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Biting into Apple: The Giant’s Revenues Fall

The worm has gotten into Apple, and is feasting with some consistency. Revenue has fallen. Chief executive Tim Cook is cranky. The celebrated front of Apple’s wealth – the iPhone with its range of glittering models – has not done as well as he would have hoped. Dreams of conquering Cathay (or, in modern terms, the Chinese market) have not quite materialised.

In a letter to Apple’s investors, Cook explained that “our revenue will be lower than our original guidance for the quarter, with other items remaining broadly in line with our guidance.” This somewhat optimistic assessment came with the heavily stressedcaveat: “While it will be a number of weeks before we complete and report our final results, we wanted to get some preliminary information to you now. Our final results may differ somewhat from these preliminary estimates.”

The reasons outlined were various, but Cook, in language designed to obfuscate with concealing woods for self-evidenttrees, suggested that the launches of various iPhone types would “affect our year-to-year compares.” That said, it “played out broadly in line with our expectations.” While Cook gives the impression of omniscience, he is far from convincing. Why go for the “unprecedented number of new products to ramp”, resulting in “supply constraints” which led to limiting “our sales of certain products during Q1 [the first quarter]”? Such is the nature of the credo.

Where matters were not so smooth to predict were those “macroeconomic” matters that do tend to drive CEOs potty with concern. While there was an expectation that the company would struggle for sales in “emerging markets”, the impact was “significantly greater… than we had projected.” China, in fact, remained the hair-tearing problem, singled out as the single biggest factor in revenue fall.  

“In fact,” goes Cook’s letter of breezy blame, “most of our revenue shortfall to our guidance, and over 100 percent of our year-over-year worldwide revenue decline, occurred in Greater China across iPhone, Mac and iPhone.” The slowing of China’s economy in the second half of 2018, with a slump in the September quarter being the second lowest in the last 25 years, deemed a significant factor.

The irritating tangle of world politics also features; as ever, Apple can hardly be responsible for errors or misjudgements, and prefers, when convenient, to point the finger to the appropriate catalyst. The United States has not made matters easy for the Apple bottom line in its trade war spat with Beijing. “We believe that the economic environment in China has been further impacted by rising trade tensions with the United States.”

While it is never wise to consult the view of economists without caution (their oracular skills leave much to be desired), the feeling among the analysts is that a further contraction is nigh. “We expect a much worse slowdown in the first half, followed by a more serious and aggressive government easing/stimulus centred on regulating the property market in big cities,” claims chief China economist at Nomura, Ting Lu. But chin up – a rebound is bound to happen in the latter part of 2019.

The Apple vision is, however, dogmatically optimistic, an indispensable quality to any cult. China remains customary dream and object, a frontier to conquer. It is stacked with Apple friendly innovators (“The iOS developer community in China is among the most innovative, creative, and vibrant in the world.”) and loyal customers who have “a very high level of engagement and satisfaction.”  

Product fetishism only carries you so far. The iPhone models are not exactly blazing a trail of enthusiasm in other countries either. Users in Brazil, India, Russia and Turkey can count themselves as being more reluctant.  

Some of this dampening is due, in no small part, to a certain cheek on the part of the tech giant, one nurtured by years of enthusiastic, entitled arrogance. In late 2017, for instance, the company revealed that it was slowing down iPhones with old batteries in an attempt to prevent undesired shutdowns. But the company did not feel any great desire to inform users of this fiddling, and it took the published findings of an iPhone user to replace his iPhone 6’s battery, thereby restoring performance to accepted levels, to kick the hornets’ nest.  

As Chris Smith explains, “The fix was implemented via an update last January [2017], but Apple didn’t accurately inform users of what was going to happen to chemically aged batteries.” Class action suits followed in the United States; Brazilian authorities insisted that the company inform iPhone users on how to have their batteries replaced within 10 days.

The bite on Apple has had its predictable shudder on the markets. Investors ran off some $75 billion on the company’s stocks. The Nasdaq fell by 3 percent; the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 2.8 percent. An environment of chaos has greeted us in 2019, and fittingly, Apple remains at the centre of it, a company as responsible for modern technological worship as any. As with any central dogma, disappointments are bound to happen, an irrepressible function of misplaced belief.

35 comments

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  1. Ian Joyner

    The battery issue with iPhone 6 was widely misreported as some kind of Apple nastiness, played up by competitors. In fact, the battery was not really reported – it came out as “Apple deliberately slows down old models to make you buy a new one”. This was disproven by battery replacement or plugging the device in to restore full speed.

    I used to work with Burroughs mainframes (probably the best machines ever devised). The MCP OS was open source. Each release came with 100s of pages of notes documenting every minor change. But this was so technical people at each site could assess the exact impact of an upgrade.

    For Apple’s users this information would most likely be of no interest. It is debatable whether Apple made a mistake not to publicise the slowing of old batteries to preserve life. For most of us environmentalists it is a good thing to squeeze more life out of a battery before going to landfill (um recycling!).

    So the whole story is much more nuanced than most anti-Apple people would make out.

    “irrepressible function of misplaced belief”

    It is not misplaced belief. Apple have significantly changed this industry for the better. Before we had the view of computers as controlling or replacing people (AI). This thinking was challenged in Silicon Valley and Stanford by people such as Doug Englebart (mouse inventor) who believed computers were tools for people (augmenting intellect as Englebart put it).

    Steve Jobs understood this way of thinking and took significant risks to productise this thinking. Others saw Apple’s success and copied the hardware, but not the ethos. Most significantly Microsoft. But Windows was constrained by IBM which wanted to preserve its old computer-controlling-human approach. When I use Windows, I can feel this “office machine” thinking where people come in and do their tasks that have been directed by others, backed up by support people who must do their job to serve and preserve the system.

    Now Google is seeking to control people through its AI approach to target marketing at people and allows others to do the same on its Android platform. Apple is more locked down, but this is portrayed as Apple being controlling. Be careful of this reasoning, it is really big companies trying to destroy this protection. Perhaps they will force Apple to follow in the end – I hope not. I think Tim Cook does understand Steve Jobs thinking.

    Apple is a software and systems company – thinking about how things are useful and used. Most other companies trying to dominate this industry and destroy Apple (not a good business model). They are electronics companies who believe circuit designers should dictate the shape of the world (Bob Barton, designer of the Burroughs B5000 saw this and said software people should design computers, not electronics people).

    So it is not so much a belief as a central tenet that computers are servants of people and not people the servants of computers or the system. This goes beyond Apple producing high-quality products (which they do), but to the raison-d’eire itself of computing or any human activity. I’ll support Apple while they keep this ethos, where many others don’t.

  2. Matters Not

    So Apple’s profits are down. Who is to blame? Trump, as usual, gets it completely wrong. Doesn’t understand the effects of tariffs. But no-one would be surprised.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v7_xOqj0YIs

  3. whatever

    As usual, according to the Finance reporters, every fall in the stock market is due to the Chinese.

    Maybe they should play a loud gong and show a graphic of an evil, Fu Manchu – type character when they make these claims.

  4. Matters Not

    Untangle the financials, if you can.

    Let’s examine an iPhone 7 a little more closely to see how much value China is actually getting.

    Start with the most valuable components that make up an iPhone: the touch screen display, memory chips, microprocessors and so on. They come from a mix of U.S., Japanese, Korean and Taiwanese companies, such as Intel, Sony, Samsung and Foxconn. Almost none of them are manufactured in China. Apple buys the components and has them shipped to China; then they leave China inside an iPhone.

    Who would’ve thought. But there’s more to unpack.

    So what about all of those famous factories in China with millions of workers making iPhones? The companies that own those factories, including Foxconn, are all based in Taiwan. Of the factory-cost estimate of $237.45 from IHS Markit at the time the iPhone 7 was released in late 2016, we calculate that all that’s earned in China is about $8.46, or 3.6 percent of the total. That includes a battery supplied by a Chinese company and the labor used for assembly.

    Not owned by the communist Chinese? Only get about 3.6% of the total. Finally.

    The other $228.99 goes elsewhere. The U.S. and Japan each take a roughly $68 cut, Taiwan gets about $48, and a little under $17 goes to South Korea. And we estimate that about $283 of gross profit from the retail price – about $649 for a 32GB model when the phone debuted – goes straight to Apple’s coffers.

    In short, China gets a lot of (low-paid) jobs, while the profits flow to other countries.

    It’s a complex world in which we live. Perhaps Trump could import his wall from China. They’ve plenty to spare. They know that walls don’t work these days – except as a tourist attraction

    https://theconversation.com/we-estimate-china-only-makes-8-46-from-an-iphone-and-thats-why-trumps-trade-war-is-futile-99258

  5. Roger Hawcroft

    Apple has been criticised at every turn throughout its history. In spite of this, it has been at the forefront of designing reliable, aesthetically pleasing, functional and innovative products. In most cases their innovations have been criticised when first released but it hasn’t been long before their competitors have copied them – and usually not very well.

    It is not an accident that the Mac introduced the first PC with a GUI that actually worked and changed the face of word processing and graphics manipulation. It is not an accident that it produced the first marketable laptop, the first compact digital music player, the first digital watch of note or the first decent mobile phone. From the earliest days of Atkinson’s Hypercard and “the programming solution for the rest of us”, the Apple ethos has produced operating systems that have left others behind when it comes to the general marketplace.

    In spite of all the criticism, the company has been a leader in making personal computing accessible to even the biggest dumbo and yet capable of meeting the needs of the most professional of IT gurus.

    The one time that the company made a major mistake was when it decided it could do without Steve Jobs and, instead, put in a soft drink salesman as CEO and licensed its OS to clone manufacturers. What a disaster! I remember the stock price being down to about $28 and had I been fortunate enough to have disposable income I would have bought up big and I’d be set for life now instead of being on a pension below the poverty line.

    Yes, I accept that Apple have, at times, used some of the tactics so common among corporate giants but they have never cheated the end users of their products and have a model for how to give back to the community by being among (if not) the first to introduce re-cyclable packaging, to offer a genuine refurbishment scheme and to move whole-heartedly into solar power for their plants.

    I’m neither an economist nor a capitalist and have no financial nous whatsoever, which is why I’m in the situation I’m in at 72 years old, but as concerned as I am about the power exerted by the 1% and major corporate entities, I have used both Apple and their competitors products since the days of the Apple II, the Amstrads, Dick Smith’s Cats and other IBM clones. I know which I have trusted, which have been most pleasing and accessible to operate, and which have held their value and operational ability for longest. Indeed, my everyday phone is an iPhone 3gs that was bought used and has been handed down through the family. No, it won’t run the latest version of ios and it’s not as slim and cute as later models but it still does all I need in a phone and runs as well as when it was first bought. Find me a competitor’s product for which you could say the same and I’d perhaps have to rethink but, for the time being, Apple has my respect and I sincerely hope that it goes on to even greater success.

    From someone who recognises the inequity of capitalism and particularly the neo-liberalism that has blighted us since Reagan and Thatcher and Howard, it may seem odd for me to react this way. However, this loyalty and respect is what Apple has cultivated in its users because they have provided the best and done it at a realistic price, albeit one that lesser competitors can beat – but only with inferior products.

  6. Miriam English

    Wow. I’m amazed at the Apple fanboy comments here. Those who think Apple have led the way have drunk the Apple kool-aid and seriously need to learn a bit more about computer history. Apple only led the way with its original Apple I and Apple II computers that Steve Wozniak designed and Steve Jobs marketed. After that they followed in everything. Everything except external appearance. Their great “contribution” to the world of computers was to turn computers from tools into fashion accessories.

    This humorous quip puts it well:

    Apple dumped the geek/hobbyist market to go after the highly profitable moron/trendy market.

    Admittedly early Macs and their laptops were well built, though that’s no longer so. If you want a really well built laptop, get a Sony, though you need way more money than I have.

    At every step of the way, Apple followed other people’s innovations, the technology they sold always lagged badly. The only instance I can think of where they actually led on anything was multi-touch screens, but even there they bought the technology from others to put it in their iPhones. I’d had a Palm computer with a touch screen (without multi-touch) for many, many years before Apple trumpeted that they changed the world. Of course they didn’t, but their brainwashed masses believed them. There had been many small computers and phones with touch screens before the iPhone.

    Here is a recent short video explaining Apple’s recent “problems”… if you think continuing to make obscene amounts of profit instead of increasingly greater obscene amounts of money is a problem.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WrYbvyddS1s

    Many friends ask me what kind of computer they should buy. I always advise them don’t buy an Apple computer or phone; they’re greatly overpriced and under-performing. Consider what you want the computer for, then buy a machine that suits that purpose. Personally, I prefer to install Linux on my computers, but I don’t even advise them to use that, unless that’s what is appropriate. If what you want is an overpriced fashion item that is also a computer then, fine. Buy an Apple machine. Though if you want something that is truly beautiful and is also very high performance, buy a Sony laptop and install Linux on it. (But don’t ever buy anything made by Compaq or Hewlett-Packard.)

  7. Diannaart

    Sage advice, Miriam

    Even though I have an iPad, I also have an old PC running Linux … OK it’s a Hewlett-Packard, however I agree and if I had the $ would buy Sony.

  8. Miriam English

    I need to change what I said about Sony laptops. They are still beautiful, powerful machines, but Sony is soon to discontinue them. 🙁

    Replace my recommendation with that for a Lenovo machine. Super-reliable. Put Linux on it.

  9. Diannaart

    But refurbished Sony laptops, a possibility?

    Also I have a Lenovo desktop, which I haven’t gotten around to setting up yet. Got it on sale, but have been too ill/lazy.

    You are a goldmine in so many ways.

  10. Miriam English

    Diannaart, old HP machines are okay, but since HP were bought by Compaq their quality has dropped. And Compaq have a reputation of designing their machines so that they’d only accept Compaq brand over-priced expansion cards.

    Also HP have been doing naughty things with their printers lately: advising users to install a security upgrade, which is really a sneaky timer that counts down for a couple of months then quietly disables the printer’s ability to work with third-party inks. Very naughty.

    Epson have been caught doing this too, I believe. I’d previously had a very high opinion of Epson.

    Apple are the real experts at locking users into buying their over-priced parts. They’ve always used different connectors and different “standards” to force their users to pay more money for parts and maintenance.

  11. Miriam English

    Oops… fact-check fail by me. It was the other way around — Compaq was bought by HP. Perhaps some of the cynical corporate philosophy entered HP when they absorbed Compaq.

  12. Diannaart

    But it’s worth setting up the Lenovo?

    And about refurbished Sony’s?

    🙂

  13. Miriam English

    Diannaart, I’d love a secondhand Sony Vaio if I ever found one that fitted my finances. They’d be like hen’s teeth though I think. Except for old ones… but don’t ever get a really old one without wireless, for instance. Unless you want to use it completely disconnected from the world, like “Game of Thrones” author… whatisname.

    My thought would be that if your current desktop computer works fine, then stick with it. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it. On the other hand if (like me) you have an irresistible urge to fiddle, then by all means set up the Lenovo. I don’t have any experience with their desktop machines, but if they’re anything like their laptops, they’re well built and just keep on running for many, many years.

  14. Roger Hawcroft

    Miriam English, your comments are simply nonsense. They are, in the main, untrue, and display no real understanding or even simple attention to the development of personal computing and the products that have serviced the market for it since its onset at the start of the seventies.

    Your assertions that Apple have been followers rather than innovators and leaders are totally false and misleading, as is your suggestion that their more recent manufacturing quality is poor.

    Your rant full of falsities and unnecessarily demeaning innuendo and prejudiced commentary. I am not an ‘Apple fanboy’ and you would do well to keep such demeaning slurs out of your prose.

    There is solid evidence to show that virtually everything your wrote is untrue. Indeed, it sounds as trivially stupid as the endless rants that occurred constantly on computer forums about 20 years ago when the teenage boys who loved to fiddle would slang off at the Mac and some equally silly but generally more knowledgeable Mac users would return the fire. The arguments were pointless and demonstrated nothing more than the foolishness and ignorance of most of those on each side.

    Yes, Apple have a wide loyalty base. That is not, however, based on delusion but on the realities they have experienced, often having started their computing on Dos/Windows clones and then in frustration, moved to the Mac.

    Apple have had an edge on its competitors at all times other than the brief episode that I referred to in my previous post when they licensed their OS to clone manufacturers. Their edge comes from the fact that they control both hardware and software and thus can ensure much more effective integration and much more quickly adopt new technology and bring it to market. Of course, every time they oust an old technology and replace with new, they are savagely criticised and it is claimed that it will never catch on. That’s why all the clones still have command line interfaces, no mice, orange or green text on a 40 line screen, impossibly obsolete graphics, still use floppy disks, never adopted USB, still have CD Drives, and haven’t yet built in quality sound. – Of course, that last sentence is untrue but illustrates the nonsense of your comments because all of these were features that Apple were first to introduce or discard, as appropriate and all their competitors have followed. There are many other examples.

    As for Apple becoming just a fashion statement – that is a major faux-pas. Apple have, throughout most of their history produced innovative and aesthetically pleasing designs which, again, many competitors have eventually copied and usually not very successfully.

    If you, as you say, recommend to others that they shouldn’t buy Apple then you do them a dis-service and show your own prejudice only too well. At the very least, you should inform yourself properly and present them with a detailed comparison of the true relative merits of each computer and then let them make up their own mind.

    As part of that process it is also necessary to consider usability. Apple has excelled in providing well planned, easy to understand, and consistent interfaces with their ios. Indeed, this again is an area that their competitors were finally impelled to follow. The fact is that most personal computer users so little more than send and receive emails, browse the Internet, link together with social media and write the odd letter or school or college assignment – oh yes, and some of them post galleries of images.

    The fact is that almost every decent computer on the market today is far more powerful than is necessary to accomplish these tasks. It is also true that many, if not all, of the software applications most commonly used to achieve these tasks are now terribly bloated & often include many, many more obscure features than the average user will ever use or probably even know are there. Apple is not entirely innocent in that regard but has resisted that temptation far better than its competitors and the software that is provided within the cost of every Mac is competent and straight-forward and can achieve what the majority of users need without any other purchases. Obviously, I am talking of average users here, not the keen amateur or specialist in a particular field, though in that sense Apple devote significantly more resources to servicing the scientific, medical and education communities than competitive hardware producers.

    Your preference for Linux over any proprietary system I can understand and is something with which I have no issue. However, it is a straw man in this discussion because Apple computers and run Linux as readily as can their competitors offerings. Indeed, it is notable that the Mac OS is Unix based and probably provides a far better base for Linux users than would a clone running a mess of a Windows OS which will never come good but will have to be replaced before any of the clones can be said to have a decent OS. The fact that Microsoft charge such an exorbitant fee for its OS is also inexcusable and almost amounts to fraud.

    The problem for the average user is that Linux requires considerably more interest, knowledge and willingness to understand how to make things work than does the Mac OS or even its poor competitor in Windows. So, whilst I accept your Linux comments, I think they are a red herring as I indicated earlier.

    To close, I should say that I am totally sick of the misogynist female mutual admiration clique that operates on AIMN. If I were to make the number of absurd, facetious and unevidenced statements that members of this clique do, I would be laughed or, more probably, hounded down so loudly that I’d never dare show my face again. Indeed that happened in the early days of the AIMN and because I have little self confidence and some serious mental health issues, I could not fact the ignorance, patronisation and hostility and even advised Michael that such was why I couldn’t continue though applauding his efforts and expressing my admiration for them.

    I still have many of those problems but I am a little stronger and no longer prepared to sit down and be patronised and demeaned, particularly when the criticisms are invalid, unevidenced and amount to nothing more than group bullying. Indeed, if men here were to adopt the same tactics, they would inevitably be called out as misogynists, though it seems that the thread of misandry that runs through the female clique here is not to be called out.

    I might add that this tendency does not only appear almost inevitably whenever I contribute anything but it runs through much of the commentary on politics and social issues that I understand (perhaps wrongly) to be the main aim for the AIMN. The muddled thinking, mud slinging, name-calling and hysterical hyperbole of many of the contributions is worse than that of undergraduates at their worst and, having taught many, I know what I’m saying.

    I suggest that those in this group to whom I refer – and you will know who you are – if the cap fits, wear it – give some serious thought to writing well considered and evidence supported commentary, rather than prejudiced or highly subjective and speculative diatribes that can rarely be supported. If you cannot do so, then I suggest that an Independent Media Network is not the place for your prose for you simply echo that which is replete in the Main Stream Media.

  15. Diannaart

    Roger

    Please point out where I have personally attacked you.

    I was simply chatting to Miriam because I (in spite of your claims to the contrary) understand just how computer literate is Miriam’s IT knowledge.

    You do not see any issues with Apple, you are entitled to your POV, but to slur Miriam’s comments as “nonsense”, is unacceptable.

    You claim you have verbal led by a “misogynist female mutual admiration clique ”, so far only Miriam and I have posted here, do two women constitute a clique?

    I have, as I stated above an iPad, which is very convenient when I am unwell, but for creating and just learning what I can do I need something which is not a closed system, like Apple, or unreliable overpriced rubbish like Microsoft.

    Of course more than one woman anywhere means we are just a few seconds from total world domination and I can understand you fear.

  16. Diannaart

    And I apologise for all the above typos.

  17. Miriam English

    Wow! Roger Hawcroft, I touched a nerve there, didn’t I. It reminds me of this comment from way back in the early days of personal computers:

    Uh-oh. Atarians can’t hold a candle to the insecurity of Mac owners. You rankled Mac owners who feel the need defend yourself, please do so by flaming in private. And don’t start something you can’t finish. I’m sure Apple’s OS for the 68000-based Macintoshs will support multitasking just as soon as Jean Louis-Gasse invents it. In the meantime, do whatever you need to do to make sure other systems that have advanced the state of personal computers don’t enter your peripheral vision.

    You’ll be a lot happier, we’ll be a lot happier.

    –Chuck McManis (cmcmanis@sun.com)

    Roger, I know you feel like Apple is a leader in everything (it’s the myth Apple push really heavily), but honestly, it isn’t true.

    In 1983 I was running a multitasking windowing operating system called OS-9/6809 on an 8-bit computer called the Tandy Color Computer before the days of the Mac. Apple got their windowing, icons, and mouse from Xerox, as did Microsoft. (The original OS-9 is not to be confused with Apple’s OS9 created much later, and a completely different thing.)

    At the time the first Macs were out I had one of the first Amiga computers — this was a truly innovative computer that had a multitasking, windowing operating system with multichannel stereo sound, layered screens, high resolution fast graphics that allowed thousands of colors when Macs had black and white and IBM/clones 16 color low resolution. The Amiga had wordprocessing software, publishing software, brilliant graphics programs, spreadsheets, built-in computer speech, and the most enormous library of free software for any computer up until then.

    It took many years for Apple to finally get a multitasking operating system. It took even longer to get more than one button on their mouse.

    The first laptop was made by Osborne, not Apple, in 1984, the same year Apple launched the Mac. Apple didn’t make a laptop until 1991 — that’s 7 years later, which is a lifetime in the computer world.

    The first personal mp3 player was made by Korea’s Saehan Information Systems and launched in March 1998. Apple didn’t make their first iPod until 3 years later — in 2001.

    Osbourne also created the first handheld computer in 1981. The IBM Simon was the first smartphone with a touchscreen. That was in 1992. I had a Palm computer in 1999. I was a bit late. They’d already been out for 2 years. They had a touch screen. Apple’s first iPhone was released in 2007.

    I could go on about many other aspects, but I won’t. I’ve been programming and rebuilding and modifying computers since before the days of personal computers. I’ve built my own computers with soldering iron and chips. I’ve taught myself more than 20 computer languages, including several assembly languages. In my earliest days I’d feed the computer hexadecimal numbers that represented instructions to the microprocessor itself. I used to be employed as a programmer building 3D virtual worlds. After I finish my current novel I’m going to go back to my earlier work on neural nets and build an artificial intelligence because I’m scared Alzheimer’s is heading my way in the next decade or two. (My Mum has it and both her sisters died of it.)

    So, Roger, tell me again how I don’t know what I’m talking about. 😀

  18. Miriam English

    Roger, I should have addressed the point about product quality. I found out about this when I was helping a friend who is a Mac user (I help a lot of local people with their computers). Her machine was persistently having problems so I looked online to find out if others had similar problems and what they’d done to solve them. What I found surprised me: Macs have lots of design flaws. But don’t listen to me; here’s what a tech repair person has to say:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AUaJ8pDlxi8

    Are recent Apple machines high-performing? How about hearing what a devoted Apple user who is a tech reviewer has to say:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mdRpgWYWCZg

    Some years back an old girlfriend visited and excitedly showed me her new iPhone. I was initially impressed. The graphical interface was certainly nicely designed. She wanted to use it to read some of my books. The first hurdle was getting an ebook reader onto it. When we’d done that, we had a devil of a time getting it to load my ebooks. We eventually gave up and she had to settle for reading them direct from my website as HTML web pages in her web browser. Not good.

    I have a cheap, $50 tablet computer I bought direct from China some years back that I use to read ebooks all the time. It is absurdly simple to move ebooks onto the machine. I use it to carry a vast library of thousands of ebooks with me. Oh, and changing the battery on my cheap tablet is easy. I don’t even need any tools — just my fingernails. That tablet is a full computer and runs anything any Android computer will, though it doesn’t have a GPS chip or 3G/4G phone hardware (I prefer it that way). It’s not super fast, but I don’t need it to be for browsing the web, checking email, writing stories, reading books, some occasional teleconferencing (via WiFi), and a little bit of programming. On occasion I plug in a mouse and external keyboard and use it like a laptop.

    Now, don’t get me wrong. Though I dislike Apple, the company, for their slick advertising and the sneaky psychological tricks they use to elicit fanatical devotion, and it pisses me off they way they put so much effort into getting them high visibility in movies and TV shows and give them to schools to hook kids when they’re young and impressionable, nevertheless I don’t hate Apple’s actual computers. I just wouldn’t advise anyone to spend all that money on one. Spend only what you must on the purpose you want to use it for.

  19. Miriam English

    Roger… what? No apology?

    You might be wondering why you should apologise.

    You said that my comments are “nonsense“, “untrue“, “display no real understanding or even simple attention” to computing, were “false and misleading“, “full of falsities“, “demeaning innuendo“, “prejudiced“, “trivially stupid“.

    You said there was solid evidence to show virtually everything I wrote was untrue, yet you failed to give even one example.

    I backed up what I said in a reply that could have gone on much longer.

    You said I’m using Linux as a strawman argument and a red herring, when all I’d said was that I personally prefer Linux, but don’t even suggest that to people unless it’s appropriate.

    Then you went on a strange attack about how you’re “totally sick of the misogynist female mutual admiration clique” here. (I think you meant misandrist, but typos are easy to make.) I’d like to politely suggest if you’re threatened by a few women who are not shy about complimenting people, including each other, then perhaps you need some perspective. You accused this “clique” of making many “absurd, facetious and unevidenced statements“, but again fail to give any examples.

    Now, I must admit I was reluctant to post this comment after reading that you have problems with confidence and mental health. I genuinely sympathise. I have a close and dear friend who is bedevilled with similar problems. But when you say that the women here are patronising, demeaning, bullying misandrists who go in for “muddled thinking, mud slinging, name-calling and hysterical hyperbole“, and are given to “prejudiced or highly subjective and speculative diatribes that can rarely be supported“, I have to object.

    All that was precipitated by me being “amazed at the Apple fanboy comments” and saying that some commenters “have drunk the Apple kool-aid” and should “learn a bit more about computer history“. I didn’t go on some awful attack of bullying and misinformation. The fact that I elicited such a response indicates that I was correct about Apple fanaticism and how people get duped into believing Apple’s proprietary version of computer history.

    Roger, don’t you think, perhaps, that you overreacted and were yourself being patronising and insulting, and that you were making statements that can’t be backed up. Do you think maybe you were pushed to do this by the strange effect Apple exerts on people to blindly devote themselves to a product? I don’t blame you for the way Apple gets under people’s skin; I’ve seen it way too much. But an apology for the insults would be the honorable and gentlemanly thing to do.

  20. Roger Hawcroft

    Diannaart, I don’t recall attacking you personally but if that’s the case I unreservedly apologise. If you are referring to my comments about a female clique on AIMN then I also unreservedly apologise.

  21. Roger Hawcroft

    Miriam English,

    I have many problems with what you had to say in response to my first post regarding the piece about Apple and more with your subsequent postings. I believe that you missed the point I attempted to make – obviously very poorly – and that you still miss it.

    I hadn’t yet got back to you for a number of reasons but not least that I was unhappy about the conflict and the rights and wrongs of the whole exchange. I needed time to think about the ins and outs of it, so to speak.

    I hadn’t meant to attack you but rather to take issue with what you had claimed about my initial response to the piece about Apple and your derisive opening, clearly directed at me, as “an Apple fanboy”. This put-down was further exacerbated when, in subsequent responses, you continued to belittle what I had to say but avoided addressing the actual claims I had made in the context I had made them. You say that I provided no evidence, yet the facts speak for themselves. Where are Amiga, Osbourne, Tandy, and etc. today? The only brand you mentioned in your lecture to me that still exists in this market place, in a sense, is IBM, the personal computer section of which was sold and is now Lenovo. My view is that you also made significant assumptions about my own experience, knowledge or expertise or lack of it) in coding or any other aspect of computing. No I don’t think you are right about people being “duped into believing Apple’s proprietary version of computer history.” In the context of the majority of personal computer users who are not qualified in IT or avid amateurs, I firmly believe that Apple has and continues to provide products that have far better usability than the competition, overall greater reliability, longer usable and useful life-spans, and much greater resale value.

    Having said that – and I debated long and hard whether I should do so, or not, because I don’t want to continue what has become or is becoming an unpleasant exchange, nor did I intend or currently want to be unfriendly or derisive toward you. I simply think that I had some points to make that were and are perfectly valid but that I obviously didn’t convey them clearly enough for them to be understood. So, I thought I would make one more, brief attempt.

    However, notwithstanding the above, I unreservedly apologise to you for being careless with my language such that it appeared that I was attacking you personally, rather than your argument. You are right that it was both unnecessary and wrong of me to phrase several parts of my posts in the ways that I did or to use the adjectives that I did. I am sorry about that.

    If it helps to explain anything, I have an honest belief that my life would have been better had I been born dumb (as in, unable to speak) for I have constantly seemed either to stop conversation altogether or to produce hostility. I have even approached hypnotherapists to see if they could use some sort of aversion therapy that would prevent me from conversing with anyone, either in spoken or written form. Sadly, they have declined. So, I have isolated myself to the greatest degree that I am able but because I love the language, have an inquiring mind and extremely eclectic interests, I spend much time on Internet forums and so still get myself into trouble. Indeed, I dig the proverbial hole for myself by being over-enthusiastic to the point of being passionate, particularly about injustice, social justice, animal and human rights, and the massive inequity across our own nation and the World as a whole. This is not an excuse. It is an explanation of sorts. I accept that I am a totally worthless individual and had I the courage would have succeeded in suiciding long ago. Unfortunately, i am also a coward so I’ve never been able to see it through.

    So, yes, you have the moral high ground. I am guilty of most of what you claim, perhaps all. It matters not, really, for I have done the harm I’ve done and scars remain forever. All I can do is to say, I’m sorry – and that really changes nothing, does it? The damage is done and nothing can ever be the same again.

    r.

    r.

  22. Roger Hawcroft

    To all on AIMN.

    I have made mention in a number of my posts to my feelings that there exists a group of female contributors whom I have variously referred to as a “women’s clique” or a “mutual admiration society”. I have also, at times, written derisively of the posts of some of these individuals.

    I unreservedly apologise for that.

    It is clear that I am a totally worthless individual who, despite having three degrees and various other certificates and experience in many areas, has given nothing of benefit to this world.

    My one ability appears to have been and to be the ease with which I can arouse the ire of others.

    My parents recognised this early enough that I first ran away from home at 3 years old but was unfortunately caught by police and returned to them. At around 11 years old I was told by my English Teacher, “Roger, you’re a young thug and no good to anyone …”, and despite having worked all my life and been a sole breadwinner for three families over the last 50 years, never laying an angry hand on any of my children or my partners, handing over 7/8 of my wages directly to my partners, wearing op-shop clothes so that my partners and children could have new ones, and giving 1/8 of my wage to charities, I am an enigma who is hated by all his relatives and the various ‘friends’ with whom I’ve become close from time to time.

    I hate the inequity, the injustice, the suffering, and the power imbalances in this World. I hate myself for not being able to change it and, it seems, for adding to it.

    I therefore apologise to all of you for my posts here and for any irritation, annoyance or hurt I may have caused you.

    r.

  23. Kaye Lee

    Roger,

    We have all at times written things we regret later. It’s no big deal. Conversing on the internet is difficult because we don’t have tone of voice or facial expressions or body language to help understand the other person’s meaning. And sometimes we might just be having a bad day – no excuse but it happens.

    For myself, if I disagree with an opinion I try to discuss the comment rather than the commenter but I am not perfect at this either. I try to learn from my mistakes and do better next time.

    Dealing with health issues can make things harder but you must be able to forgive yourself (and others) for misunderstandings or mistakes. None of us are perfect. Despite what you might think, there is no “clique” that is out to get anyone. I am sorry if you have felt that way.

    We can all benefit from each other’s knowledge if we work together.

  24. Karl Young

    Roger you are a wonderful individual.Miriam is beautiful also.Though some on this site are so bitter you can tell they are very unhappy souls.Go forth Roger.

  25. Michael Taylor

    Roger, it takes a lot of courage to say “sorry”. That you have done so, makes you a stronger man than most.

  26. Kaye Lee

    Aside from having the courage to apologise, your comments are a good reminder to us all to try to be a little kinder to each other. We don’t know the circumstances of others.

  27. Karl Young

    The usual suspects should stop being cowards and stop playing the man. Attack the idea not the person.

  28. Miriam English

    Roger, no worries.

    As Kaye said, we all make mistakes. And as Michael said, it takes courage to say sorry. I’d add that it takes honesty.

    I should mention that I truly wasn’t aiming the “Apple fanboy” description solely at you. You were not the only defender of Apple in the comments above, though you were the most… shall we say… enthusiastic. I must admit I’m a bit puzzled that you take such exception to the term. I happily embrace my fangirl adoration of many things and my biased view of them (Joss Whedon’s writing, Cliff Chiang’s art, Brian K Vaughan’s writing, underground housing, Puppy Linux, John Wyndham’s writing, Isaac Arthur’s futurism videos, Sander van Doorn’s music, Blender and its community, John 00 Fleming’s music, Amory Lovins and his Rocky Mountain Institute, AI as solution to most of our problems, and much more).

    You’re right that computers bearing brands such as Corvus, Archimedes, Apricot, Amiga, SiliconGraphics, Osbourne, and others, didn’t survive, but that isn’t an indication of technical capability or advanced nature of the machines. Those were all technological leaders producing genuine marvels. If you thought the market decided that, then Microsoft could be lauded as a technological leader, and they clearly are not. Though I recognise capitalism as a useful tool, one of the things I don’t like about it is the way it often encourages the worst technology to survive.

    Lastly, try not to worry about putting your foot in your mouth. We all do it from time to time. If I worried too much about that I’d have little time for anything else. 🙂 One thing I’ve learned over the decades is that re-reading what I’ve written and trying to see it how the target reader will see it helps immensely. (I also sometimes fail to do so, of course.)

    We all have worth. You might be interested in this short piece on how to be happy.

  29. Miriam English

    Karl Young… ???? Who is attacking the man? Can you give an example of such an attack? Who are the “usual suspects”? And in what way are they being cowards? This is a bizarre thing to post.

  30. helviryni

    Karl Young, there are some people here, to quick to belittle or to attack fellow posters, but Rodney is certainly NOT one of them….

    Roger, you are not the only one who has felt the “clickiness” here…

    Disagreeing is of course always OK…

  31. Kaye Lee

    Sigh….one step forwards and three steps back.

  32. Joseph Carli

    Careful, Helvityni…:

    The twist of the knife.
    “ ‘Twas the cruel hand of fate”, some will attest,
    “Plain bad luck..had to give it best”.
    No plot nor plan nor Nemesis,
    That loss of love, fortune..no redress.
    There was that time for the Lady’s smile,
    Luck, sweet mistress, walk me a mile,
    Friends, well wishes, oh wilful guile,
    Was jealous intent? or blunt revile!
    Chance will intervene yet awhile,
    To arm the hand, repay the slight,
    Fate; cruel mistress will plunge the knife,
    Yes..Fate’s cruel hand..would repay it best,
    But truly I say ; ” ‘tis the twisting of the blade,
    Above ALL the rest!”

  33. Diannaart

    Roger HawcroftJanuary 9, 2019 at 7:36 am

    Diannaart, I don’t recall attacking you personally but if that’s the case I unreservedly apologise. If you are referring to my comments about a female clique on AIMN then I also unreservedly apologise.

    I was referring to a so-called female clique, I do not feel personally attacked.

    I thank you for your apology.

    As others have noted these pages are not indicative of who we are. Our health or other personal impacts on how we respond remain opaque. Therefore, a degree of acceptance is required if we are to converse and learn and grow.

  34. Kaye Lee

    There are some people here who, regardless of what I say, will object. Should I consider them a “clique” or should I try to converse with them to understand better why my contributions elicit that reaction and to try to learn to communicate in a more constructive way?

    There are people here who have been chatting for many years. There is a familiarity and mutual respect that has built up over time. Accusations of some sort of “gang” mentality are IMO unfounded and definitely unhelpful. We all are given an opportunity here to express our opinions. Discuss the topic rather than each other.

  35. Michael Taylor

    We are lucky here in that there is a lot of “self moderation”. People here generally have displayed maturity and respect in their engagements with others. They know the limits, so to speak.

    Mind you, there are dozens of people blocked from commenting on The AIMN because of their history of abusiveness. Fortunately it has been some time since we’ve been forced to block someone, so I think that the standard of conduct we have enforced has paid off for us and the commenters.

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