Much Ado About (Almost) Nothing

My take on yesterday’s Apple event, for Newsweek.com. See here.

27 Responses to “Much Ado About (Almost) Nothing”

  1. Pat

    I too groaned at the naming of Genius, but damn, after I tried it I was sold. It’s superior to Party Shuffle in almost every way and the annoying pop-out is easily closed. Seems like a winning feature.

    Reply
  2. FBO

    I can agree. I only viewed the live updates from engadget, but I was unimpressed with the overall event. Sure, the new nano is nice, and since I do need to get a new iPod, maybe I’ll look into that.
    Genius I see as being annoying; I may like certain bands, or even just certain songs, but I don’t want a suggestion of what to Spanish dishes I can prepare just because I picked up a bag of black beans from the ethnic food aisle (using your grocery store reference).
    But you should know, you aren’t far off with your grocery store comparison either. A lot of how they stock shelves has to do with what foods go together.
    And yeah, I seen photos, and would say he looked frail. But then I saw the CNBC interview, and he sounded lively. And to bring up the CNBC interview… Does Apple alter his voice when he does the keynotes? His voice sounded like a total geek for the interview.

    - Barry

    Reply
  3. SamG

    The coolest thing of the event was Steve himself. Every time he comes out, he shows another notch in class – in spite of those who have no class themselves. iPod here or there, that’s not a big deal. As one columnist noted, last four years were Steve’s most productive, in the face of great health risk.

    Plutarch noted “What we achieve inwardly will change outer reality” and that applies to Steve one hundred percent.

    Reply
  4. Rob McDougall

    I think Apples stock is sliding because they seem to be ignoring one of their core businesses – notebooks.

    As soon as new MacBooks / Pros come out next month their stock will be riding high again. I’m sure of it.

    Now for my wish list.

    MacBook Pro. 13″ Screen. 900 hour battery life. 1GB Video Ram. Oooo baby.

    Reply
  5. Patrick

    Sorry, but I’m actually gonna have to disagree, to some extent. The grocery store comparison is way off. Surely nobody wants to be pestered with intrusive suggestions while shopping. Listening to music, however, is much different. There is quite a large market for suggestive audio playback with Pandora, Last.fm, Music Genome Project, and a countless of apps and tools that attempt to predict what the user would want to listen to. Even if this type of thing doesn’t appeal to you personally, the idea of having your very own DJ that seems to always pick that perfect song for your mood is a dream to many others. This is where Party Shuffle and Smart Playlists fall short and I think Genius fills in the role quite successfully.

    The other news did seem pretty ho-hum but to expect anything more would be asking a tad bit much – a result of the notorious pre-event Apple rumor mills and the fact that we take it for granted that Apple will dazzle us with another new and shiny iProduct that fills the whole in our already gadget filled lives. It was pretty obvious that Steve appeared only to appease the shareholders with a Mark Twain quote in classic Jobs fashion. Of course, it didn’t help much.

    Reply
  6. deathByChiChi

    I love Pandora.

    The iTunes 8 visualizer totally kicks ass.

    I liked Fake Steve better. It was more fun when you were ripping on the record industry, the carriers, etc. Apple is the only real alternative to Microsoft, and they’re still doing a better job of it, and when you rank on Apple, you’re aligned with Dvorak and all the other Microsoft-beholden press, which is boring.

    Reply
  7. Erick

    Apple makes great products. I love my iPod touch, I love my new iPhone 3G and I will be buying an iMac soon.

    By the way, I love Genius, it makes really easy to discover songs that I might like, and is great for Apple from the financial point of view, since they will be selling more songs. Investors should be happy. But they don’t know what Apple represents anyway. Neither you do, Dan.

    Keep it coming, Apple. I love you!

    Reply
  8. dvorak

    The commentards have been treating Dan’s metaphorical coffee like a urinal for the last month or so. Not that he hasn’t deserved it.

    Reply
  9. MikeW

    Wow – way to give the industry leader in mobile music NO CREDIT for continuing to innovate. I guess every product should just go stale and we (read they) should never try new things.

    If Apple events piss you off so much, why do you go to them?

    Reply
  10. Haro!

    I disagree with your opinion Dan, and not just you but the media in general. Everyone has said how “underwhelming” the keynote was. And while yeah there aren’t any ground-breaking products a la iPhone, these refreshed products are still ahead of the competition and have enough interesting features to keep people wanting them. I think it is rather curious how the media is always underwhelmed by these product introductions, and yet, the products are still successful. And to top it off, even this “disappointing” product release was delivered with more passion than any I’ve seen by any other company. The RDF is still working, either that or no one else seems to be trying any harder than Apple.
    And Dan, just between us, did your assimilation into Newsweek make you lose some insight? Dude your columns have been off compared to your work at Forbes (which I really enjoyed). We need some freetard bashing, and someone has to call Google on their s*** (and that’s coming from a guy that otherwise likes Google).

    Reply
  11. Critique Guy

    Hey Dan, whats up ? Your articles in the past time are as underwhelming as the Let’s rock event. I mean the ones here and especially those at newsweek. Seems as if you lost your appetite and just continue to write something anyhow.

    Was your FSJ role really so inspirational? Without it you can’t write no more ?

    I don’t know Dan. Reading your articles make me think they force you to work on windows or linux at newsweek. If thats something that can describe a mood. I don’t mind your mostly negative words on apple the last time but I do mind the ever reoccurring schemes. Like the jobs health issue thing.

    I enjoyed your FSJ posts soo much – especially those that weren’t particulary apple specific like your takes on the movie and music industry. They were really great.

    Personally I think I’m also kind of turned of. I mean you got most your readers mac users who enjoyed your FSJ role which was mostly directed at anything else out there. Lots of dirty, sarcastic jokes – entertainment in the end. Now recently you blow – in the exact opposite direction. This would be even fair if there was anything else in the articles your writing now. Maybe you’re in the need for some blog-o-chromatics ?

    Currently you are far away from your former level. You read like a scoble or dvorak. It’s just old, boring and sometimes even wrong. – I hope that doesn’t hit you too hard. I know you can do better.

    I hope it’s just a common bug !

    ~ Sorry I used I that often – not a native speaker ;)

    Reply
  12. Critique Guy

    Actually, one more thing. I also liked your Apple critique in FSJ times a lot more. Like when they shut down thinksecret. Man you were killin. Now you’re like grandpa who lost his teeth on the street.

    Couple of months ago I sent links to my frinds pointing at your articles. Haven’t done this in a while now.

    Is this even the real Dan Lyons ? ;)

    Reply
  13. Russell

    Sorry… but like some above, I liked FSJ. I hate Real Dan. It’s too cynical. You seem to hate everything that goes on. And… I thought you liked Apple!

    Come on. I’m not going to threaten you with a deleted bookmark, as I won’t, but… give us something to like about this blog. Seriously.

    Reply
  14. Graham

    I disagree with you Dan!

    1) Because I want too see Fake Steve back so I will crisicise every post you make on this blog regardless of it’s quality.

    2) Because Microsoft is a big evil nasty company who forces it’s consumers to accept expensive contracts for it’s phones and charges way too much for it’s computers so I will only ever buy Apple stuff also regardless of it’s quality.

    ————————

    Seriously. Does anyone else feel their faith in hummanity dwindling everytime they use the internet?

    Reply
  15. NOYB

    Real Dan sucks. He seems determine to be the “bad boy” of journalism, finding a way to be critical of nearly anything. There is plenty of sheer crap to write about, why he has to squat and make his own out of nothing is stupid.

    This is supposed to fair analysis? How often do you pray each night you sick pup that Steve dies? There is something wrong with you. I really hope Newsweek reads the comments over here (I refuse to register at news sites even though I have a junk email set up for that purpose, like this cesspool, maybe bugmenot has an account I can jack) and see that your work has been crap. Do you have an apple shoved up your anus as a kid or something?

    _____________________

    Graham, yes. And I still think “frail” Jobs could probably kick Lyons’ ass. Punk behind the keyboard overcompensating.

    Reply
  16. NOYB

    @Russell he never liked Apple despite his unbelievable “I never inhaled” comments that say otherwise. It is quite obvious now that he prematurely gave up the FSJ blog and is bitter that he is not the popular kid in the gang any more.

    Reply
  17. bhatnaturally

    I disagree with Dan. The Lets Rock even being underwhelming is a media creation. Which other category or brand has its users & media looking forward to a product launch or upgrade? We don’t even care most of the time. With Apple it’s different – every move is over critiqued and over analyzed, because Apple has sets very high standards for itself. Why is that only Apple has to deliver ‘life changing’ products every quarter? And as someone else pointed even these ‘evolutionary’ products are presented with such finesse and style. And yeah, FSJ was better. RDL is a bit underwhelming.

    Reply
  18. HypnoWise

    Genius? Netflix, Amazon, and other online merchants have had automated recommendations based on purchases for years.

    The remarkable thing is that Apple can always find a way of putting lipstick on pig and get away with calling it innovation. (Not that I’m referring to Sarah Palin, mind you.)

    Reply
  19. Kat

    “iPod touch. The funnest iPod ever.” Courtesy apple.com.

    “Funnest.” Really, Apple? Ever think of running a launch announcement through spell check before you send it out? Or past an editor? No? Well, you really should look into that.

    Reply
  20. Erick

    Do you know what Dan and Apple have in common? Both have set really high standards in the past which cannot always be replicated.

    Apple is having some issues with some of its products, and Dan is having a mid-age crisis which doesn’t let him write the stuff he used to write and we used to love.

    Will this bad season pass? Certainly. When? Impossible to determine.

    Reply
  21. yet another steve

    Errors and exaggerations as FSJ were funny.
    Now you’re in Enderle/Dvorak territory.
    It’s a shame you chucked the funniest read on the net to be just another snarky so-called journalist who never lets facts or history get in the way.

    Why is Apple engaged in Apple business as usual? Because Apple business as usual makes billions of dollars (and growing) in profits. Apple rolls out its music line every fall. The refreshed lineup hasn’t been shocking since they killed the mini for the nano. It’s the fall line rollout. It makes billions of dollars, has a 70%+ US share, and Apple stages events because journalists attend and write about it.

    And Apple is stretched thin trying to reach the potential of the businesses it is in… so drama is off the table… and that is VERY GOOD NEWS to people who uses macs and iphones.

    Fundamentally, I don’t even think you understand the Apple value proposition. It is not to revolutionize the world every year. It is to take the potential of the technology that exists, and deliver it in a more accessible, delightful out of the box experience. Stunning announcements twice a year is almost the antithesis of that.

    Reply
  22. Proxy

    Dan, you are beginning to sound like Scoble: This sucks…this is awesome…this sucks. And he wonders why Microsoft don’t take him back.

    Reply
  23. James

    What, did real Steve tell you to stop being fake steve? Is that the source of your vitriol towards Apple lately? If you didn’t like the event, say you didn’t like the event. Period. If Newsweek is having you cover this, cover it from a journalistic POV, not some beyond prime blogger.

    Reply
  24. James L.

    At least this Newsweek piece wasn’t quite as bad as the tripe you handed in previous, ‘One Bad Apple’ (when CNBC makes you look dumb, well…). Jumping on the ‘Apple is a monopoly/Microsoft/bad company’ bandwagon is sooo obviously beneath you. And yet, you stoop. There is legitimate criticism to be made about Apple (the sinking quality of their retail locations and AppleCare service, the lack of attention to detail when releasing software updates–to name only a few) but they are not the result of monopolistic tendencies. If you are only going to post in spurts of 5-10 posts every 6-8 weeks, why not make them count? I really miss FSJ. I know I’m not alone. It’s not because I’m an Apple fanboy, it’s because your writing was much better within the constraints that vehicle provided. Now this is just another blog, one that is now officially off my list of daily hits. I called it last year: FSJ jumped the shark when you went political with the Clinton/Obama crap… It’s been all downhill from there. That I stayed on this long hoping for another bounce is a testament to the quality of your past work, but that credit has been exhausted.

    Reply
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