Like lonely hearts looking for love in all the wrong places, these pundits are looking for answers in all the wrong places. Our first ad reads, "You: world's largest and most successful technology company. Me: trying to jam you into a headline you don't belong in." Next up, "You: still largest digital music retailer. Me: getting basic facts wrong." Finally, the Macalope thinks Microsoft executives are getting hot and bothered by the wrong relationship.
The Macalope has never written a book full of silly pundit axioms, but were he to, this would be in the top five:
Any time a new threat arises, it's always a threat to Apple, even if it's really not and even if, as more often than not, it's actually a threat to one of Apple's competitors.
Writing for the Motley Fool, Chris Neiger describes "Samsung's Growing Problem in China."
Oh, sorry! Of course it doesn't say "Samsung." It says "Apple." How silly.
How silly that it says "Apple."
Apple's made a lot of gains in China over the past few years.
Now let me counter-intuitively tell you how they are meaningless.
But a few years ago, a small problem started with Apple in China and it's since grown much bigger.
Despite Apple doing better and better in China.
Look, stick with me here, because it's going to get super-confusing.
Xiaomi, the private tech company that sells smartphones and now tablets, has its sights set on Apple--and it's paying off.
Xiaomi is doing better. So Apple is doomed. Even though Apple is also doing better. See? Couldn't be clearer.
The real iPhone killer
That construction never gets old.
Xiaomi's phones run a modified version of Android, which looks more like iOS 7 than any version of the green droid.
Ah, so it's more of a threat to Google than Apple, too, since the OS removes Google's services. Apple must surely be worried. Apple, Apple, Apple.
In Q1 2014, Xiaomi had 10% smartphone market share in China, putting it in the No. 3 spot behind Samsung and Lenovo. Meanwhile, Apple took the No. 4 spot with 9%. This comes after Apple recently launched the iPhone on China Mobile's massive network with 781 million subscribers. Obviously, that partnership may take a while for all the benefits to pan out, but so far, it hasn't helped Apple outsell Xiaomi in China.
Like, say, the benefit of a full quarter. The iPhone launched on China Mobile on January 17.
But the problem for Apple isn't just that Xiaomi is doing so well in China's smartphone market, but that the company isn't satisfied with stopping there.
And, surely, if it gets 10 percent market share on its home turf while Apple has an arm tied behind its back, it'll get more than that in Apple's home turf where Apple's market share is 42 percent because kittens are adorable.
Sorry, it's just that there is no logical causality for that sentence.
Just last week Xiaomi debuted its first tablet ...
The high-end specs, hardware, and software designs are more than just a nod to Apple; they're a way of tapping Apple's fan base ...
Translation: I have no idea why people buy Apple products.
As Apple continues to make China a priority, Xiaomi's growing presence in the country (and blatant copying of Apple's iPad Mini) should make Apple investors a little nervous.
An Android device that competes on price is a concern primarily for Apple, not Samsung, because cupcakes are delicious.
Can't argue with that.
What's so impressive about online writing about Apple is how everyone makes sure to get their facts right and hahahaha no, not at all.
Writing for Newsweek, Kevin Maney says "Apple's Beats Electronics Buy Is a Late Attempt at Catch-up" (tip o' the antlers to @JonyIveParody).
In the history of confessing to strategic business blunders, Apple buying Beats Electronics might only be topped if Fidel Castro personally reopens the Havana Stock Exchange.
If only Apple had its own streaming music service.
Society is shifting from owning music to renting it ...
Or a lease with an option to buy.
[Apple's] reported $3.2 billion purchase of hip music service Beats smacks of an embarrassing effort to catch up.
Yes, it's super embarrassing. Just imagine where Apple could be if they had a ... streaming music ...
At least one thing works in Apple's favor: No company has been able to make itself king of cloud-based subscription music.
So, the market's not locked up and Apple actually has a streaming music service, but this move is just "embarrassing" what with how late it is. Got it.
But somebody will ...
And it couldn't possibly be Apple.
Just a decade ago, Apple put together the iTunes-iPod business model and defined the digital music market. For years after, Apple ruled the category the way Google rules search or Heinz rules ketchup ...
Ooh, sick burn on you, Hunt's!
But then Apple froze.
In first place.
By last year, Apple's share of digital music had slipped to 63 percent and is expected to fall further.
So, in other words, Apple still rules the category. But it's slipped to 63 percent from a high Maney says was "close to 70 percent." And since this is its major revenue source, look for Apple to go out of business soon.
Downloads are still a much bigger business than cloud music, but the shift is on.
Apple could do it, but not with its wimpy little me-too offerings like iRadio.
Apple is at its best when it defines a new market and installs itself as king ... But Apple has no history of buying its way into defining a market.
Nope. None at all:
SoundJam MP, developed by Bill Kincaid and released by Casady & Greene in 1999, was renamed iTunes when Apple purchased it in 2000.
Come on! It's the exact market you're talking about!
Newsweek: We might check some of the facts. Maybe.
Which is probably not a surprising motto for a magazine that used to employ Dan Lyons.
Paling in comparison
Another onstage appearance by Microsoft's executive crew to unveil a product has coaxed the Winotaur out of his maze. The Macalope sees if he can't shame him back in.
MACALOPE: Where have you been? You've been laying low lately.
WINOTAUR: Oh, you know, just working on a little thing called ... the Surface Pro 3! BOO-YAH!
MACALOPE: "Boo-yah"? Do you get your exclamatory phrases from Overstock.com or something?
WINOTAUR: No. I ... I have a guy.
MACALOPE: So, OK. Let me get this right, because there was a lot of confusion before. This is the Surface Pro--not the Surface RT? Is either one of these for Enterprise Workgroups?
WINOTAUR: Har-har. Look, I get it. You're bent out of shape because we just raised the bar and lowered the boom on the MacBook Air. I know you'll need some time to walk that off.
MACALOPE: Ha. How's that work again?
WINOTAUR: Simple. The Surface 3 starts at just $799, bro! You can't touch that. And it weighs less than the 13-inch MacBook Air!
MACALOPE: Yeah, your execs sure seemed to be gunning for the Air on stage. Even though it's real competition is those ... things ... the Macalope can't even say the word.
WINOTAUR: What word?
MACALOPE: You know. All those MacBook Air clones.
WINOTAUR: I have no idea what you're talking about.
MACALOPE: Yes, you do! Silver frames, black keyboards. There's a whole row of them at your stores!
WINOTAUR: Nope, drawing a blank.
MACALOPE: Ugh, Ultrabooks! There! Now the Macalope needs a shower.
WINOTAUR: Like you didn't need one anyway. No wonder I didn't know what you were talking about. See, the reason they looks somewhat similar to the MacBook Air is just the natural evolution of the form factor.
MACALOPE: It's amazing how many product lines just "naturally" evolve into looking like Apple products.
WINOTAUR: Simple Darwinism. That's all that is, baby.
MACALOPE: But the Surface 3 isn't hitting Apple so much as it's hitting Windows OEMs. Which explains why they're now making Chromebooks and, ugh, Android-based laptops. See what horrific freaks of nature you've driven them to?
WINOTAUR: You can't make an omelette of awesomeness without breaking a few eggs of ... uh, contractual relationships?
MACALOPE: Wow. OK. But, look, since you invited the comparison, let's do an actual comparison. You know, not the phony-baloney one your guys did. Yes, the entry-level 64 GB Surface Pro 3 is $799, but that's without a keyboard--the keyboard is $129. So, really, it's $928. And, as far as the weight goes, it's a 12-inch screen. With the keyboard it likely weighs somewhere between the 11-inch MacBook Air and the 13-inch Air. In other words, it weighs exactly what it should weigh.
WINOTAUR: But the screen is amazing!
MACALOPE: Yes, the screen is better than the Air's. Yaaay. It still costs $29 more for half the storage space. It also only has one USB port. And there's one other thing that's going to hold it back.
WINOTAUR: What's that?
MACALOPE: It still runs Windows 8.
WINOTAUR: Hey! Windows 8.1 is ... uh ... better.
MACALOPE: Well, at least we agree on one thing about the Surface 3.
WINOTAUR: What's that?
MACALOPE: It's not a tablet.
WINOTAUR: It is so a tablet!
MACALOPE: It's a tablet that your executives continuously compare to laptops. Because they know no one uses this thing as a tablet.
WINOTAUR: Why don't you just run along and take that shower?