Jobs and Gates trade jests at rare joint appearance.

“PC guy is great, he’s got a big heart,” the chief of Apple Inc. said…

People let me tell you ’bout my best friend,
He’s a warm hearted person who’ll love me till the end.

Jobs, 52, and Gates, 51, reminisced about the industry and old partnerships. The tone was jovial, even sentimental, but Jobs did get in a few good-natured digs.

People let me tell you bout my best friend,
He’s a one boy cuddly toy, my up, my down, my pride and joy.

At one point, Gates said employees working on Microsoft’s Zune portable media player admired Apple for creating the market for such devices with its hugely successful iPod line.

“And we love them because they’re all customers!” countered Jobs.

People let me tell you ’bout him he’s so much fun
Whether we’re talkin’ man to man or whether we’re talking son to son.

“We’ve kept our marriage secret for over a decade now,” Jobs said, to roars of laughter.

Cause he’s my best friend.
Yes he’s my best friend.

iTunes 7.2

iTunes 7.2 with DRM-less tracks is just a software update download and seemingly unnecessary reboot away! Have at it.

And can anyone explain to the Macalope why an iTunes update forces a reboot on a Mac but not on a PC?

UPDATE: The Macalope’s mistake. It’s QuickTime 7.1.6 that forces the reboot. So, OK, why does QuickTime (often?) force a reboot on the Mac but not on Windows?

Anyone upgraded any songs yet? A whole 5% of the Macalope’s iTunes-purchased music is upgradable. Hmm. Well, at least it’s only going to cost him $6.90.


The process prompts you to either have the files replaced and deleted or have the old copies moved to a folder on the desktop. The Macalope had them moved but he’s not sure why.

Mr. Gruber says the upgrade option isn’t working for him.


Yesterday Paul Thurrott welcomed the news that Microsoft had sold it’s millionth Zune, proudly declaring that it’s “not doing all that horribly.”

Thurrott, who does not hesitate to rail against those who point out the Mac’s market share gains, thinks nothing of pimping this piece of Microsoft marketing tripe. Sadly for Thurrott but humorously for us, a funny thing happened on the way to writing the original piece he links to and, well, turns out it’s wrong. Microsoft is gonna probably have sold a million Zunes. Someday.

Even if it had been true, however, Thurrott’s post is an escapade in jackassery.

Of course, Apple sells several million iPods a quarter, so there’s still some ground to make up.

“Some ground.”

This, incidentally, is also what Thurrott calls the land mass between Hungary and Mongolia. We call it the Russian Steppe. He calls it “some ground”.

No one’s really sure why he does this. He just does.

Now, the Oxford American Dictionaries (better known to Mac users as “Dictionary”) defines “several” as “more than two but not many”. The Macalope will leave it up to his intelligent and fabulously sexy readers to decide if last quarter’s 10.5 million or the previous quarter’s 21 million can accurately be described as “several” million.

But still. Not too shabby.

Well, actually, no, still rather shabby.

Microsoft is a notorious channel stuffer, so that might explain why while the company can claim to have “sold” 1 million Zunes you, like the horny one, might not have seen anyone actually using one outside of a CompUSA sales associate killing time before he’s downsized.

Thurrott makes a point of noting in his retraction that Apple only sold half that number in its first six months. Indeed.

Which is amazing considering the size of the overall market at the time and and that the iPod was effectively being sold only to Mac users as it didn’t ship with software for Windows until July of 2002 (see Wikipedia’s iPod entry).

Look, it is much harder to break into the digital music player market now than it was in 2001. But this is also Microsoft we’re talking about. They can practically force retailers to take as many as they tell them to. Is 10% of the hard-drive based market really anything to crow about? Great, it looks like they’ll make their target, albeit probably by stuffing the channel. But the Zune doesn’t have “some ground” to make up. It still has to prove that it can be anything more than a distant second in a subset of the market.

Whither the mini?

The tender flowers of the Mac web are all a-twitter (not to be confused with the popular social networking site of the same name) over an Apple Insider report claiming that the Mac mini will soon be pushing daisies (not to be confused with the much-anticipated ABC series of the same name, coming this fall, check your local listings).

The Macalope doesn’t doubt this could be true, but he did find it amusing that in trying to bolster their argument that “Apple just doesn’t like the mini darn it!”, Apple Insider cites as evidence the fact that a rumored enhancement of the mini they pimped failed to materialize. It’s the theory of Apple rumor site infallibility in action.

But on the face of it, it seems unlikely that Apple would completely do away with the mini or, rather, decide to abandon the market it targets.

Now, what is that market? The Macalope doubts anyone outside Apple knows for sure as they don’t release that kind of data. The mini was introduced ostensibly for the switcher (“Bring your own monitor, keyboard and mouse!”) but the Macalope doubts that’s who’s really buying them. It’s anecdotal, of course, but the switchers the Macalope knows have all bought either iMacs or MacBooks. The horny one does hear that the smallest Mac of them all is popular with developers and, possibly just by definition, people who already own a bunch of other Macs. For some it temporarily filled the niche that’s now filled by the Apple TV. And then there are the schools. And the businesses.

There’s two ways of looking at that. Either the low price of the mini is allowing people who already own a Mac to buy another, or it’s eating into sales of Macs with higher margins.

Unlike Apple Insider, the Macalope doesn’t think the mini is analogous to the G4 Cube or the 12-inch PowerBook, both of which, while lovely, probably did not generate sales like the mini. It seems unlikely to this furry Macophile that even if Apple drops the mini it won’t be replaced with something cooler.

So, killing the Mac mini is not to be confused with, well, killing the Mac mini.

Are you still talking about that?

Information Week’s Brad Kenney asks of Apple’s decision to reveal the iPhone six months in advance: Strategic Misstep, Or Supreme Confidence?

Uh, are those the only choices? (Hint: noooooooo.)

First of all, consider the name. At the time of the Macworld announcement, San Jose-based Cisco Systems owned the exclusive rights to the term iPhone…

Yes, believe it or not, Kenney wants to party like it’s January, 2007!

News flash, dude: Cisco settled! It’s over! Time to live in the now!

By giving such a long (it’s been almost six months and still no iPhone) time lag…

Yeah! Where the hell is that damned phone?!

Oh, wait, that’s right. It’s still May.

…Apple has not only allowed excitement to dim but has also negatively impacted iPod sales in the interim.

Yeah, because now nobody’s talking about the iPhone! Everyone’s into lol cats!

And were you talking about these iPod sales? The sales that were up 24% from last year? Are those the sales you’re talking about?



Because, you know, not so much.

The brightness of Jobs’ iPhone spotlight inevitably meant that quite a few consumers were left in the dark concerning [the Apple TV].

Which the company had already grandiosely announced back in September at its own special event.

Now, look, Apple could have hacked up the Macworld keynote and spent some time on the Mac and some time on Apple TV and some time on the iPod and some time on the company’s lol cat strategy. But the iPhone is arguably the biggest Apple product announcement in the last twenty-three years and Jobs clearly poured his heart into this thing. Give the man his hour and a half.

In a letdown, however, Kenney then pulls the rug out from under his arguments.

Despite what was widely characterized as bad timing by Jobs, the iPhone’s unique intuitive interface, rich feature set and undeniable cool factor paired with Apple’s pre-loaded customer loyalty means that, so long as Apple’s product developers remain at the top of their game, no amount of marketing missteps can keep this new Apple product from getting eaten up by the market.


C’mon, Brad! Don’t string the Macalope along like that and then get all goo-goo eyes for Apple at the end!

Yes, some of the slower analysts have said it was somehow a mistake, but let’s look at what it gained Apple.

  • The iPhone announcement completely stole the thunder from CES.
  • Discussion of the iPhone took some of the heat off Apple over subsequent revelations about the options scandal.
  • The announcement silenced the non-stop speculation about when/if/could the company make a phone.
  • As iPod sales growth as leveled off, the announcement answered the question of where the company expects its growth to come from in the future.

Now, Brad, surely some of this must have occurred to you. Funny you didn’t see fit to mention it.

iTunes doomed!

Roughly Drafted has a marvellous piece on the latest nonsense about video downloads. It quotes the geniuses at Forrester thusly:

“Television and cable networks will shift the bulk of paid downloading to ad-supported streams where they have control of ads and effective audience measurement.” McQuivey wrote. “The movie studios, whose content only makes up a fraction of today’s paid downloads, will put their weight behind subscription models that imitate premium cable channel services.”

This is so stupid it hurts the Macalope’s furry head.

Forrester’s fallacy is in not realizing that iTunes downloads are not a replacement for broadcast or cable television.

They’re a replacement for DVD sales.

Yes, iTunes downloads are different in that you don’t have to wait months for the DVDs to ship and they don’t feature the extras the DVDs do. But they are alike in that you can time-shift your viewing, you can repeat your viewing as often as you like, they’re portable to a variety of devices (albeit Apple-only except for iTunes on Windows) and, most importantly, there is no advertising.

It’s as if Forrester doesn’t know that people go to Target every day and buy DVDs of TV shows and movies.

Ad-supported content online is the replacement for broadcast and cable television and these two things are not the same.

It seems like every year some brilliant think-tank issues a bone-headed report that says ad-supported X will replace its for-fee equivalent.

And it never happens.

Because people hate ads.

Is the iPhone half full or half empty?

The Macalope was amused to read the following two headlines this morning.

iPhone demand in the UK is ‘soft’, survey finds.

The UK’s largest iPhone survey undertaken by iPhone blog has found that while interest in Apple’s upcoming mobile is very high, even Apple die-hards won’t invest in the handset unless it is competitively priced and available on their network.

Many iPod users will switch network for iPhone

The iPhone looks set to make a big impression when it launches in Europe.

Both cite the same poll.

The author of the second piece, Macworld UK’s Jonny Evans, also noticed the disparate interpretations.

You see, first thing I thought when I read a survey claiming one-in-four people would switch networks in order to get their hands on an iPhone was “oh, that’s a lot of people”.

But it’s being reported as failure. It’s as if some reporters think that the iPhone will be a failure unless it achieves the same level of dominance within the mobile industry as the iPod has in terms of music players.

That’s ever so sophistic. You can’t accuse an unreleased product of potential failure when you describe an unrealistic target for it.

Jonny sadly hasn’t learned that his Earth logic has no bearing in the world of Apple coverage.


Ah, Seeking Alpha’s Todd Sullivan. It’s appropriate that your head shot shows you standing in a forest which you likely cannot see for all those damn trees.

The iPhone: Apple’s First Flop

Apple’s first flop? Wow, you really are quite the student of Apple, aren’t you. The Macalope is sure we’re going to be treated to some top-notch analysis.

I do not want to have to turn off my music to get a phone call.

“I do not want to be able to hear the people I’m talking to.”

Well, OK. Seems a little strange to the Macalope, but different strokes for different folks. (Note to Sullivan: the iPhone automagically lowers the music volume when you get a call.)

If I am driving my family in my car and we are listening to the iPod, having to turn off the music to answer my phone becomes a major hassle.


You want to listen to music while you’re talking on the phone while you’re driving your family down the highway.

Well, Mr. Father of the Year, please tell the Macalope where you live so he can make sure to never, ever drive around there.

All of have cell phone agreements [sic] and have a cancellation fee. This varies from $100 to $150 dollars. This price need to be added to the costs of the iPhone for those who want it right away or it will cause a lag in initial sales. This lag will allow cell competitors to create their own, cheaper versions to compete, hurting future sales.

It needs to be added to the cost for those who aren’t already Cingular customers who feel compelled to switch to the iPhone right when it comes out. Which is one of the reasons Apple went with the largest carrier.

A $599 phone will not gain mass acceptance no matter what it does…

Like a monkey typing on a keyboard, you’ve finally typed something that’s true.

…especially when people can still get its functionality from their existing devices.

Yes, the price sensitive people will continue to buy a cheap phone and an iPod shuffle and call it good. But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t a whole other group of people who want one device and are willing to pay for it. Is the latter group as large as the former? Certainly not. But that does not mean it doesn’t exist.

Give us a 2GB capacity so we can put our favorite stuff on it and listen when we want, cut the price to $299 and you may have something.

Todd, keep your pants on. iPhone nano. 2008.

You know, maybe the iPhone isn’t for you. The Macalope himself is not a Mac mini guy. That doesn’t mean he can’t see that it has value to a great many people.

Also, the exclusive deal with AT&T Inc. (T) was not a very bright idea.

So says you.

Well, dear reader, never fear. The Macalope has a lovely tonic for Sullivan’s jungle fever that addresses that very issue.

Why Apple’s iPhone Is Not The Next iPod.

Additionally, Apple has limited itself by committing to Cingular, which has a customer base of about 60 million. It is notable that 55 per cent of those polled in the ChangeWave survey expressed satisfaction with their existing cell phones — indicating no intention of switching networks.

[Macworld editorial director Jason] Snell points out that that doesn’t necessarily mean Apple made a mistake however. It would have been impractical for the company to try to launch the iPhone independent of an established service provider. Had it done so, Jobs and his team would be faced with creating different versions of the phone to fit the capabilities and structures of different networks.


And Sullivan, in his rush to apply the flawed “all-in-one” analogy, fails to point out the ground-breaking benefits of the iPhone as a platform.

“What the iPhone potentially does promise is to make the features that most people don’t use on their phones — web browsing, more advanced kinds of messaging, email, music playback, etc — far easier to use,” states [Macworld's Chris] Breen.

Quite so. It seems like some people might actually pay for having that functionality actually be usable.

It might help you find your way out of the woods.

Time for an intervention

Now, the Macalope himself has sniffed a little Leopard glue in the past. But he’s been clean and sober for four months and he’s here to scare’s Triston MacIntyre straight!

Jeff Gamet at the Mac Observer said, “When a product reaches the technological feasibility state, Apple typically ships it shortly thereafter.”

That being said, if both items, as Apple said, are “technologically feasible” and Apple is on schedule for its June release of the iPhone, couldn’t Leopard see an earlier release?

What if Apple was planning all along to postpone the release, only to shock the world by throwing an amazing release of iPhone after displaying the final production of Leopard at WWDC?

Triston, just say “no”!

The Macalope knows that Steve Jobs is a diabolical marketing genius, but he’s not insane, and “We’ll announce we’re delaying Leopard and then we’ll look like heroes when we don’t!” is just nuts.

Also, before you kids “get your freak on” or whatever you call it these days, you should meet a little friend the Macalope likes to call “Mr. Google”.

Search on “technological feasibility” and “SEC” and the third entry is from the very same Mac Observer, which quotes Apple’s report to the SEC on Tiger’s release thusly:

Tiger achieved technological feasibility following its public demonstration in August 2004 and the subsequent release of a developer beta version of the product.

Tiger’s eventual release date?

April 29, 2005.



Give the Macalope your keys.

Or at least your keyboard.

The new phone books are here! The new phone books are here!

In an interesting addendum to the post below about Mac coverage, the Macalope has learned from his friend the Ratboy…

You may have heard of him. Part boy, part rat. He’s been in the papers.

Not to be confused with the bat boy. That guy’s just a publicity hound. And a total name dropper. Phew.

Anyway, according to the Ratboy, IDG — the parent of Macworld — is hiring a Mac reporter for the mother ship. While IDG does frequently cross-post Macworld stories to its various publications, a dedicated Mac reporter at the parent will likely mean more Mac coverage and wider distribution.

That sound you hear is the sound of the Mac universe expanding.

Or, possibly, somebody hates these cans.