Apple and when genuine data leads to disingenuous conclusions

“I genuinely love the industry analyst business. I love the role we analysts, our data, and our commentary play in helping companies make strategic decisions,” Ben Bajarin writes for Tech.pinions. “However, I’ve noticed a disturbing trend.”

“The challenge with data is that the truth lies in the interpretation. Without context genuine data can lead to disingenuous conclusions,” Bajarin writes. “This is why data cannot be put out in the public without context. Yet this is exactly what happens. It creates a scenario where a media industry who thrives on negativity can take genuine data, miss the context, and create stories around a false narrative. It is not their fault entirely. It is the fault of the data firms who release data to the public, without proper interpretation or context, and allow the media industry to draw their own conclusion, and often a false one.”

Bajarin writes, “Genuine data should point out market truths. However, when presented in the wrong way, it has the potential to do just the opposite… When you track the global sales of tablets, it is easy to look at the market share statistics and say that it is game over for the iPad. [It’s not]…”

Read more in the full article here.

61 Comments

  1. “It is the fault of the data firms who release data to the public, without proper interpretation or context, and allow the media industry to draw their own conclusion, and often a false one.”

    NO it’s the fault of desperate hit whore editors and publications that allow idiot unqualified writers with zero brain power (or the ability to connect even two dots), to thump (thumb and print) out stooopid, false, biased peices of mental diarrhea to even stoooooopider consumers of this garbage.

  2. I have 3 unrelated interests that I’m very passionate about. One is Apple, Inc. One is pit bulls, a widely maligned breed of dog, and one is guns.

    The number of lies concerning these subjects in the media, based on partial or false data, is amazing.

    It prompted me to start telling people; “Data lies. Incomplete data lies completely.”

    1. Pit bulls have jaws that can kill. That’s why pit bulls are the only dog used for illegal dog fighting. Without a good owner they are lethal. The same could be said for hand guns.

      How many of you would want that bad neighbor of yours to have a pit bull or a hand gun?

        1. Hey NYT! You want another Pulitzer? How about you do some real Jounalism? A big investigative report needs to be done on Samesung’s efforts to pay for anti-Apple headlines, Articles, Fake postings, comments & reviews. Samesung fears having their corporate warfare smear campaign exposed. look how quickly they reacted to the Taiwan HTC investigation by the FTC. Maybe then, even the Hee Haw demographic will decide against giving Samesung their money.

      1. You are the classic example.

        Fact: Pit Bull jaws are no different than the jaws of most breeds. In fact their jaws are less powerful than many large breeds including Rottweilers and German Shepherd dogs. Humans put out about 120 pounds of bite pressure. Pit Bulls put out about 300 PSI, 10 pounds less than a German Shepherd Dog. Also, their jaws do not lock as is commonly believed by idiots.

        Pit bulls are popular in dog fighting largely because of fashion. Prior to the pit bull it was the German Shepherds that were used by most dog fighters, then the Dobermans, then the Rotties. Each of these breeds has done its time as the bad dog of the moment.

        In reality pit bulls do better on temperament tests than almost any other dogs, better than 120 other breeds including Golden Retrievers.

        Any dog can be weaponized. Any dog.

        In the case of the neighbor, I don’t care if he has a pit bull and an arsenal, depending on who he is. If he’s as ignorant a sod as WhoKnows, I’d rather he not live near me at all, let alone worry about him having a gun.

        There are 300 million guns in this country. Of those 300 million, approximately 11,000 per year are used in gun violence. So about .000036 percent of the guns in the country are used in violence. Hardly an epidemic.

        When dog attacks occur in the media, almost the only breed that is identified is the Pit Bull. “Pit Bull” adds to the sensationalism. Kind of like “Assault Rifle.” Sadly the media never checks the facts on this. They just report it. As it turns out, most people can’t actually identify a pit bull on sight! Even veterinarians have a hard time picking them out of a group of dogs with similar looks.

        People identify everything from Boxers to English Bull dogs as pit bulls out of ignorance.

        The CDC used to compile dog bite statistics but decided that the DATA WAS SUCH CRAP that they couldn’t reliably provide findings, as they were getting their data FROM THE MEDIA. So they’ve discontinued reporting.

        This is why I call pit bulls the “assault rifles” of the dog world. You listen to politicians and the media, you’d think people were being mowed down everywhere by assault rifles, but once again, the truth is inconvenient. Of those 11,000 gun violence incidents mentioned above, only about 300-400 are assault rifle related. More people are killed with blunt instruments and sharp instruments. Bats and knives. More people are killed with bats and knives than are bitten by pit bulls so back to your asinine example, I’d rather the neighbor have a gun and a pit bull than a bat and a knife, statistically speaking.

        So look at how wrong you are “WhoKnows.” You sure don’t know anything about guns or pit bulls, but you’re running around with an opinion delivered to you by whom. ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, MSNBC, NY Times, LA Times, or your aunt Matilda?

        It doesn’t matter. You need to learn to go do the research yourself.

        1. Hey TM, don’t forget that there are over 8 million concealed carry permits in the U.S. and how many times do you hear about “blood in the streets” like they always predict? Unfortunately the news media is very reluctant to report the times when it used to protect or save a life, but that’s par for the course.

          1. Very true. I don’t even own a gun, never really wanted one, but what gets me is how we lie about it. If you look at our population and the number of guns in our society vs the number of actual gun violence incidents, I have to conclude that we are one of the most gun disciplined nations in the world, contrary to the gun crazy maniacs we’re made out to be.

        2. T M is RIGHT! As a member of the older generation, I DO remember when the German Shephards were the “Fight dog” and then the “Rottweilers.” I remember when a couple of rotties killed a young boy in my hometown in the early ’60s. Rotties were the “bad dog” then. Dogs are what people make of them. I love Danes and they are friendly and playful, However I have run into a couple of VICIOUS Danes that were taught to fight and protect. They could kill easily if trained. It is not the Dog Breed that is BAD!

          CONTEXT! SOME of the Younger generation do not care for “Context” and make up truths out based on what they see today. Exactly as the article said of analysts and Apple.

          Thanks T M for sharing this and the other TRUTHS that some others greatly malign because of miss-interpretation of data.

        3. … with you, but your facts are (mostly) in order.
          A Pit Bull is, all things considered, a fine dog. Safe around kids and all that. But, it can be dangerous to meet one on the street. Not THEIR fault, it’s just the A-hole that typically buys them and turns them dangerous. The public opinion of Pit Bulls is mostly correct, but it isn’t the dog’s fault.
          As for firearms … remember, YOU brought up Assault Rifles! Firearms seldom hurt anyone. THEY don’t act. THEY have to be USED in order to hurt someone. I can’t recall the last time I heard a story where “it was the gun’s fault”. Every story I’ve heard of gun abuse (that’s “abuse OF guns”, or “abuse WITH guns”) has been some person who ought not have been allowed to have a firearm either mis-using it or leaving it unsafe so some KID could mis-use it. This is why I believe guns should be like cars: you need training, you need a registration, you need a license, you need insurance, and you need a background check. After which, 99.99% of those who want, much less “need”, a firearm would have one. And 99% of those would have the one they want AND can afford. No children, no felons, no psychotics allowed.
          As for the Assault Rifles you mentioned … I used one when in the military. Both in multi-shot and single-shot modes. In single-shot mode I qualified as a Marksman four out of four years. Got me ribbons and all that fancy stuff. In multi-shot mode I found that my first shot always hit the target, the rest sailed into the sky. In other words, they were a WASTE. The point of a multi-shot weapon is to deal with multiple attackers (at range). I’ve dealt with single attackers (Aikido) and multiple attackers up close (more Aikido) but “at range”? Never happened. If it did, I’d rather have a pump-action shotgun at my side – just chambering a round would give the attackers pause, unless they are zombies. You ever been attacked by zombies? Assault Rifles are for people who can’t hit their target with a single shot … those in need of training. I covered that in my previous paragraph. In almost every widely-reported incident of Assault Rifle misuse (slaughter) in the past several years, my ownership regulations – which already apply to auto use, and who do you know has had their car/truck confiscated? – would have – minimally – made it harder for them to get the weapons they used. EVERY case of a child mis-using a firearm would result in an adult going to jail (failure to secure a weapon).
          “Who” isn’t your real enemy, here. He’s just a poorly educated guy who needs more/better information. There are guys out there who are turning Pit Bulls into walking weapons and guys out there carrying Assault Rifles where there is absolutely no need other than their need to prove they are “butch”.

      2. in a quick read, your assertions were contrary to my views. but i read it more carefully and think i can agree with you that a good owner (responsible) is the missing ingredient to the bad reputation that pit bulls and guns have. most people are too lazy to blame people for the bad thing that pits and guns do. blaming people has a bad ring to it, blaming the weapon does not.

    2. Data does not lie, completely or incompletely, people do. It’s the same for guns, they don’t kill, people do. Pit bulls on the other hand, they kill directly. I have to admire that, a creature that is brave enough to kill directly on their own, without have to resort to an intermediary, like data, or worse yet, a gun.

      1. Estimates are that there are approximately 5 million registered pit bulls in this country and another 5 million unregistered. 10 million. The next highest breed is around 800,000. Obviously pit bulls will be involved in more bite incidents based on sheer numbers. They are bred by morons who use them for dog fighting. They are part of gang culture now.

        The breeding is so out of control that in Los Angeles County alone, we put over 200 pit bulls to death every day.

        Pit bulls have far more to fear from human beings than vice versa.

        Data does lie, particularly when it is incomplete. Lies, damn lies and statistics.

        If I tell you more people were bitten by pit bulls, without telling you whether the breed was actually verified in each attack, or that there are far more pit bulls than anything else out there, you’re likely to believe there is something about pit bulls that caused this. If I don’t tell you that no one is actually gathering dog bite statistics and that the only source of dog bite information is a high flawed and prejudiced media, you won’t stop to consider that you’re probably wrong. Hence the data lied, and it lied completely because it was incomplete.

        Also consider that 10 attacks by a pit bull relative to a population of 5 million vs. 10 attacks by a labrador relative to a population of 200,000 is more telling data and we don’t have the data. We do know that 10 times as many abusers of pit bulls are arrested for animal abuse than any other dog.

        1. One of the best throw away statistics that I have even made up is that aberrant behavior increases in densely populated areas.

          You can see this trend increasing as the human population is increasing. Pit bulls and guns are nothing compared to a global population that is out of control and a bureaucratic behemoth that governments and many other organizations have become.

          My point was that I admire a pit bull, or any animal that kills directly. Not so keen on those that kill by proxy.

      2. Well tell ya what Jaws, if you want to defend yourself by biting people then you go right ahead. Maybe if you ever have to have dentures you might consider something a little more effective.

        1. Oh I wasn’t talking defense, I was talking offense. When a dog attacks it is often for catching and killing prey, at least in the wild. For domestic situation, heck it would be anything.

          I have no need to attack anyone, I’m a peaceful person. I have a method of defense that has served me well, after all I’ve survived Anustralia for several years. Mind you, pit bulls are illegal there.

    3. It has struck me that those who are insecure are the ones who want guard dogs and guns. In creating a secure world, I think we are better off finding peaceful ways of dealing with conflict and fear. I know it takes more courage to face someone with just your words and your wits than it does to face them with armour and weapons but I think it is likely to create solutions and trusting relations between peoples.

  3. That was a very informative. Everyone should send this to your contacts. They are bombarded with anti Apple iPad is dead news all day long. This is the kind of facts that they need to see.

  4. This is a really full of themselves statement: “I genuinely love the industry analyst business. I love the role we analysts, our data, and our commentary play in helping companies make strategic decisions,”

    Hey Ben, news flash, your analysts, data (your data, yeah right) an commentary play no role whatsoever in helping companies make strategic decisions. Hey, don’t take my word for it, do an investigative report on analysts, if indeed they actually collect their own data (or outsource it, or get it from the actual company reports) and find some examples where an analytical commentary helped a company make a strategic direction that helped maintain it’s survival or improve itself. Finding a company that listened to analysts and ended up going belly up does not count.

    You might be surprised to find that you are not helping companies make strategic directions, but rather you are simply social parasites pushing an agenda often hidden to the masses. The antithesis of what journalism should be about.

    1. Actually that would be surprising since industry analysts engage heavily with all major technology constituents at VP and higher levels. SO we happen to know for a fact the role we play at the strategic planning level since we see the fruits of that work.

      Your statement is about as ignorant as those who say Apple is doomed. Had you chosen to take the time to research me or my firm or the role of industry analysts you may have come to an educated conclusion.

      Also, next time comment on our site if you want to have an honest dialogue.

      1. “Also, next time comment on our site if you want to have an honest dialogue.”

        Says the hit whore. I view “analysts” the same way I do “professional meteorologists”; they are both able to take a shitload of data and still screw it up, then never admit they are wrong or incompetent. The difference is that the industry analysts can have a profound effect on people’s jobs and investments by their arrogant expert knowledge and advise. I value their wisdom about as much as I do a gypsy fortune teller.

        1. I take it you don’t actually read anything I write. My point was that it is a better place to dialogue with me.

          Look at our site, we don’t do ads. Why do I need hits? You are welcome to your opinion but a little intellectual honesty is appreciated.

          1. Okay, I apologize about the hit whore comment, but I still think there are a lot of people with way too much influence and way too little knowledge. I’m not saying that about you, so sorry for the rant.

            1. No problem and I appreciate the dialogue. I TOTALLY agree with you that there are way too many out there with much influence who have their head in the sand.

              The reason I started writing more publicly was to try to inject quality analysis back into the public sphere and to do what I can to fight the stupid. There aren’t many of us but a few like Horace Dediu and my podcast partner Benedict Evans are trying to inject some sanity back into the public realm.

              So while we are few we growing and our hopefully our influence is spreading. As a result Tim Cook mentioned my quote and our website Tech.pinions in his keynote last week which I attended. So that should help!

            2. I do this frequently just not here. I guess I was just surprised to see people on Mac fan site taking pot shots at a very pro Apple analyst like myself who puts all his data out there for all to see and critique. I take quite a bit of crap from the Android and windows fanatics so I just surprised to see it as well from Mac folk. Especially when MDN links to many of my article : analysis in a positive light.

              But as I said I put my work out there and welcome constructive criticism. I care more about being accurate than I do about being right.

      2. Hi Ben, thanks for your post. Always a pleasure to see a writer drop by MDN.

        I know what you mean by industry analysts engaging heavily with all major technology constituents. I had a telemarketing company representing another company that engaged heavily in phoning me and phoning me. The told me they would take me off the list when I asked them to stop. They said they had a glitch in their software when they phoned again, and again. It wasn’t until I began legal proceedings that they ceased and desisted, and wanted my complaint stripped from the record as they had broken no law and that I have not provided any evidence.

        You say you know for a fact the role you play, and while I’ve seen no hard evidence to support that data, I have to wonder still if the role you play is that of a social parasite is it? To be honest, I’ve never seen Tim Cook or Steve Jobs come on stage and introduce an analyst, but feel free to correct me if I am wrong. I’ve never heard Tim Cook or Steve Jobs, or read any official report from Apple that says “our consultations with Ben Bajarin and other analysts was behind our strategic decision to …(insert product development or other relevant data here.)

        On the other hand, you point out that my statement is as ignorant as those who say Apple is doomed. Well let’s have a look at those ignorant beings for a moment.

        From: http://www.loc.gov/rr/business/businesshistory/April/apple.html

        “Over the course of a few years, Apple’s market share suffered slowly after its peak in 1990 and by 1996, experts believed the company to be doomed.”

        Oh, now it comes to light, those who were “ignorant” making Apple is doomed statements were/are EXPERTS. Uh huh let me give you a big eye roll there. I’m sure there were a lot of analysts in those experts but I’d have to research it more for sure. I’m no expert.

        I’m curious and confused about your last statement though, about having to come to your web site if you want to have an honest dialogue. Do you mean you can’t give honest dialogue unless you are at this website, or that you cannot have an honest dialogue at this website. If it is the latter I must say that I have have many an honest dialogue at this web site, at least from my perception.

        Once again, thank you for your post. Now if you want to refer to concrete identifiable data from the VPs or higher levels from Apple extolling the virtues and insights of analysts please do so, I’d be pleasantly surprised. Otherwise, and please don’t take this personally but as a group analysts and journanalyst have little redeeming features, but one of them is to avoid their advice.

        Taking the time to go through and research me or my firm personally would have required me to do so for other analysts and from what I’ve seen of the role of industry analysts as reported from the media doing anything else if a much more effective use of my time.

        There is one that I do follow and keep track of though and that’s Florian Mueller.
        I’ll try to keep an eye out for you, as I do recall reading a few of your articles and certainly I do like to keep an open mind. Plus I appreciate you taking the time to post here, especially to someone who is taking pot shots at you.

        If you do read the posts at this site, you do know that a lot of us have very little regards for analysts and jouranalysts. It’s not a question of data, it’s a question on how that data is perceived.

        Good day to you sir.

        1. You hear Tim Cook and many others reference analyst data all the time. You hear them reference IDC, Gartner, etc. My firm creative strategies provides companies with trend research so I highlight trends in the market and how it impacts their roadmaps. That is how they use my data.

          Now, while I completely appreciate the low view held by analysts, I welcome you to read my public analysis (which I’m not sure you actually read the article linked to here by MDN) and if I am off base I welcome that criticism and accountability.

          Now, while Tim Cook or others may not mention me by name he used my quote in his keynote last week about something I said about the iPad. He mentioned our site Tech.pinions and it came right after he mentioned Walt Mossberg and David Pogue (although I don’t find Pogue that insightful).

          I’m pretty sure I am the first analyst / not journalist Apple has reference publicly on stage in that light.

          So while I agree with you that there are many bad analysts, I find it odd that you come down so heavily on those who are trying to do it well and do it publicly in a way the bigger firms will never do it.

          1. I’m thinking you might be the journalist that I talked with here a few months ago. If that’s the case, hello again.

            A few items since we are having a good exchange here:

            – Thank you for understanding the view I (and many others hold) about analysts. With that in mind, you certainly are promoting yourself well to rise about it. What about your peers though, why oh why are the fields of analysts and jouranalyst held in such low regards at MDN, and have for quite a long time. That’s a bit of the tension you should be aware of. If I were to go to a farmer’s meeting, I’d trust everyone until they give me a reason not to. That’s based on a lot of personal experience with farmers. If I were to go to a journalist meeting, I’d trust no one until they gave me a feeling to do so. Once again based on a lot of personal experience with the media (not just reading what they say).

            – Data data data, provided by firms, inside and out can be useful for companies to plan their strategic direction. It’s raw material, resources. Now if you go to high level meetings with Tim Cook and/or some other Apple rep and share your insights and projections that’s one thing. If you publish data on a blog or media outlet and say “Apple should do this” that’s another. Both could say that their data, and their commentary play in helping companies make strategic decisions. The difference is that one says it to build up the strategy of the company, the other to build up their ego.

            – I’m glad you mentioned Pogue and Mossberg, they are reputable in my books, as they review Apple products with as less bias as possible. I like Florian Muller as well.

            – I have read your article. I always read the articles that I comment upon.

            – If you as you say are the first analyst that Apple has mentioned on stage then that should be a wake up call. Actually your whole first paragraph is a wake up call, to you.

            This is what you said: “I genuinely love the industry analyst business. I love the role we analysts, our data, and our commentary play in helping companies make strategic decisions.”

            You are talking about love, passion, a dream, vision, heart YES YES YES, LOVE. It’s no longer the language of your fellow analysts, the trend has been going on for a while so if should not be odd that you were heavily hit by me.

            After all even Robin Hood and Little John had to duke it out before realizing that their ideals were similar.

            If you are looking to bring forth light, morality, LOVE, honor, altruism and integrity into what I consider a very corrupt area more power to you. From your tenacity and response I am gleaning that yes indeed there might be hope after all. For that I thank you.

            1. No, we haven’t chatted before. This is the first time I have commented on a post of mine that MDN has linked to. I am also not a journalist but an industry analyst as there is a difference. I am also not a wall st. Analyst or stock analyst. I study the industry and provide perspective on my findings.

              I absolutely am aware of the tensions about analysis and the plethora of crappy analysis out there. That I why I started our site. To try and inject quality content and analysis back into the public sphere and to do what I can with my credibility out there to try and help fight the stupid.

              Benedict Evans is another you should check out and there are a few others.

              We clearly are outnumbered by the bad analysts but I would howl people like you would help support what we are trying to do rather than take pot shots at those trying to reverse this trend.

              You will also notice I left comments on with our site Tech.pinions in order to allow for accountability.

              So I agree with you at large on analysis but I so don’t believe MDN has ever linked to any of my analysis in a negative light.

              I would also appreciate any dialogue on if you think my analysis is off base. I believe in being accurate more than I care about being right.

            2. At this point I think with the formatting here an exchange like this is a bit like hijacking a thread. Tell you what, I’m going to sleep on it and take you up on your invitation to research you and your site next week. I do know a while back I complimented a journalist who wrote with similar aspects of what you did. Perhaps he was the one you spoke of.

    1. here’s an interesting statistic, Mark:

      “First Lady Michelle Obama’s Princeton classmate is a top executive at the company that earned the contract to build the failed Obamacare website.

      Toni Townes-Whitley, Princeton class of ’85, is senior vice president at CGI Federal, which earned the no-bid contract to build the $678 million Obamacare enrollment website at Healthcare.gov. CGI Federal is the U.S. arm of a Canadian company.”

  5. Careful with the word ‘truth’.
    Truth is in the mind of the beholder:

    Genuine data should point out market truths.

    Here are some of out-of-context triggers to bend the NSA out of shape:

    DefCon V, Active X, Chemical weapon, Plot, Methamphetamine, Agro, eco terrorist, Timil Tiger, flying spaghetti monster bin Laden

    For your fun and enjoyment, here are a couple berzerker NSA trigger word generators:

    http://www.bugbrother.com/echelon/spookwordsgenerator.html

    http://nsa.motherboard.tv

    And then I turned to Margaret and told here: “Airborne Toxic Event is always fun. It’s also the name of a sick rock band.” To which she replied: “L’honorable Claude Bisson, O.C., commissaire du Centre de la sécurité des télécommunications (CST) canadian, told Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence and Security [MOIS] (Vezarat-e Ettela’at va Amniat-e Keshvar VEVAK) about Solenzara (Southern Corsica) frenchelon station : a covert agent sent UKUSA (United Kingdom – USA Security Agreement)`s ultra confidential encrypted documents to Gama’a al-Islamiyya (Islamic Group, IG) !” I was appalled. Then we laughed and laughed! 😆 😆

  6. Bajarin is too polite to point out that much of the massive ‘no name white boxes’ are SCAMMING the public like their big brother Samsung scams them.

    Samsung scams them by running fake reviews, advertising etc (after hyping 8 core Exynos chips and HD ‘Super ‘ amoled in their S4s they quietly replaced many shipping S4’s with cheaper 4 core Qualcomm snapdragons and cheaper screens)

    the white box retailers following big brother Samsung’s ethics are scamming the public by using ANDROID in large letters (as it’s free for them) but their devices are barely ‘android functional’, their ‘Android’ is either an old version or stripped down, they don’t have the processor or ram , they don’t come with components like accelerometers or some don’t even have wifi (i.e can’t connect to internet) so MANY OF THEM CAN’T USE STOCK ANDROID APPS OR SERVICES , they just run a bunch of cheap built in programs like Pac Man like games. (people who have been to asia know what I mean, I wrote about it years back in other forums)

    Since Google, the big carriers spend hundreds of millions advertising Android, these scammers (who were once building MP3 music ‘keychains’ etc) happily piggyback on the hype. You can make a CALCULATOR or Photo Display powered by Android and sell it as an ‘Android Tablet’ and the idiot analysts and press would count them as on par with the iPad.

    The tech press is just as bad as tech reviewers like those on Zdnet etc make a LOT more money reviewing the massive numbers of android devices than the small handful of Apple devices a year (you can’t live on one iPhone review a year, go ask Andy ‘android is better’ Iknatko ). Reviewing Android is their bread basket and they keep the fake news of android ‘winning’ to keep android alive.

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