Apple gave the orders!

Yahoo News’ John Cook asks “What is Apple Inc.’s role in task force investigating iPhone case?”

What’s curious is that one of those high-tech companies providing training, personnel, and support to the task force is Apple Inc., the alleged victim in the Gizmodo case. … Which raises the question as to whether Apple, which was outraged enough about Gizmodo’s $5,000 purchase of the lost iPhone for CEO Steve Jobs to reportedly call Gawker Media owner Nick Denton to demand its return, sicked its high-tech cops on Chen.

Yes, Apple must really have been outraged to call and ask for its property back. Property that may have been stolen. Anyone else would have just let someone who had purchased their possibly stolen property keep it. But not Apple. They’re such hotheads.

In either case, it’s hard to imagine — even if you grant that a theft may have occurred under California law, which requires people who come across lost items to make a good-faith effort to return them to their owner — how the loss of a single phone in a bar merits the involvement of an elite task force of local, state, and federal authorities devoted to “reducing the incidence of high technology crime through the apprehension of the professional organizers of large-scale criminal activities,” as the REACT website motto characterizes its mission.

Indeed. It certainly sounds all dark and insidious.

“It depends,” Wagstaffe says. “If there’s something unusual about the phone, then yes, REACT would get involved. It deals with anything that’s high-tech. So if it’s hard to put a value on it — for instance, if it’s not just any cell phone — then a local police force might have trouble assessing its value, and the task force would have the expertise to do that.”

Which pretty much exactly describes a prototype of an upcoming signature product of an A-list technology company. Oh, hey, turns out it’s really not hard to imagine why REACT might get involved at all!

This isn’t the first criminal investigation REACT has conducted in which a steering-committee member was a victim: In 2006, REACT broke up a counterfeiting ring that was selling pirated copies of Norton Antivirus, which is produced by steering-committee member Symantec. REACT has also launched piracy investigations in response to requests from Microsoft and Adobe.

Pirated copies of software. Well, at least we all remember the outrage about Symantec, Microsoft and Adobe being nothing more than a bunch of jack-booted thugs.


UPDATE: In comments, ronin notes that until just recently, John Cook wrote for Gawker. Now, the Macalope knows that “the media” like to consider themselves without bias, but doesn’t that seem like something that either a) should have been mentioned in a footnote by Yahoo News or b) should have disqualified Cook from writing the piece in the first place?

Possession is nine tenths of the lawsuit

In this week’s Macworld piece, the Macalope looks at the mysterious case of the missing iPhone prototype, what lessons we can take away from it and then actually gives praise where praise is due.

Isn't that the whole point?

Lost iPhone prototype spurs police probe (tip o’ the antlers to Daring Fireball)

Any prosecution would be complicated because of the First Amendment’s guarantee of freedom of the press: the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2001 that confidential information leaked to a news organization could be legally broadcast, although that case did not deal with physical property and the radio station did not pay its source.

The Macalope’s no lawyer (YOU’VE BEEN WARNED), but isn’t that what makes it complete uncomplicated? There’s no damage to the public good by publishing the information — indeed, the public good is often served in exactly this way by whistleblowers. But there is damage to the public good by making a market for stolen proprietary information. At least in the Macalope’s opinion. The law may state otherwise.


Why, why, WHY?!

GOOD GOD, EWEEK. “10 Reasons an iPad Is Not for You”? Did the extra four characters required to say “May Not Be for You” really make it too long?

Don Reisinger’s leading paragraph isn’t so bad (the iPad really may not be for you!), but the list…

For instance, did you know the WiFi-only model is… WiFi-only?! It’s true! And WiFi-only is not as good as WiFi and 3G!

The problem with Apple’s WiFi model is that it doesn’t boast 3G connectivity…


…making it practically useless outside the home.

Just like a laptop is useless outside the home! The Macalope doesn’t even know why they make laptops! Unless they have 3G built-in, all devices might as well weigh 200 lbs and be connected to the foundation of your home by an adamantium tether.

WiFi is great, but WiFi and 3G are better.

You know what’s even better? WiFi and 3G and cake!

It’s hard to believe, but Reisinger unironically moves onto his next topic.

It’s Relatively Expensive

Don, you know what’s even more expensive? THE 3G MODEL.

Users can pick up a netbook for substantially less than the cost of an iPad.

Yes, but Don, they blow. They blow really hard. And, more importantly, they rely on an infrastructure suited to more powerful devices. The iPad has a rich infrastructure ideally suited to the platform. It’s already a terrific reading device. iBooks, the Kindle app, the New York Times app and NetNewsWire all provide gorgeous reading experiences. And it’s all only going to get better.

Apple has promised iPad multitasking in the fall of 2010. But until then, not having multitasking is proving to be a major issue for the iPad.

To who? Certainly not a single, solitary iPad owner the Macalope knows.

Once again, the device isn’t an iPhone and it’s meant to offer entertainment and productivity value. That means it needs the ability to run two third-party applications at the same time.

Why? Reisinger doesn’t say! It’s just true, OK?!

In the coming weeks and months, several new tablet devices will be hitting store shelves to take on the iPad. Whether or not any of those products will be able to match the iPad remains to be seen. But wouldn’t it be worth it to wait and see if they do?

Oh, totally! Always put off buying something that provides value today for something that may or may not provide value at some undertermined point in the future! That’s the engine that keeps this economy moving!

HP’s Slate, for example, will run a full version of Microsoft’s Windows 7.


It will also have USB connectivity…

Stop! Stop! You had the Macalope at “full version of Microsoft’s Windows 7″ on an underpowered device designed for the kind of input Windows 7 isn’t at all designed for!

…making it capable of printing (another iPad omission) and connecting the device to peripherals. It might be a good idea to wait and see what HP has planned before jumping on the iPad.

OR THE BEST IDEA EVER. And by the time the HP tablet comes out, something else might be around the corner. You might want to wait for that, too.

Is it possible that Reisinger has never considered this paradox? He’s been writing about technology for a while now, you’d think that it might have occured to him. But, apparently not!

Apple doesn’t have the best track record when it comes to launch-day products.

Actually, the Macalope would argue that Apple has a terrific record when it comes to launch-day products. Is it perfect? No! But show the horny one a company that does it better.

If any company can match Apple in the tablet market, it’s Google.

Why do people keep saying this? Google has exactly one consumer* hardware device under its belt and it’s not exactly a barn-burner. Stop making things up simply because you want them to be true.

The company has a history of bringing worthwhile products to the market. And now that Apple has shown its hand, the search giant can improve upon the iPad.

Right. Because, apparently, Google has a magical development cycle that’s exactly zero days. Or the improvements will be in the 2.0 version. You should wait for that. It’ll be out in early 2012. Oh, and in order to make this scenario logical, Apple will never release an iPad update ever.

If it’s touch-screen functionality and access to an App Store that users want, an iPhone is a better choice than the iPad. The iPhone has all the same functionality as the iPad, but adds phone capability and, unlike the WiFi-only iPad model, 3G connectivity. That said, the iPhone runs on AT&T’s network and users are locked into a contract. But that isn’t such a big deal, since any smartphone will have that.

Hey, Don. You know what doesn’t have a contract at all? AN IPAD.

Although iPhone apps work with the iPad, they’re not that convenient to use. Apps built specifically for the iPad work well, but there aren’t nearly enough of them.

As opposed to those tablets that don’t even exist yet that Reisinger thinks you should wait for. There are lots of apps for those.

Aside from the fact that the iPad is a relatively expensive device, it can get even more expensive after the purchase.

That may be true depending on your use. Don’s examples, however — adding 3G and buying apps — are true for any device, whether it’s a tablet or laptop or smart phone. The iPad’s 3G contract is actually cheaper than any other a la carte option and, unlike a lot of bundled deals, doesn’t saddle you with a contract.

What was the point of this exercise, Don? What was the point of this stupid and futile exercise? This is not rational advice. It’s a list of ridiculous excuses. The really, really stupid thing is there are some very good reasons why the iPad isn’t right for some people, but Reisinger doesn’t touch on any of them. If you need to do a lot of typing, you have to factor in the cost of a keyboard. If it’s 3G connectivity you really want, you can get it on your laptop from Virgin Mobile for a price just a bit more than AT&T’s iPad deal. If Google Voice and porn are your kind of thing, you’ll probably want something Android-based. And so on.

There are any number of other reasons (all, of course, need to be considered in the context of existing alternatives) but why the hell should the Macalope go to the work to come up with them? Reisinger and eWeek are the ones devoting space to the topic, and failing so dramatically to provide anything more than knee-jerk, dime-store analysis.

* Word “consumer” added after someone pointed out in comments that Google also has sold some server racks.

No visible means of support

This week’s Macworld piece looks at loose talk that Apple could face antitrust charges and that Google could make an iPad killer, then talks to the Winotaur about the Kin.

Flash in the pan

This week’s Macworld piece looks at the Adobe tantrums, iPad reviews and the device’s esteemed competition.

Down with the iPad!

Happy iPad Day, everyone! While you’re waiting in line, waiting at home, or taking yours for a test drive, let’s hear from the detractors.

Fools of the Year

It’s April Fool’s Day, but why make stuff up when there are so many fools covering Apple who already do that? The Macalope looks at the worst of the last year in a special Macworld piece.


Verdict is in on Apple iPad: It’s a winner – Ed Baig, USA TODAY* (tip o’ the antlers to Macworld)

But, still, only a fool would pre-order one!

* Is “TODAY” an acronym?