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The Macalope Weekly: That's one opinion

o The Macalope
23.03.2013 kl 20:33 | Macworld.com

Everyone's entitled to their opinion, right? Well, some opinions are more equal than others, it seems. Or should be. The Macalope doesn't believe that Apple dreams up every feature of its products in a vacuum, but how much is the company really copying Samsung? And are Windows tablets really doooooming iPads in the corporate space? Finally, that device you think you know everything about? It doesn't exist yet.

 

Everyone's entitled to their opinion, right? Well, some opinions are more equal than others, it seems. Or should be. The Macalope doesn't believe that Apple dreams up every feature of its products in a vacuum, but how much is the company really copying Samsung? And are Windows tablets really doooooming iPads in the corporate space? Finally, that device you think you know everything about? It doesn't exist yet.

Cart, horse

The Boy Genius Report's Tero Kuittinen tells us about an intriguing game of cat and mouse where the hunter becomes the hunted!

"At The End of 2011, Samsung Started Morphing Apple Into A Follower" (tip o' the antlers to Adam Bushman).

Please enjoy this roller coaster ride of misplaced cause and effect.

In the Christmas of 2011, the first Galaxy Note proved that a jumbo display smartphone was a device with substantial demand.

Uhhh, OK. Except Apple hasn't made a jumbo smartphone.

Now Apple is expected to launch its own big-screen phone in the summer of 2013, nearly two years after Samsung pioneered the niche.

Oh, well, when you put it in the terms of magical products that don't exist yet, then yes, Apple's totally following Samsung. Slavishly, really, what with the fact that Samsung has made televisions for years and Apple's not making a television right now.

But might.

(Buh?)

Samsung also had such a huge success in the low-end smartphone market that it is forcing Apple to debut a low-end line of iPhones.

Yes! Or, well, maybe, which is almost exactly like yes! And watches! Samsung makes watches and Apple doesn't make one. But might.

It's all so obvious once you throw what has actually happened out the window.

Apple cannot afford to let Google (GOOG) catch it in app revenue generation. That would hand Android vendors a huge weapon in the long term as the network effect already favors Android apps due to the larger installed base of devices.

It's so hard to figure out what anyone at BGR is talking about because of their policy of only linking to their own pieces, but the Macalope was able to backtrack to the original article showing Google Play revenue closing the gap with the App Store revenue. Turns out it's a lot of estimation based on other estimations and, even if it's right, Kuittinen's point here makes no sense. There's no multiplicative effect based on Android's larger installed base. The estimates from firms like App Annie and Flurry already take that into account.

Thus Apple must now bend to launch budget smartphones in a bid to prevent Samsung's smartphone volume advantage from exploding.

Because people who don't pay for smartphones buy so many apps.

The third trend where Samsung has forced Apple to follow is the miniature tablet segment.

That's one way to look at it. Another way to look at is that Samsung, Amazon, and Google had to make 7-inch tablets because that was the only way they could sell anything. Apple has had the market for 10-inch tablets locked up, and now it's saying, "Eh, you know what? We want the 7-inch tablet market, too."

Now Samsung is moving ahead of Apple in fingerprint security and facial recognition technology.

Features average users are crying out for. Features that Samsung will surely implement in a way that will be thoughtfully tied into the operating system, and that users will easily understand.

What will Apple do to climb out of the current rut? It is doubtful that a $200 smartwatch is going to achieve another reversal of fortunes.

"I know nothing about it, but I know it's not going to work!"

So long and thanks for all the linkbait

Sad news reached the Macalope's furry ears this week: It appears that Dan Lyons is leaving ReadWrite after five months on the job. Alas, Dan is going to work for a marketing software company, leaving the Macalope to fear for the state of Apple trollery.

Because where else but at ReadWrite, under the leadership of Dan Lyons, could we read this?

"The Enterprise Tablet Party Is Over For Apple."

Antone Gonsalves:

After three hard years, PC makers have finally released Windows tablets that tech analyst firm Moor Insights & Strategy says will likely reverse Apple's gains in the corporate market.

Who is Moor Insights & Strategy? Well, it's a couple of guys who used to work for AMD and Compaq. OK, you might roll your eyes, but Tim Cook used to work for Compaq, too, so that doesn't disqualify you from being smart. But what did these two guys say, exactly?

"Enterprise tablets now exist that provide the best of both worlds between end user and IT, which puts the Apple in a precarious position of needing to add more robust enterprise features," Moor says in a white paper released Monday. "Until that point, Moor Insights & Strategy recommends enterprises re-evaluate their iPad pilot and deployments."

Well, enterprises should always re-evaluate deployments. How does Gonsalves react to this advice?

In other words, the enterprise party is over for Apple's tablets.

Two guys, one of whom is part of the never-ending clown show known as Forbes contributors--albeit not the clowniest--suggest that iOS devices might face more competition and ReadWrite declares Apple's ride is over.

Why?

Because Intel has built a competitive chip based on the X86 instruction set ...

But ...

There's also more baseline expandability with the Windows tablets.

Well ...

Other pluses include playing nicely with Active Directory ...

Look, it's also worth noting that the iPad starts at $330--a little fact left out of this research. Patrick Moorhead, author of the Moor white paper, based his cost analysis on 64GB 10-inch iPads and factors in the cost of associated technologies needed to deploy iOS devices. It doesn't consider the fact that if you're deploying iPhones, you already have those technologies.

Much of the iPad's success in the enterprise was end-user driven. But Moorhead thinks this advantage is over:

End users want style, simplicity and convenience and IT needs security, provisioning, manageability, deployment, support and service that is consistent with their current infrastructure for the lowest lifecycle cost. Enterprise tablets now exist that provide the best of both worlds between end user and IT, which puts the Apple in a precarious position of needing to add more robust enterprise features.

Tell you what, Patrick. It's Saturday, so walk into your local mall and stand between the Apple Store and the Microsoft Store (which will be right across from it), then tell me which one's tablets are generating more end-user interest.

It's quite possible that both the iPad and Windows tablets might find homes in the corporate world. The Macalope was originally skeptical that the iPad would be accepted by the managers who run corporate IT departments and beat the Microsoft drum like angry orcs (not a lot of people know this, but Tolkien meant the mines of Moria to be an allegory for corporate IT). But despite being told that Apple products would never pass the gates, and then being told Android would overtake iOS in the enterprise, iOS devices are still doing quite well, thank you very much.

Gonsalves can't even get inveterate Apple nay-sayer and noted Yahoo Sitebuilder user Jack Gold to buy into this line of reasoning:

"The iPad, and Android (tablets), will have a place as long as users demand it," Gold said. "And the Win8 devices will find a niche, particularly in those organizations that have company-owned assets that IT fully controls."

This is either an interesting turnaround for Gold, who has to date repeatedly dismissed the iPad, or the guy sits beside his phone waiting to give reporters contrary opinions.

Well, despite Gold's word, Gonsalves knows the real score:

While Gold has a point, the advantages the latest Windows tablets have are too numerous for corporations to ignore.

The Macalope hopes that Lyons's departure won't mean we'll have to go without analysis like this. What ever would we do?

Groundhog day

Speaking of misguided opinions, Cyrus Sanati says "Nobody needs an Apple iWatch or anything like it" (tip o' the antlers to the Jony Ive parody account on Twitter):

It is unclear what a "smartwatch" by either Apple or Samsung will actually do, but it doesn't take the brainpower of 100 gifted Apple product engineers to figure it out.

All it takes is a duck, a Razor scooter, and a six-pack of domestic beer!

That's because there are already a bevy of "smartwatches" on the market and they pretty much all do the same thing.

Oh, man. OK. Wow. Whew. That is just ...

That ... that winded the Macalope a little. Hang on.

Phew. OK. Sorry, it's just that that much tunnel vision in one sentence is ... well, it's breathtaking.

The night before the iPhone's release the Macalope was in San Francisco, dining with some friends who are devout users of Apple products. But at the time, one of them was showing off a BlackBerry Pearl he had just bought. The horny one asked why he didn't wait and he said "I can't imagine that anything Apple's going to come up with will be any better than this."

Now, we were all younger and dumber back then, and Apple's track record wasn't quite as proven as it is now, so his lack of foresight can be excused. But to simply assume now that an unseen Apple device is just the same as existing devices?

The idea of a smartwatch isn't new.

Neither was the idea of a tablet computer. Or a smartphone. Or a digital music player. Or a home computer.

When was the last time you saw a person sporting a smartwatch? Chances are you haven't. And it is not because the dummy smartwatch is something new.

No, it's because no one's made a really good one. Yet.

The unimaginative Samsung will most likely just copy whatever Apple does to the letter.

Well, at least we agree on something.

That means that both products, which will probably have the same features as all those watches mentioned above, will appeal to a narrow subset of consumers who really dig its design and who believe it will fit their style.

Does that sound like a product Apple would make? At all? If there's no appeal for a great number of consumers, Apple is unlikely to make it.

Pro tip for pundits: When you set out to write a piece about Apple, try to remember which company you're writing about, and what its well-established business model is.

Keywords: Software  Hardware Systems  Consumer Electronics  
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