If you don't have anything nice to say…

Eric Schwartz apparently thinks the Mac web has gone stale.

Well, pardon the Macalope for pointing out what is clearly printed on any feminine hygiene product, but freshness, young man, starts at home.

Instead of whining about it, why not do something about it? You could start a flame war or demand that Apple make a sub-$100 laptop. There are so many ways to make a difference in the Mac web community, if you apply yourself.

Furthermore, there seem to be more new sites starting up that do a few posts and then die off. I know there are plenty of exceptions, but they’re just that, exceptions.

Now you’re being pissy. That’s just the nature of the medium. Low barriers to entry to an established market mean there’s going to be a lot of turnover. But if there are “plenty of exceptions”, what exactly is the problem?

The Macalope thinks you’re just bored. Maybe you need to get outside and get some fresh air.

It’s too bad you don’t appreciate what the rest of us are putting into this family. It’s very sad. It breaks the Macalope’s heart.

Don’t you roll your eyes at the Macalope, buster, or he will turn the Mac web right around.

Falling prices knock Mac pundit in the head

Today’s dime-store speculation is brought to you by Remy Davison at Insanely Great Mac (link via the Apple Blog which really should know better than to lend credence to this) who speculates that falling prices for 17-inch LCDs will cause Apple to discontinue the 15-inch MacBook Pro.

Moreover, as notebook market trend is ‘bigger is better’, the opportunity for Apple to make the MBP exclusively 17″ is there, given the falling prices.

This smells remarkably like the market consisting solely of Remy Davison and a couple of d00dz he talked to. Since when are people rushing out to buy bigger and bigger laptops?

The Macalope was not able to find a break-out of MacBook or PowerBook sales between the 17-inch and the 15-inch models, but he’d be willing to bet his left antler that Apple sells far more 15-inch models than 17-inch.

The point is that Apple would no longer really need a 15.4″ widescreen MBP if a 15″ MacBook eventuates. It would be redundant, much as the 12.1″ PowerBook found relatively few customers in the end, as the much cheaper 12.1″ G4 iBook had virtually an identical feature set.

Please define “15-inch MacBook”.

It’s astounding to the Macalope that Davison gets through this whole spiel without noting a very important difference between the MacBook and the MacBook Pro.

Forgetting even the FireWire 800 port and the ExpressCard slot, the MacBook uses GMA graphics while the MacBook Pro has dedicated graphics memory on Radeon cards. A 15-inch MacBook does not replace a 15-inch MacBook Pro unless you have blurred vision from too much wacky tobaccy. Davison would have a whole slew of professionals lug 17-inch laptops around in order to perform skipless video presentations.

Falling component prices have less to do with product positioning than demand does. If they did, black paint would really be more expensive than white.

Rob Enderle finally right about something

From the Wall Street Journal’s holiday sales blog (holiday sales blog?):

“The product [Zune] wasn’t particularly attractive. At the end of the day, you put it on a shelf and it just didn’t compare,” said Robert Enderle of the industry-research firm Enderle Group.

You said it couldn’t happen, but it only took a mountain of evidence to make it possible.

Meanwhile, Microsoft’s Jason Reindorp (Reindorp?) puts on a happy face.

“All signs indicate that we are on track to meet our internal business projections, and we’re confident that Zune will only continue to gain traction and momentum through the holiday season and beyond,” Jason Reindorp, director of Zune at Microsoft, said in an email.

Something tells the Macalope that Reindorp has already contemplated how he’s going to reflect this part of his life on his resumé without including the word “Zune.”

Take two Mac tablets and call the Macalope in the morning.

A report in an Australian publication called Smarthome has set off another chain-reaction of Mac tablet lust.

Since the death of the Newton, the Mac tablet has been as storied a mythical Apple-themed beast as the Macalope himself. Only the iTV has probably inspired more Apple fan-boy enthusiasm.

Our first stop on the Mac tablet chain reaction tour is a report on T3, a British web site and magazine that ingeniously noticed that guys like gadgets and guys like women in bikinis so why not combine the two?! The report even includes some cheesey mock-ups which the Macalope can’t help but notice are not being held by any swimsuit-clad vixens.

Come on. If you’re going to have a shtick, don’t go all politically correct when the Mac users suddenly tune in. The Macalope asks you, is that fair? No, it is not.

Meanwhile, Jason O’Grady continues his nigh unhealthly Mac tablet obsession (can’t you just be obsessed with porn like everyone else?), this time mercifully leaving out any reference to a “lite” version of OS X.

I think that in addition to commuters, a tablet Mac would be perfect for doctors, foremen, teachers, real estate agents and photographers.

Ah! Doctors, lawyers, Indian chiefs! What about train engineers? Baristas? Bee keepers? Monkey wranglers? The Macalope is certain there are vertical market application developers in each of those industries just waiting to port their apps to OS X.

Users of Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator would also be perfect candidates for a tablet Mac because the touch screen allows you paint right on the screen.

Yes, we all know how graphics heads love underpowered processors, which is what a thin, lightweight, inexpensive computer would almost assuredly have. They particularly love them when their apps still have to be run through Rosetta!

If we forget practicality, O’Grady’s idea of a Mac tablet sure sounds great. Sadly, it also doesn’t sound much like what the Smarthouse piece described, leading the Macalope to wonder about his reading comprehension skills.

Sources in Taiwan have said that the focus has been more on the home and the education environment than the enterprise marketplace. Several months ago I was told that Apple was exploring a neat new device that is basically a touch screen that links to various source devices including a brand new media centre that Apple is planning to launch next year.

The Mac tablet has been designed to handle third party applications such as home automation software that will allow users to control lighting, audio, entertainment devices and security feeds. It also acts as a full blown PC has wireless linking for a new generation of Wireless Hi Fi speakers that are currently being tested by Apple.

Hmm. Wasn’t the troll that lives under the bridge out along the Old Forest highway reminding the Macalope the other day about how – while he didn’t really care for the Newton – Steve Jobs was a fan of the eMate? This troll seemed to think the new device is a merging of the eMate’s basic Internet, word-processing and other educational uses with Apple’s iLife and media hub functionality.

He was also gnawing on what looked like a human femur, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t capable of making a valid point.

To round out the blog circus, Robert Scoble does his best riff on c:/ongrtlns.w95. Scoble has been known to beat the drum about how “it’s all about ‘user scenarios’, man!” and tablet PCs gots teh mad “user scenarios”. If you can’t use your Mac while stuck head-down in a dumpster with your butt cheeks taped together and oven mitts on your hands and your pants down around (up around?) your ankles and a sock stuck in your mouth (it could happen!), well, don’t come crying to Robert Scoble! Because someone, somewhere sells a Windows-based tablet for exactly that “user scenario”! Advantage Windows!

The Macalope doesn’t feel hugely compelled to put a lot of stock into rumors from some magazine for safe room freaks down under, but it seems likely that if Apple is indeed making a Mac tablet, you won’t see it suddenly appear in the hands of the guy standing in a construction site and wearing a yellow hard hat on the cover of Building Industry Monthly. It’s going to be aimed at Apple’s core constituencies in the home and education markets, which is what the piece describes.

It’s OK to believe in the Mac tablet. It’s OK to want one really badly. But don’t let anyone sell you their Ronco fantasies of what it’s going to do.

Yay, subscriptions!

Hey, kids! You looooooove subscription-based music subscription models, don’t you?!

Sure you do! Everyone does!

Why, Universal Music Group’s Jimmy Iovine loves subscriptions!

“We have to get into more of the revenue stream. The eventual answer may be a flat fee that enables you to listen to all the music you want.”

And he knows Bruce Springsteen!

But it’s not just him! The big brains at Jupiter Research likes subscriptions, too!

So why wouldn’t you love subscriptions?! Why ya gotta own everything? Are you greedy? Is that it? Just thinking about yourself and not struggling music industry executives, their brows moist with perspiration (albeit induced by the elliptical trainer) as they pick which music they’re going to ram down your throats this year?

Or maybe you’re thinking about the so-called “artists”, really nothing more than a collection of un-showered communists, if you ask the Macalope. Thank goodness someone is doing something to put them in their place.

No, no. The sooner you start sending your monthly tithe to the recording industry, the sooner we’ll achieve the perfect musical utopia they have planned for us.

UPDATE: Andy Ihnatko provides some strikingly similar thoughts in his Zune review.

You just made George Ou's head explode

Tom Yager makes a practical comparison between the relative security of Windows and OS X as servers.

So, after all this, do I have enough to judge Windows inherently more vulnerable to severe malware than OS X? I do.

As a desktop OS, one point you could make against OS X is that “just losing your user data” can still be rather devastating, but Yager’s list is a great compilation.

UPDATE: Whoops! The Macalope thought he had gotten this link from the RSS feed of Yager’s blog but he had actually gotting it from Mr. Gruber and he didn’t notice it’s from back in August. Still an interesting read and one the Macalope had failed to take note of at the time. Probably because he wasn’t blogging then.

Every attraction needs a barker

John Siracusa opines on what “Top Secret” features Leopard might contain and why Apple has embargoed them.

It’s a good read but the Macalope has noticed that despite the scowls of concern over the inconsistency and “unprofessional” look of OS X from many “professional” Mac pundits, it still manages to pull off the one thing it needs to: looking better than any other desktop operating system.

That’s not to say that the Macalope wouldn’t also like to see some things dressed up, a new coat of paint, some curtains, or that Apple won’t certainly provide us something in the eye candy category that will make Vista heads turn.

But the cluck-clucking of the old hens doesn’t seem to have stopped OS X’s market share from creeping up.

Also, Siracusa neglects to mention perhaps the simplest explanation for the embargo.


Everyone loves a mystery and it sure helps get the asses in the seats.

Does this tin-foil hat make my ass look big?

The Macalope’s a little concerned that he may have been spending too much time in the basement with the Lone Gunmen (boy, that’s a lame call-back…).

He was perusing this Reuters story detailing how the Zune isn’t exactly flying off the shelves and found him interest piqued by something in the lede.

Donna Murphy is no fan of the ubiquitous iPod music player so on Tuesday she became one of the first to buy Microsoft’s new rival Zune device.

“I just needed a new MP3 player to play my music and watch videos,” said Murphy, who bought a Zune at Best Buy’s midtown Manhattan store. “I’m not an Apple fan, not an iPod fan. So I wanted to try something different.”


Donna Murphy…

Something about those direct, derogatory references to Apple…

The Macalope tried several searches for “Donna Murphy” in relation to “Microsoft”, “New York” and “public relations” or “marketing”, but all he could come up with was this Donna Murphy, a Broadway and film actress.

Of course, there must be about 50,000 Donna Murphys in New York City.

And Microsoft would never hire an actress to go shopping for a Zune in a prominent mid-town Manhattan store about four blocks from the Reuters offices and drop several anti-iPod and anti-Apple comments.


It’s ludicrous!


It’s not like they promised the Zune would get an all-out Microsoft-style marketing blitz.

And it’s not like they’ve ever used astroturf campaigns or phony Mac-to-Windows switcher stories before.

The Macalope’s sure that once his head clears, this will all look like the paranoid rantings of some other mythical creature.

Like the Easter Bunny.

Don’t know if you’ve ever run into him, but that guy is nuts.

iPod sales figures porn

You may recall the Macalope taking several careless goof balls to task for attempting to parlay the decline in iPod sales quarter over quarter since Apple sold an astounding 14 million units in the fourth quarter of 2005 as “slipping iPod sales.” Meanwhile, thoughtful analysts looked at the sales growth from the same quarters the prior year.

But the Macalope never dreamed that Apple would be able to beat 14 million and fully expected sales to be down this quarter from last year. Enter Piper Jaffrey’s Gene Munster who estimates Apple will sell 14.7 million iPods in the current quarter.

And he thinks that may be conservative.

“Our current expectations for the quarter could prove to be low,” Munster added.

Ooh, Gene.


You know what the Macalope likes.

I'll have the schadenfreude with a side of irony, please

Emailer GadgetGav sends a link to Engadget’s devastating review of the Zune installer. The Macalope had already seen that. Frankly, you can’t swing an iPod on a lanyard today without hitting a lousy review of the Zune.

But the Macalope hadn’t seen the second link GadgetGav sent.

Turns out today is World Usability Day.

Microsoft is not, however, one of the sponsors, thereby avoiding the trifecta.