No New Apple Death Knells, but Ignorance Abounds

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The Dunce CapI don’t have any new Apple Death Knells to report, but that doesn’t mean the Internet is safe from stupidity, ignorance, and outright writing shenanigans. We often chuckle about a few articles here and there in the plush offices inside TMO Towers, but I saw two articles today that were just so plain stupid I decided to put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard, as the case may be).

The first is a piece from Zack Whittaker titled “Is Apple still (or was it ever) in the netbook game?”

Bryan’s first rule of thumb for titles is if the author has to ask a question in the title, it’s probably not going to be answered in the piece. Don’t get me wrong, there is a time an place for questions-as-titles, but most such titles come off as contrived crap (to me). Such is the case with this one. It’s not only a bad title, it’s a stupid question in the first place.

Still, I clicked! What was I thinking? I can’t tell you, but then I saw the opening paragraph, and I quote:

The MacBook Air is the jewel in the crown of Apple’s ultra-light, portable notebook devices. Or is it?

Believe it or not, that bold question at the end is bold in the original piece! This is for ZDNet, for goodness’ sake! Throw in a musical “Duh-duh-duuuuuhhhhhnnnnn” and you’ve got all the makings of some quality junior high school drama. Also, it is once again a stupid question, and whie I’m at it, it’s a stupid central thesis for an article.

Mr. Whittaker then goes to say that the MacBook Air has been “relatively popular, with over 1.1 million units bought in the last quarter of 2010, accounting for 40% of Apple’s netbook business.” All of two sentences later he poses another rhetorical question to his readers by asking, “Maybe Apple’s tablet venture is masking seemingly poor MacBook Air sales?”

Did he not read what he had just written?

Of course, between those two incredibly contradictory sentences was the surprise note that Windows-based netbooks “had huge sales in comparison to MacBook Air.” Who knew?

There are other absurdities in abundance in the piece, but my favorite might have been, “The MacBook Air is nearly three times the price of an average netbook, absent of an optical drive and less powerful than its 13-inch ‘better’ model.”

Guess what, Einstein, a 13” MacBook Air is still a MacBook Air. It’s like comparing apples to apples. Or something.

Anyway, that piece was sloppy, with sloppy writing and probably sloppy direction from ZDNet’s editors. On the more malicious side, I saw a piece at TheStreet by Scott Moritz that strikes me as an attempt to rain on Apple’s parade.

Titled “Apple’s June Showcase to Lack Jewels,” Mr. Moritz argues that the rumors of a new MacBook Air this summer (the same rumor that may or may not have spurred Mr. Whittaker’s confused piece) mean that Apple’s World Wide Developer Conference (WWDC) won’t have anything big to showcase.

His argument appears to be that Apple isn’t going to be introducing a new iPhone at the event, and that this should scare investors out of their wits. This is why I call Mr. Moritz’s piece malicious.

For one thing, Apple has already indicated that this year’s WWDC is going to be centered on software, not hardware, and the company has been saying loudly and clearly for weeks that Mac OS X 10.7 “Lion” and a new version of iOS (likely iOS 5) will be the centerpieces of this year’s event. When the company announced the event, Apple VP Phil Schiller said, “At this year’s conference we are going to unveil the future of iOS and Mac OS.”

My friend Jim Dalrymple put it quite well back in March when he wrote that, No iPhone, iPad or Mac hardware coming at WWDC. Making that a given (I believe it to be the case), how in the world do Lion and iOS 5 fail to qualify as “jewels?”

Mr. Moritz, however, sees this as a disaster for Apple. His conclusion is that Apple has nothing for WWDC (he never once mentions Mac OS X, “Lion,” or iOS), and that, “Minor tweaks to the iPhone 4S and reheated MacBooks aren’t likely to mollify investors.”

He added, “Apple shares, which surged 60% last year, have gone almost nowhere this year. Wall Street continues to see a yellow light with Apple. While hopeful for a major new product, investors are also braced for bad news about Steve Jobs’ health and his future with the company.”

Of course, Apple’s stock has risen 5% this year (the stock closed at $323.48 on December 31st and closed Wednesday at $339.87, for a gain of $16.39, or 5.1%), and that’s with recent losses related to macroeconomic issues (according to an analyst I spoke with on the issue). Mind you, that is slightly behind the 6.6% gain of the S&P 500, but in the world of stocks, a 5% gain entirely does not qualify as “having gone almost nowhere this year.”

His statement about Wall Street continuing to see a “yellow light with Apple” is also belied entirely by the facts. 91% of analysts have a “Buy” rating on Apple, and the consensus price target for the company’s stock is $446 per share, representing more than a 30% premium on today’s price. Where’s that yellow light again?

Mr. Moritz isn’t just making mountains out of molehills with his angle, he’s piling up the dirt, pretending it’s a natural molehill, and then standing on a soapbox to proclaim that the molehill is a mountain that threatens everyone living in its shadow. Doom, I tell you! DOOM!

No, these aren’t Apple Death Knells, but they are appalling examples of journalism, be it through sloppiness, ignorance, or maliciousness. I think both of these guys might need some quality time in the corner with the dunce cap.

Photo provided by our friends at iStockPhoto.

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Comments

MOSiX Man

Well, I guess I won’t be buying any more products from Apple! These guys sound serious, so Apple will be going teats-up any time now!

Tiger

So which one is Moe and which one is Ron. Or are they both Moe Rons?

Marty

I think Moe and Curly would be more accurate.  The only people who would still be writing T’s up are idiots or short AAPL big time and are facing margin calls.

Laurie Fleming

Apr?s Moe le deluge. Larry, Curly and Apple are going to get wet. Ou peut-?tre pas.

mhikl

Quickly read the links. These people have no understanding of the Apple way. I doubt if they even understand or would recognise the word “iteration”. If they have an understanding of the Apple way and still write what they write, then they are trolls and insignificant for reading or discussion. Why argue with bigotry. It is what it is and is easily put right. Pass them by as they have nothing of learning to add to our favourite topic.

Meanwhile, Apple grows, bringing in profits and the rest shrink and worry. As Vonnegut might say, “and so it goes”. Nelson would laugh (ha ha), Alfred E. Newman would say, “What! Me worried?” and Judge Judy would say “You can tell they are lying as soon as their lips or fingers move”, and then all would go about their day, unperturbed. Good advice from four more relevant than these ill-informed soothsayers.

That was fun.

wab95

So which one is Moe and which one is Ron. Or are they both Moe Rons?

Nice one, Tiger.

Following Whittaker’s logic, well, yeah. I mean, like…AirBus can make a passenger plane, like the A380, that can hold, like, I dunno, a lotta people, and like, it only costs, well like, 20 times less than that plane built by NASA, and it holds a lot more than 7 measly people, and like, the A380 can get up ta cruising altitude on its own, but that NASA passenger plane, like, needs those boosters on the side ta get upta its cruising altitude, and the A380 can go to like, a lotta airports, but that NASA plane only goes to one place, and like, what’s with that big tank it’s ridin’ on? And why’s it gotta cost so much, and like, just what’s up with NASA anyways?

Mr Whittaker’s analysis was equally breath-taking. It is gratifying to know that, all this time, the MBA was a netbook; except that it was 3X more expensive, not similarly configured or spec’d nor even necessarily the same size and build as other netbooks, nor did Apple market it as a netbook, nor target it towards the netbook demographic, but otherwise, it was a netbook; and a damnably expensive one. Pity that Apple didn’t study that market a bit more carefully. 

As for Mr Moritz, a bloke’s got to make a living.

RonMacGuy

So which one is Moe and which one is Ron. Or are they both Moe Rons?

Hey, careful Tiger!!  I resemble that remark!!

wink

Tiger

Ok, shoot me for this:

Da Do Ron Ron!

RonMacGuy

You did NOT just say that!! LOL. Scary to see TMO through the Eye of the Tiger!! Da da da da. Da da da da da.

Lancashire-Witch

It’s Witchcraft!

b9bot

I think this is a great new piece that Bryan should continue on with.
There are so many good examples of Dunce cap writing about Apple.
Most of it is fantasy, fiction, ignorance, stupidity, malicious, or just plain PC envy type of writing that all deserve Bryan’s attention. The best ones are about how cheap PC’s are compared to Macs. Yet those pieces never go into any details about exactly what you get with those cheaper PC’s verses what actually comes with the Mac and they never mention that every Mac comes with fully usable software that is part of every purchase not just promotions for software that still need to be purchased with those quote cheaper PC’s.

tisabmw

ZDNet, TheStreet and PCWorld have routinely posted malicious pieces online. I haven’t kept track of all occasions. I just notice them on these sites much more than other sites I read.

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