Archive for July, 2007

July 31, 2007

Engadget Pimps Apple site maintenance as an actual news story.

“Ok, here we go again, the Apple Store is down in the US and Canada, only. While 90% of the time we’re looking at product updates, there’s always the chance that Apple’s performing routine maintenance or making such minor tweaks that there’s no discernible impact to the fanboy radar. We’ll see in an hour or two when the site comes back online. So why not sound-off in the comments with your best guesses ’til then.”

Does anyone really think that a company as large as Apple really needs to take down their entire site for “ routine maintenance or making such minor tweaks”? One must question the tech savvy of a company that cannot do what sites like CNN and USA Today do on a constant basis 24/7. The whole point of doing this is to get the Apple friendly sites like Engadget, and the Apple faithful whipped into frenzy with chatter.

Routine site maintenance or overboard display to give the fans a Monday morning kick? You decided.


Update: Well, after what was at least a year long ratio of 1 to 1 store outages to new product announcements, Apple has now taken their store down twice only to return with minor changes, if any. Apple hopeful will now have to turn their sites to
August 7th for that rumored iMac / iLife release.”

You got to love how the lack of news is followed up with “news” in the form of rumors. Engadget just loves to be led around on the leash.

That is if Apple is yanking the leash only.

So what, if anything, was the point of this posting from Engadget then? If something big did happen, post it as news. If nothing happened, then you didn’t post some silly story of a site being down. Does this site do the same thing for Sony, Microsoft, Acer, Dell, Toshiba, Creative, HP, Lexmark, LG, Phillips or any other tech company?

I’ll save you some time. They don’t.

I’m sure the people in charge at Apple are just grinning that even with minor stuff like this, they can still pull the puppet strings at these tech news sites.

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As Early iPhone Numbers Dissapoint, Engadget & Others Turn Up the Spin Machine

July 25, 2007

The iPhone.

No single device in the history of gadgets had received this much hype in the tech news world. No device had been covered so thoroughly from rumor stage to announcement to pre-release to first day sales, and if you count Gizmodo and Engadget, has been covered this much after its release. Lay on top of that the thousands of news stories from various media, and fawning “reviews“, and you have a device that should have sold well over a million units in the first weekend of release, right?

Well, no.

Early number released from AT&T showed that early “activation” numbers were well below what expectations (hype) had pegged them as being. Reports had it around 500,000 and even more, but the numbers was really 146,000 who bought AND activated the phones.

Now I know the retort would be that there were more who bought the device but had trouble activating it. True, AT&T had some SNAFUs with the activation process, but if the actual activation number is 146,000 and the projections were up to 500,000 to 600,000, you cannot tell me seriously that hundreds of thousands of people are just sitting there with this thing in a box. You cant even use this as an mp3 player unless you activate it. If you reasonably add a tiny number of people that have not activated it + people that bought it to resell + hackers who bought it to exploit it, you cannot get to 500,000. You couldn’t get to 400,000.

And to toss just a little more salt on Carthage, here is a quote from an article from:

http://www.cellular-news.com/story/25090.php

“We have noticed decent inventories [of the iPhone] at stores, and thin demand at best,” analyst Ittai Kidron of CIBC World Markets wrote in a report Tuesday. “In fact, most Apple store visitors were not looking at the device and only a very small subset bought it.”

Really? If we were to go by the type of reporting from our “favorite” tech news blogs, this was suppose to be flying off the shelves like crazy 24/7. By now, everyone was suppose to have one, and the cell phone industry was suppose to have fled in fear of the great Apple juggernaut. Even some Apple fanatics saw Apple creating their own wireless company just to handle the demand.

Now before some people’s head explode, AT&Ts numbers are only from the last 2 days of the Quarter. Yes sales did not hit zero after then, but again, as the article said “thin demand at best”. So it is highly unlikely that they doubled the opening days numbers in the less than a months time after its release.

Possible, not likely. $600.00 + fees is a lot for the average consumer to stomach no matter how “pretty” the UI is.

Now that the hype machine has been turned off for the most part, and people just sick of hearing about Paris Hilton and the iPhone, it is not a surprise that sales thinned out.

Now let’s check how the Apple faithful reacted to this news.

Engadget got the ball rolling with a headline that even shocked some of their readers:
“AT&T profits soar, iPhone largely to thank”

Basically Engadget also called those who said the iPhones numbers were not impressive a “tough crowd”.

Nah, they are just people with millions tied into results. They don’t have time for pom-poms and waving “We Love Apple” banners. They fell for the hype and ramped up Apple’s stock much to the sheer delight of the Apple friendly media whom pasted the story all over as proof of Apple’s popularity. apparently they dont get that stock speculation does not equal personal love.

Engadget readers, however, were to have none of this spin:

“THIS ARTICLE IS FLAWED and degrades the credibility Engadget.

The bulk of the rise in net sales and income for AT&T comes from the acquisition of BellSouth for $67B. They merely combined the two numbers of both companies which yielded the increase. That is why this announcement is a “dissapointment” taking into account the expenses of acquiring BellSouth and has absolutely nothing to do with the iPhone.

I thought Engadget writers had a bit more credibility when it came to finance. Any editors reading this, I would make a retraction or serious revisions to this article. “

“Very true, the iPhone sales are a VERY insignificant portion of profits (especially considering it was 2 days of sales on ~$60, which as pointed out by Gil is not even $10mill) and has ZERO to do with AT&T’s profits for Q2, not to mention the lower than talked about number of iPhones sold would be seen as more a detriment to expected profits based on iPhone than anything else.”

“wow. what a bias this writer has. these were very much disappointing numbers – not because of wall streets high expectations so much, but from the fact that EVERYONE (media, wall street, investment firms, engadget?) had them pegged at 500k+ for the first weekend. it is, however, worth nothing that activations has nothing to do with actual sales of iphones and therefore the first “day and a half” of activations doesnt really tell the whole story.

lets put a bit more quality into the posts, k? thanks.”

“This has to be the most Apple-biased article written for this site ever. The iPhone had little or nothing to do with AT&T’s Q2 profit. For one, there were a MILLIONS IN MARKETING COSTS that went into the launch of the iPhone by AT&T. As part of their exclusive arrangement with Apple, they were solely on the hook for those costs. Second, only the activation fee is reported as income at the time of the sale. Monthly subscriber income is reported in the month and quarter in which it is billed. I’m guessing that AT&T’s profit margin on the actual hardware was little, nothing or even a loss, again based on the exclusive they have with Apple. Overall revenue from equipment sales were DOWN 7.4% for Q2 in the wireless segment:”

“The title of this article is crap and misleading.

If you listened to AT&T’s earnings conference call this morning you would know that they activated 146,000 iPhones and said 40% of that number were new customers. If you do the math, the iPhone had very, very, very, very, very little impact on the 1.5 new customers AT&T Wireless in Q2. Only 58,400 make up the 1.5 million new customers added.

You people on these blogs need to do a little research before you post crap like this.”
Many of the Apple rapid response team mad a gallant effort to buck each other up, as their emotional attachment to Apple is legendary, and a news item like this just knocked the wind out of them.

Yikes! The crowd is not amused…

Engadget has yet to offer “clarification” for their posting.

The prevailing hope is that Apple, which does its shareholder meeting the day after AT&T, will somehow report something wildly better than this. I guess I’m not sure if Apple will report figure for only the previous quarter, or will it try to stop the bleeding by working in figures from this current one.

That is basically what the tech blogs sites are waiting for. A ray of hope that they can get the Apple celebration train back on track.

All those months of free advertising which has totally tanked their credibility depend on it.

Why Post News When Rumors Are Free?

July 24, 2007

This is the summery, from the site Valleywag, that was pasted as a story on Gizmodo:

“Microsoft’s Vista SP1 fixes not out until 2009?

FROM VALLEYWAG.COM: The tip, incredible. The source, ironclad. Microsoft has apparently told executives at one of the world’s largest PC makers not to expect a formal release of Windows Vista SP1 — the first major set of upgrades and bug fixes to its Vista operating system –“

In the world of tech blogs, posting a story from an “ironclad” source, and having it turn out to be total bunk does not lose you any credibility, as the name of the game for many of them is just to get you to look at their pages and click on their ads. They all engage in it.

The sad thing is that due to not having any standards, many of the top blog sites have become clearing houses for this type of trash “stories” that do little more that start flame wars in their comment sections.

This story is no exception, as the author is clearly, although totally unaware if it is even remotely true, thrilled with this rumor. (btw it is labeled in Valleywag’s “rumormonger” section. If his source is so ironclad, why not just post it as actual news?)

You can almost feel his excitement:

“And if PC makers have to wait two years for SP1, and more than that for the next version of Windows? Apple‘s marketers will have a field day. And the notion of a mass-market Linux PC, once ludicrous, will look more and more plausible.”

I can see why Gizmodo picked up on this. If you can knock Microsoft, print it! Althrough Giz has shielded itself from liability by just posting a summary and link. No comments from Gizmodo readers on their site. Easy to wash you hands of it when it goes the way of most rumors.

July 24, 2007

Photo of Wonky iPhone Draws Understanding from Gizmodo and boilerplate Cries of “Photoshopping” From Apple Fanatics

Fresh of of it’s months long cheerleading session for the Apple phone. Gizmodo actually posted the following:

“What is happening is more or less normal for a 1.0 product. I wish that Apple spent some more time and money to heavily test their jesusPhone, but the market pressure was too big.”

Market pressure was too big? Gizmodo, as well as it’s sister site Engadget, as well as hundreds of similar sites, spent months and dozens of stories that sometimes fell into the total fluff category, pushing this device as the the greatest miracle of the 21st century. Many of the postings in the comments sections of these sites ripped competing phones as being inferior, and attacked anyone that dared to call for a tempering of the high flying expectations. Now that this first generation device is showing that it is just that, Gizmodo wants us to be understanding, and not to be surprised that these problems are coming to the forefront?

It gets even more silly as they start to wax sadly at how “Steve” (Apple’s CEO. Apparently they are on a first name basis) wont let them make this wonderful device just oh so much more special:

“When you put such a groundbreaking device in people’s hands—a communicating and computing platform that offers such an awesome user experience and allows for so many great things—the best thing is to allow everyone to fly with it”

Can you imagine this site giving this same type of fluff treatment to any other companies 1st generation product that has had this much hype and holes popping up this fast? Keep dreaming, because Gizmodo wont. Apparently Jobs told these guys that he supposedly reads their site so forget anything critical like you would have seen if this device was made by Microsoft.

They continue:

“Some users will be happy to enjoy the box as it is. But at the end, what really matters is what other people may dream to do with the iPhone, not only what Apple —with their limited resources— think. I know it sounds preachy and naive, but to allow people make real those dreams is what will make this platform not only amazing, but insanely great”

Barf bags available upon request…

The Apple fanatics, always quick to try to discredit any news that is remotely negative about Apple, tossed out the usual responses when a photo of a wonky Apple device comes to the forefront:

“Totally fake. You can see the black box extended to the stainless Steel part of the iPhone. Some people just wanted to spread bad news. Shame on you!”

More like shame on him for even taking the photo, right?

“Yes, how come everything is nearly in focus EXCEPT the lettering? Pretty fishy if you ask me. Also, notice the word wrap on the word “files” and “or” later on. Would the words really wrap like that? Hmm..”

“Has anybody even zoomed in on this photo? It looks like a fake to begin with. Pretty sloppy cut and paste if you ask me. Notice the poor clean up job that sort of looks like glare… pretty weak Gizmodo”

Of course if this was a image of a crashed Windows device do you honestly expect that anyone of these guys would spend their time making up Photoshop conspiracy theories?

 Link

Buckle in folks. This is only a taste of the bizarre things you’re going to see from these people.