Why I Don't Read RoughlyDrafted

Tuesday, 2008-03-04; 02:21:51

being pro-Apple does not make you relevant

Ian Baird over on Twitter linked to a RoughlyDrafted article, pointing out the amusing "Reality vs. Stuffit" picture. It's a perfect display of what's happened to StuffIt and its fall from grace (not that it was undeserved). The one paragraph about the San Francisco Chronicle is also pretty hysterical and spot-on -- even in the '60s, people were ridiculing the content of the Chron.

But what I really want to point out with this article is why I don't read RoughlyDrafted. It's pro-Apple bias is so ridiculous it's not even funny. I'll try and make this short, but no guarantees.

There are winners and losers in life, and in accordance with the First Law of Thermodynamics, the heat and light generated by winners must result in a cold, dark shutout for an equal number of losers. Who won and lost a Macworld 2008?

Um, no. Macworld 2008 is not a zero sum game. Thanks for setting up some drama by introducing a false analogy.

Macworld itself was a winner, with a giddy, satisfied audience radiating everything that was missing from CES a week prior.

There is no reason to believe that the author, Daniel Eran Dilger, even went to CES. Even the linked RoughlyDrafted article about CES shows no indications that he went. I can only conclude that Dilger is riffing off of all the other media and weblog reports, but as far as I can tell, Dilger is hardly qualified to comment on whether or not there was a "giddy, satisfied" audience at CES or not (or even at Macworld, for that matter).

Apple released four major new product family advances in arenas where it's already leading, and plenty of third parties introduced interesting software and new gear as well.

Um, no. Macs currently hold between 5 and 10% market share, depending upon whom you ask. Individual PC manufacturers sell more PCs than Apple does Macs; if you count all Windows PCs compared to Macs, the numbers are even less favorable to Apple. And the only new Mac that Apple introduced at Macworld was the MacBook Air, in a market that, up until today, Apple didn't even compete in.

Apple's share of the cell phone market is similarly small: only a few million iPhones have been sold. In contrast, by Steve Jobs' own data when he introduced the iPhone at Macworld 2007, the cell phone market is around one billion units. Even in the smartphone market, the iPhone is nowhere near the market leader; during its first full quarter of sales, it ranked behind Nokia and RIM in the U.S. It now is number two in the U.S. smartphone market, but not in the worldwide market or even close in the wider cell phone market.

And then we come to the Apple TV, which was a self-admitted flop by Jobs when he introduced "Apple TV Take 2" at MacWorld 2008. There's no data to support Dilger's claim that Apple is leading in the set-top box market whatsoever, and even Apple doesn't claim this.

The only market in which Dilger's "already leading" comment can be anywhere close to true is in the portable music player market, with Apple's iPod. Apple's been leading in this market for a few years, now.

But to say that Apple is "leading" in the four arenas in which it released new products is ludicrous. Perhaps if he meant "leading" as in "quality of design," then Dilger may have a point. However, even the Apple TV may not fall under this umbrella, as consumers are obviously looking for something different than the first iteration of the Apple TV.

Steve Jobs dropped the expected bomb of movie rentals from iTunes and HD rentals through Apple TV. That has to suck for Vudu, which has instantly become an iPod's Zune. It also makes NetFlix' mailers the buggy whip of the auto age, relegates UnBox to the Tivo niche, and empties the 360 of any advantage it held as a fractional percentage market share statistic in the online video downloads market.

Well, let me just choose one of these inaccurate statements to address. I'll take a look at NetFlix.

At its most expensive subscription, it'll take just six movies per month for it to be cheaper compared to renting movies via the Apple TV, and even fewer if you decide to buy the newer releases or the HD versions made specifically for the Apple TV. And besides, with NetFlix, you don't have to purchase another device; you can just use your existing DVD player or computer.

NetFlix isn't in danger because of the Apple TV, not by a long shot. At the very least, Apple must start providing a movie subscription service in order to unseat NetFlix, or at least significantly cut the price of movie rentals (which, given the movie industry, I highly doubt will happen anytime soon).

Last year, I thought it comical how Windows Enthusiasts simultaneously wrote off the Mac market as inconsequential while trying to also tout Leopard's Time Machine as the perfect vehicle for Microsoft's Windows Home Server.

I remember exactly zero people saying this. And then Dilger goes on to say that some esoteric file corruption bug in Windows Home Server is supposed to drive more people to Apple's Time Capsule product? As if people considering Windows Home Server are the same people considering using Time Capsule? What?

Another big deal in Apple's favor is that the Air is a Mac, meaning that the company has a locked up demand for light, thin laptops that run Mac OS X.

Hahaha. Hahahahahahahaha. "Apple has locked up demand for portable music players whose name is 'iPod'." "Microsoft has locked up demand for craptacular web browsers that aren't standards compliant and rhyme with Shminternet Shmexshmorshmer." "Hoover has locked up demand for vacuum bags that fit its own vacuum cleaners." What kind of vacuous, idiotic, uninsightful kind of statement is that?

While you could theoretically run Vista on the new MacBook Air, doing so would rob you of about 20% of its overall performance

Word of caution: this statistic was pulled out of an ass, as no source for this statistic was provided. Presumably, it was Dilger's ass, in case you were wondering.

Yes, reporters, we are all aware that Apple hasn't been in the light laptop game for over a decade. Rather than trying to tell us what we know, point out something really notable. Apple just did to the ultra light laptop market what it did last year to the smartphone market : plan out a much better product designed to hit the actual needs of consumers, execute it flawlessly, and release it to the public so smoothly that it appeared to be effortless.

Whether the MacBook Air is going to be a success or not remains to be seen, although supposedly demand is high for the product. What I can say, however, is that sales of other "subnotebooks" from other manufacturers will most likely top sales of the MacBook Air, by virtue of the MacBook Air being a Mac. The dominance of Windows is not likely to change in response to the MacBook Air.

The iPhone software update demonstrates just how far Apple is ahead. Its four million users just got a newly revamped phone with additional features, a harbinger of what's to come. Nokia was left to release an 8GB version of the N95, so that its users will have to replace their hardware at their own expense in order to have what the iPhone originally shipped with.

Dude, Dilger, you do realize that even the iPhone's magical software updates cannot magically make the iPhone magically have more capacity, right?

Nokia is also advertising that it thinks phones should have wide open potential, a competitive dig against the iPhone. The problem for Nokia is that it only has potential. The iPhone actually delivers usability now. And next month, when its SDK ships, the iPhone will offer more than just potential.

Jeebus, now you're just making it easy. In one breath he says that Nokia is advertising only on potential, and then he turns around and touts the iPhone's potential. Pot, meet kettle.

And then Dilger goes on and on about some whole controversy over Steve Jobs being rude to some weblogger. Dilger specifically calls out this weblogger for making a big deal over this whole non-incident. But guess which section is the largest in Dilger's article? That's right, the section about this weblogger, a weblogger who is blowing something out of proportion... and it gets the most attention in Dilger's article. Does anyone else see the hypocrisy here? Anyone?

It's just kind of funny that he ridicules this weblogger's post, when this whole section is not worth reading at all. It's not even worth me refuting it point-by-point.

And one more thing: why the hell do you put the links to your sources at the end of each section? This isn't print, it's the internets. You can *gasp* link any piece of text! Amazing, huh?

Pro bullshit-spotting tip: look at the pictures that accompany many of the RoughlyDrafted articles. Those alone should easily illustrate (ho HO!) that this site truly is fanatically pro-Apple and can safely be ignored.

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