contrary?

For [Laptop’s] 2017 survey, Apple has plummeted down the charts to fifth place alongside Acer but behind Lenovo, Asus, Dell and HP.

The Macalope has a Lenovo in the house and, suffice it to say, he and Laptop will have to agree to violently, no-holds-barred disagree Muay Thai-style on that one (although, admittedly, his is not a 2016 model). Where Laptop knocked the current field of MacBooks is mostly in price and needing dongles. Which, OK, fine, you might have needed a USB floppy drive in 1998, too, but that doesn’t make switching to USB the wrong thing to do. As for price, Apple did drop the $899 11-inch MacBook Air and, yes, the MacBook Pro does not come cheap and the MacBook is somewhat low-powered for the price point. Kind of funny because when you go back to Laptop’s 2.5 star review of the 2009 MacBook Air, two of the three knocks against it are “limited port selection, very expensive.”

The Macalope hasn’t tried the other brands, so he can’t really take issue with Laptop’s ranking. He will note that it’s pretty clear Apple intends to do away with the Air and push the MacBook price down to replace it. Until that happens, though, the lineup is a little uneven as Spence notes before getting to what could have been the lede if we lived in another universe.

And behind all of these machines lies Microsoft and Windows 10.

Yes, despite all the “SURFACE IS KILLING APPLE” headlines, Microsoft is dead last on Laptop’s ranking:

Microsoft ranks lowest, because the company did hardly anything new during our test period.

The Macalope is so old he remembers when Microsoft not shipping new Surfaces and sales being down was a sign of the line’s resiliance. By which he means he is more than three months old.

So, to summarize, Apple’s laptops continue to be popular with consumers despite headlines to the contrary. Microsoft’s laptops, meanwhile, just don’t rate that high despite headlines about them killing Apple. In other words, just another day at the office.

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