The Macalope Weekly: Awwwwwwww Freak Out!

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The Macalope hopes you enjoyed your vacation from tablet rumors last week because it's just a few days until Apple unveils whatever it's going to unveil and it looks like everyone's had their crazy pills.

Sadly, they took the ones that make them even crazier, not the ones that calm them down.

We'll look at some tablet- and iPhone-related craziness from our friends at PCWorld and then check the blood pressure over at Amazon. (Spoiler: it's really, really high!)


PCWorld's Bill Snyder hasn't seen whatever Apple's announcing, but fish gotta swim and silly pundits gotta make stuff up!

It's going to be too expensive...

Bzzzt. You don't know how much it's going to cost. does things you don't need to do..

Ehnnt. You don't know what it will do.

It's designed like a clipboard...

Boiiing. You don't what what it's designed like.

To be fair...

Oh! Is it time to be fair now? Are you done being unfair? Great! So, that other stuff was what? Primal therapy?

...there are jobs that require the user to enter data while walking around. And if that's something one of your employees does for much of the day, a tablet could make sense.

"Tablets are stupid but, you know, if you want to be stupid that's up to you. Stupid."

So why would you want to carry around a device that's nearly as big (and twice as expensive) as a netbook, but doesn't run your business applications, isn't very secure, and is awkward to use?

Flabbergasting, isn't it?

Business technology should contribute to efficiency. A real laptop or netbook does real work that helps a business succeed. So does a Blackberry, a Pre or an iPhone. But cool as it may be, the iSlate fails that crucial test.



You realize you have not actually seen this device, right? The Macalope's a little concerned that Snyder may only realize that fact when, after several years, he notices the "iSlate" he was given to review has not gotten any older.

To his last point, an iPod touch can be used to play games, listen to music, watch movies or look at pornography. It can also be used as a point-of-sale system. If you want to categorically rule out the practical uses for a device that you haven't seen yet, that's your business. But you're really only hurting yourself.

Have we reached a point in technology punditry where opinions simply do not have to be backed up by any factual evidence at all? That the point is no longer reporting and analyzing facts, but fashioning these rough golems and setting them loose upon the Internet to indiscriminately destroy all in their path? Is that where we are?

Not that that doesn't have a certain appeal to it. Actually, the Macalope's pretty sure he'd do quite well under those ground rules.

Playing from the ladies tees

Sometimes it seems like PCWorld writers are given wide logical latitude where Apple is concerned.

This piece by Tony Bradley titled "Nexus One is 'Good' for business" baffled the Macalope. Bradley is on record as thinking that the iPhone is not appropriate for business use because of security concerns. The Macalope was interested to see what the reaction to the Nexus One would be because, in its current state, it faces some serious security issues of its own.

And guess what?! The Nexus One appears to be getting a pass! Go figure!

Let's try to follow this logic.

The lack of any such [central administration] controls is also one of the primary reasons that the iPhone is struggling for corporate acceptance--along with the requirement that iTunes be installed on every PC for users to sync the device. Adding Exchange messaging helped, but it doesn't address the myriad of issues corporate IT administrators must face in trying to maintain the network and communications infrastructures.

So, the iPhone is unacceptable because it lacks central administration tools. Got it.

Tools exist, though, to bridge that gap and provide a platform similar to BES for administering other smartphones in the enterprise. The aptly-named Good for Enterprise, is such a tool, and now there is a Good for Enterprise client for Android smartphones.

Ah. But tools such as Good do exist for other phones, making them more appropriate for business use. Well, that certainly is understandable.

Good for Enterprise has been around for a while. The Good for Enterprise server is installed in the corporate network, similar to BES, and each device requires a client access license (CAL). Client applications exist to support Palm, Symbian, Windows Mobile, and iPhone--and now Android.

Ah, Android. Well, there it is then. Because Good supports the Android, the Nexus One is appropriate for business...

Wait, what?!

...and iPhone...

Yes, that's right. Good supports the iPhone. Did you all catch that sleight of hand? OK, watch the lady! The iPhone lacks central administration tools. Third-party tools do exist for "other" phones such as Android-based phones. Oh, and the iPhone.

Editing mistake or three-card monte? You make the call. Regardless, Bradley has decided that the iPhone is bad for business because of security concerns but declared the Nexus One--which is less secure--to be "Good" for business (intentional pun or no). Why is it that the bar for the Apple products to be "business-ready" is always higher?

Have you considered a virgin sacrifice?

The freak-out about the possibility of an Apple tablet is not confined to the pundit class. This week Amazon made a trio of announcements in seeming reaction:

  • It's releasing a Kindle development kit (the beta of which will come out next month) for masochistic developers.
  • The company would be flipping its e-book publishing deal so that authors would take home the big end of the 70-30 split instead of Amazon.
  • Frequent Kindle book buyers were offered a money-back deal on Kindles that also allowed them to keep the Kindle.

All this was designed to send one clear, concise message to the industry:


Well, message received, Amazon! And you might want to stock up on liquor for next Wednesday. Just in case.

This story, "The Macalope Weekly: Awwwwwwww Freak Out!" was originally published by Macworld.

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