Information Weak

InformationWeek’s John Soat’s got 10 Indications Apple’s Headed for a Fall! (Tip o’ the antlers to Gene Moreau via email.)

Aaaaaiiiii! Say it isn’t so, John!

It’s list time! The list is a journalist’s best friend–easy to write and very popular online.

Well, at least you’re being open. So, you’re lazy and you’re trolling for hits. Good to know.

Let’s forge on. Tell the Macalope: why is Apple headed for a fall?

10) The same reason the Dow won’t stay at 13,000–gravity.

That, John, is effectively saying the same thing as “evil spirits”. Boy, you really are feeling lazy today.

And, unfortunately, the rest of the list isn’t much better.

9) Just about everyone who might possibly want an iPod has one.

Well, yes, iPod sales growth is tailing off, so it’s a good thing Apple makes other products. They also have this thing coming out called the iPhone. You might have heard about it. It was in all the papers. At least the ones where the journalists don’t fall back on lists all the time.

8) Apple hasn’t refreshed its computer line in a few years.

A few years? OK, most of the lineup hasn’t been refreshed since mid-2006, but the Mac Pro just got eight cores. That ain’t too shabby.

7) When an online impersonator of the CEO is more interesting than the CEO himself, that’s not a good sign.

Now you’re just making things up. Sure, we all love Fake Steve, but is he really more interesting than real Steve? If real Steve had a blog, whose do you think would be read more?

6) Apple opened seven stores last quarter, for a total of 177 worldwide, and a third store is planned for Manhattan. Are there enough thin, cool, good-looking young people in the world to staff them?

Ha-ha! Ahhhh…

C’mon. Tell the truth. You couldn’t come up with 10 real problems. Maybe these list things aren’t that easy. Or you’re even lazier than you think.

5) Everyone is getting tired of those “I’m a Mac … And I’m a PC” commercials.

Well, some people are. Like Bill Gates. The Macalope bets he’s real tired of them.

4) There’s increasing speculation the iPhone will flop.

Uh, yeah, but Steve Ballmer’s opinion isn’t exactly unbiased.

3) Windows Vista is better than it’s getting credit for.

Yes. So is broccoli. Don’t expect a rush on it.

2) That pesky stock options backdating thing won’t go away.

1 out of 10. Monkeys could do better.

1) I just bought an Apple iMac, which carries with it my personal version of the Sports Illustrated cover curse.

Ah, so the whole thing is just a build-up to a joke about your poor personal buying record?! Awesome!


  • Scopi:

    This sort of tangential, but what could be changed on the iMac to make it better? *It’s just a monitor with a computer behind it!* Better processors and more capacity are great things, but those are really incrememntal improvements. Short of making the screen float in space with anti-gravitons or beaming the web directly into my brain, I’m not sure how the iMac could be “refreshed.”

  • Andy Lee:

    Hell, if I’d known they were hiring idiots at Information Week I’d have applied there myself.

    (Excellent dissection of a stupid article.)

  • Aw, c’mon. Surely the list was tongue-in-cheek?

  • Bergamot:

    I don’t know about that, Scopi.

    The iMac could be made thinner, lighter, get a better stand, a higher DPI display, Multitouch, etc.

  • Rob Menke:

    Is it more lazy to write a top ten list or to criticize one? Especially one that’s patently (and most likely purposely) silly.

    To be fair to the ‘Lope, it’s been a slow news week. Pre-WWDC drought, I suspect.

  • Scopi:

    Short of multitouch (which I don’t see the point of on a display– a standard display is high outside the “comfort zone” where normal humans like computer input devices to be), all of those things are still just incremental improvements. The expectation seems to be that Apple has to come up with something as different from the current iMac as the current iMac is from the deflated-volleyball-with-a-monitor-sticking-out-the-top iMac for it to count, and I just don’t see what they could do that leaps beyond the whole computer contained in what would be just the monitor of most other computers.

  • Rob and Paul,

    The thought did occur to the Macalope that the whole thing was meant as a joke, but it’s just not funny. Soat seems to be trying to have it both ways — laying out a tortured contrarian view of Apple and trying to pull it off by making it about his personal bad luck. If each of the other items had been humorously portrayed, it might have worked. But it doesn’t.

  • Tulse:

    As entertaining as Fake Steve is, Real Steve is still way more interesting that 99.9% of tech CEOs. Even folks like Ellison at his best can’t touch him — the only one close would be Corel’s former CEO Michael Cowpland, and that’s only because his wife showed up to parties in a gold breastplate with a diamond nipple stud, and dyed her Bichons pink.

    They don’t call it RDF for nuthin’ — Real Steve’s the real deal.

  • Andy Lee:

    I agree it isn’t funny, and more importantly, it doesn’t seem to be *trying* to be funny. Soat recites the Apple-is-doomed talking points with no irony whatsoever.

  • Mr. Obviouso:

    Of course Apple’s headed for a fall.

    It’s when Leopard is going to ship, and comes after the summer Apple is also headed for.

  • I’ve suspected for a while now that Fake Steve is actually Real Steve pretending to be Fake Steve. Just think of what a release it must be for him.

    The only problem is that he’s spending too way much time having fun with blogging and not enough time WORKING ON LEOPARD! C’mon Steve. Time to get back to work.

  • I’m with Andy. It really is starting to look like a requisite for the job to be an idiot. How much are they paying idiots these days? If it’s more than a buck and a quarter per week, how do I get in on the action?

    Oh… that’s right. I’m not an idiot, so I am overqualified.

    Oh, cruel injustice! Spare us thy sting! One knows the world has gone to hell in a handbasket when dopes like Enderle draw breath (and a bitchin’ salary) while the Macalope labors in semi-obscurity and relative poverty. Were there any justice in the world, the Macalope would be a much sought after pundit, who did his blogging from the sunny beaches of Hawaii, with Ballmer as his majordomo / comedy relief.

    And a red Ferrari. Gotta have that in there somewhere.

  • Andy Lee:

    P.S. Just about everyone who might possibly want Windows has it.

  • So… he was on the cover of his iMac and NOW he’s a shitty reporter… ? O_o
    What a horrible case of blaming the victim.
    We must free Soat’s iMac from such a cruel existence!

  • Mal:

    I thought the options scandal had just gone away? With Fred and Nancy as the fall guys?

  • Sigivald:

    I’ve owned (counting only new purchases and only desktops) Classic, a IIsi, a 7100, a UMAX C600 (Perf. 6500 clone), a Yikes! G4, and a G4 Mini.

    The Yikes! alone means he can take his “personal SI curse” of purchases and *stuff it*. Not to mention the Classic and the IIsi. (The 7100 actually wasn’t too crappy for its day.)

    Oddly, none of it’s made me dislike Apple or Macs. Sure, the G4 was instantly obsolete, but it was better than the C600 and it *still runs* and indeed *runs 10.4.9*.

  • Buster: I have a feeling your ideas intrigue the Macalope, and he would like to subscribe to your newsletter.

  • Quix:

    If only my college career counselor had told me that being a journalist required so little effort and brainpower, I would have followed that path.

    But wouldn’t it be great to go “undercover” as a rabid, anti-Apple columnist/analyst (Enderle, Dvorak, Ou, I’m looking at you), wait for your inevitable blaze of fame and fortune among the mindless Windrone masses, then announce “Ha, I used you suckers! Apple forever!”

  • Jon:

    Well, the iMac is really just full circle on the original Mac, so I dont think there is much room for improved form factors. But I can think of lots of useful things:
    – space for a macbook battery, so that when you move the imac and tug the power cord out it just keeps going.
    – there is room for two hard drives
    – an express card slot or two
    – more usb ports
    – use those NXT flat speakers in conjunction with the lcd and get rid of the chin
    – oh, some more usb ports

  • Matt,

    You would not be wrong.

    (“And what’s all this crap I’ve been hearing about tolerance?”)

  • Ken:

    Jon, as a side note, the chin on the iMac is not for the speakers specifically, it’s for the power supply. Making that thin enough to go behind the LCD seems to be an engineering challenge that Apple has not (yet) been able to overcome.

  • JulesLt:

    I thought it was somewhat tongue in cheek, although it contains some truth – eventually Apple’s bull run will have to end. But some specific points . . . iPod’s – well I’ve got two (3G and Shuffle) and I’m waiting to replace my 3G as soon as something compelling comes along – like PCs there will be a big market in replacement for many years to come. Oh, and I’m still seeing people who bought other players first switch over to iPods.

    Mac lineup – I think it’s a fair point. I think it’s also been deliberate (the first Intel machines have been deliberately similar to PPC machines to emphasise ‘they are all Macs’ rather than having people distinguish them as new machines). Even if it’s just new colours, the portable line is due for some sort of refresh.

  • Gary Patterson:

    That tenth reason – gravity – makes me think how a rock can be a kilometre above sea level. If you throw the rock up there, it’ll come down. If you build a mountain underneath it, the rock’ll stay there. Gravity can only cause a fall when there’s no substance to stop it.

  • Grover Saunders:

    Personally I’d weep with joy if they added a eSATA port to the iMac. I know that’s not a big change, but it would seriously evoke tears.

    And really, they could absolutely redesign the look of the machine and most folks would consider that a refresh even if the internals were all the same. It’s not as if there’s only one way to design a monitor. Take a look around Best Buy. Hell, aren’t we due a black one?

    Also since we’re compiling a wish list here, USB ports that you can reasonably plug in a USB flash drive into without turning the entire machine around would be nice. Something on the side maybe?

  • Notwen:

    @Gary Patterson
    “Gravity can only cause a fall when there’s no substance to stop it.”

    Or when the rock has sufficient horizontal velocity to be in orbit.

    A body is in orbit when, by the time it’s “fallen” far enough “vertically”, it’s also moved far enough “horizontally” that it’s no longer “above” the “ground”, but is “above” empty space. Technically, the rock is falling the whole time, but because it’s also going sideways, it always moves far enough that it never gets closer to the ground. Orbital velocity in a nutshell.

    All the “scare quotes” are because the quoted terms are incorrect for a circular frame of reference, i.e. a planet, and are only correct for a Euclidean frame of reference (flat earth).

  • Tom:

    That story was tounge-in-cheek.

    What I’d like from the next iMac are a desktop C2D and say 5 USB ports. It has to have more USB ports than the Mac Mini, that’s basic Apple algebra! It should allow for 4 GB RAM and have a new keyboard that is easy to clean or doesn’t collect dirt in the first place.

    Generally, what many people will most love about a new Mac is a fresh industrial design. I guess Apple had to lay low last year during the intel introduction so people wouldn’t be alienated by completely different compters. The intel Macs needed to look as familiar as possible even though they had completely different hardware inside. But now that the cpu issue is settled and Mac users won’t be scared off new machines anymore it’s time for some new design excitement. I’m hoping for at least 2 new Mac designs this year.

  • Willy:

    “Something on the side maybe?”

    So the iMac looks like a blocky version of the Egyptian god Min.

  • The original piece isn’t particularly funny, but it’s a bit rough to be shooting a guy down just for not being funny. Being funny is hard.

    Still, I’m not familiar with Information Week or this guy’s column. If it or he doesn’t usually do vague, not-very-funny tongue-in-cheek stuff, then it’s fair to take his points closer to face value.

  • slabman:

    Redesign the iMac with some notebook style PC card slots on the underside. That way you could add internal peripherals without cracking the case open or spoiling the look. What would I use the slot for? Maybe a TV tuner

  • John Muir:

    Peter: I’m with you on that one. Although perhaps RSJ on-hand 24/7 isn’t what Leopard needs so much as coders with space and time to breathe. I wonder how many of those blog posts were done by touchscreen iPhone…?

    Jon: it’s iMac wish-list time indeed. Here are some of my ideas:

    – integrated iPod dock right at the top, with a sweet trapdoor mechanism to keep dirt out
    – colours ahoy
    – angle-poise iMac stand kit for those who want to make their Mac float in space (Apple sold a separate swivel stand for the eMac so a stand kit would not be a first)
    – modular hard drive bay(s) along the bottom, so it’s as easy to switch around as the MacBook … or even Mac Pro!?!
    – a redesign which removes the chin and puts the power supply either in a brick like the Mini or in a bulge at the back of the display … preferably as a counterweight or attachment for said angle poise arm
    – ingeniously cunning invisible until you touch them slots at both sides of the screen for add-on speakers (I’m thinking of the iPod accessory universe here, we want those for Macs too, right?)
    – that iSight camera which is actually inside the display which the rumour sights go on about whenever they spot it in patent form; ie. eye-contact
    – iPhone as tablet input device, so you can get the goodness of touchscreen in a form which better suits it
    – Thinner, shinier, cleaner sharper curves … think of a 5G iPod compared to the click wheel generations and repeat the mantra: What Would Jon Ive Do If He Were Here Right Now? (For sure he’d make a Mac or two, that’s what Jon Ive would do.)

    The sky’s the limit really. Which is why I just don’t believe in “perfect designs”. Like the end of history, they’re a contradiction in terms. Never discount innovation.

    Make our jaws drop with a new iMac revolution, and then sucker punch us at Macworld 2008 with the MacBook nano. That’s my advice. I’m off to drool and cackle!

  • KR:

    RE: Item # 7

    It’s not a question of FSJ being more interesting than RSJ. The real question is how many CEOs/companies are interesting enough to spawn their own widely-read fake blog? I don’t know about you guys, but I can’t picture myself tuning in daily to read Fake Steve Ballmer or Fake Michael Dell.

  • Erik:

    Macalope, thanks for pointing out the limitations of the list-as-article. It seems like every article in Slashdot or Digg these days is nothing but a list, arbitrarily populated and hastily drawn. The disease seems to be spreading, unfortunately.

  • Quix:

    “But I can think of lots of useful things: – space for a macbook battery, so that when you move the imac and tug the power cord out it just keeps going.”

    Huh? The power cord on the iMac is hard to pull out intentionally, let alone accidentally. I can’t imagine this “feature” would be on the wishlist of more than a handful of iMac owners.

    Aside from that, you have my hearty endorsement for more USB ports. Seriously, all we get is 3 (on the 20″ model)? One of which goes to the keyboard? I have to run two external hubs just to plug in all my gear. Lame.

  • marcos:

    I’m with Rob Menke and the others. This was a joke article, and that you seriously answer it point by point shows that you’re being humorless. Part of the humor (for me anyway) was in not letting my head explode before coming to the certain conclusion that it was indeed a joke. There’s a certain amount of tension of going back and forth between, “He must be joking,” and “He can’t be serious,” before getting to his final point, which is the big punch line, and gives the rest of it away.

    Whether anyone else appreciates the humor is a matter of taste. Personally, I like humor that has me questioning the sanity of the author.

  • Don:

    Do jokes cause resignations?

    Please, everyone, 10-reason lists are NOT funny.

  • Okay. I read his column and his reasoning.

    It occurs to me that the whole thing was written as a joke, as Rob and Marcos have observed. Going through it point by point as Macalope has done shows each point to be way too lame to be serious.

    In the ‘lope’s defense, I propose that quite possibly we are all getting a little hypersensitized of late. It isn’t hard to do. We who observe the tech-weenie blogosphere are constantly seeing the Apple/Macintosh funeral dirge being sung by its detractors. From where we sit, the whole world looks hostile. We’ve circled the wagons and we’re shooting everything that appears less than loyal.

    I modestly suggest that the war is over. We won. It is now time to switch from angry zealotry to smugness. With the iPhone we will have the only truly functional home neural network on the planet.

    It’s time to smile benignly at those teeming huddled masses yearning to operate a seamless wirelessly networked home with Windows(r), and say, “neener neener neener.”

  • I meant to say with the addition of the iPhone to the rest of the architecture (Mac,iPod, AppleTV, AirPort Extreme/Express).

  • simon:

    May not be funny, but it sure wasn’t serious.
    Calm down.

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