USA Today columnist Andrew Kantor writes via his blog at Kantor.com, “I mean, the Mac users. Depserate [sic], as always, to find fault with anything that isn’t unabashedly pro-Mac, the folks at Mac Daily News [sic] have complained about my USAToday piece that dares — dares! — to say the iPod has competition. And like good little lemmings, MDN readers start sending me nasty notes based on the comments they read.”
Kantor writes, “Never mind that the column is inarguably pro-iPod; it simply wasn’t pro-iPod enough. This is why so many of the tech writers I’ve talked with say they just don’t want to write about the Mac. Who needs a cult banging on your Inbox?”
At the end of the note above, Kantor links to the following:
“What is wrong with Mac users and Apple fans? I mean that — I’ve never seen the like. Calling them ‘blind lemmings’ doesn’t always seem strong enough. Get this: I write an incredibly positive commentary about the iPod nano, calling it ‘a beautiful piece of hardware’ and ‘better looking than its competition.’ I had nothing but praise for it.”
“And yet, the Mac lovers find fault. Why? Because I dared to suggest that the iPod is getting some decent competition,” Kantor writes. “In a note entitled ‘Andrew, what competition?’ one writer took me to task (!) because, he said, the iPod’s buttons are well layed out and has a great interface. The fact that I pretty much said this escaped him. Problem: I suggested that other companies were — Jobs forbid! — also starting to make decent products. ‘So far you’re in the minority with your opinion,’ he wrote. My opinion was that the iPod is a terrific piece of hardware. That’s the minority?”
Kantor explains, “The creed of Mac lovers: If you don’t A) praise anything by Apple unconditionally, B) praise it at length, and C) put down anything by a competitor, you’re an idiot. Amazing. Another genius wrote, ‘Whether you like the iPod nano is not the issue; what is evident is that you are unqualified to to write a critical review of music players. Simple as that.’ This because… why? Answer: Because I didn’t heap enough praise on an Apple product.”
Kantor writes, “I got this nonsense from Mac lovers before, when — I kid you not — I failed to play up Apple’s role in the Virginia Tech supercomputer. The curse-filled notes I got came to my Inbox because, again, I simply didn’t heap enough praise. (The writers also thought, incorrectly, as it turned out, that I had some minor factual errors. They were wrong, as it turns out, but why should facts get in the way of a good cult-like rant?) So here we go again. And now I understand why so many of the tech writers I’ve met say they hate to write about anything Apple does. Because the lemmings come calling.”
Full article with the ability to respond here.
MacDailyNews Take: Of course, it’s not that Kantor’s article isn’t “pro-iPod enough.” It’s that Kantor looks at iPod only from the hardware perspective, ignoring the iPod’s internal software, the iTunes music jukebox software, and the iTunes Music Store; all three of which are integral to iPod’s success. In addition, Kantor made some statements in his “incredibly positive commentary about the iPod nano” that he fails to backup with examples, namely:
• “At least until recently — the iPod’s controls felt better that [sic] the competition’s.”
• “The competition has caught up, and there are some just-as-slick players out there.”
• “Get a Creative Labs MuVo or Zen, or a Sony Network Walkman and you can do the same things.”
Let’s try a brief example of Kantor’s style of writing as a way of explaining why we critiqued his original article in the way we did. We’ve taken the parts of Kantor’s original article and simply replaced Apple with Audi, iPod with A8, Creative with Ford and so on. For the full effect, you’ll have to imagine that Audi is the only maker of fine automobiles in the world, has 80% market share and is being pursued by Ford, Chevy and a raft of generic also-ran car makers:
The 2006 Audi A8 “is a beautiful piece of automotive engineering — and a beautiful piece of automotive engineering that also function[s] really well,” MacDailyNews reports. “The Audi A8’s quality is about form, not just features. For starters, it is better looking than its competition. We wouldn’t call it ‘art,’ but it is certainly something you could spend time admiring as you drive it. The competition has caught up, and there are some just-as-slick automobiles out there. But they came after the A8 had become synonymous with good looks, and they now have a steep hill to climb to catch up to Audi.”
“Get a Ford Taurus or Fusion, or a Chevy Impala and you can do the same things — drive, turn, back up, park, etc. Some even include floor mats and tinted windows,” MacDailyNews writes. “And yet Audi has that huge market share. Some of it may be due to good marketing, but much of it is due to the quality of the A8… The A8 has doors and wheels; so does every car. But — at least until recently — the A8’s handling felt better that the competition’s. There was a quality behind the A8 that other cars lacked… If we had an Audi A8, we would probably stop now and then to admire it.”
Wouldn’t Audi, imagined as the world’s only maker of fine automobiles with 80% market share, and the responsible automotive press wonder what exactly we meant by such unqualified statements such as:
• At least until recently — the A8’s handling felt better that the competition’s.
• The competition has caught up, and there are some just-as-slick automobiles out there.
• Get a Ford Taurus or Fusion, or a Chevy Impala and you can do the same things.
Of course they’d wonder. And rightfully so. Kantor’s ham-handed attempts at damning Apple with faint praise are laughable.
Related MacDailyNews articles:
USA Today: Apple’s iPod nano ‘a beautiful piece of hardware’ – but ‘the competition has caught up’ – September 16, 2005
USA Today columnist blasts Mac users and MacDailyNews in blog – December 06, 2004
USA Today writer unhappy with MacDailyNews and some Mac users’ emails – October 18, 2004
USA Today writer attempts to downplay Apple’s role in Virginia Tech supercomputer – September 03, 2004