Dvorak To Apple: NOOO!!! They're All Gonna Laugh At You!!!

Arik Hesseldahl

John Dvorak's latest column on Marketwatch.com reminds me of a certain Adam Sandler comedy sketch I heard many years ago, which was, I think was in turn based on a scene from the movie “Carrie,” in which the headline above is central. His argument is as simple as it is bizarre: Apple’s iPhone has no chance to succeed; It should "immediately" and "before its too late" pull the plug on the iPhone, and hand it off to other "suckers" -- Samsung maybe -- as a reference design. If it doesn't, its reputation is at stake.

Riiiiight. That sounds a lot like another company I know, whose hardware partners, are, for the most part, producing devices that are, um, not so great.

Meanwhile since nobody has "seen or used the device" there's nothing about it go on but hype. First off, all he's saying here is that neither he nor apparently anyone he's talked to has "seen or used" the device. Apparently, he just doesn't know the right people.

Next, he says that Apple's not nimble enough to keep up with the shifting tastes of fickle mobile phone consumers, ignoring the inconvenient fact, that the wider handset market is sort of irrelevant in the first place. The iPhone will be a premium device, whose owners deliberately seek it out, knowing exactly what they want. It’s not going to be one of those phones that get handed out to every Phil, Sue and Larry who walks through AT&T's door like Motorola's RAZR has. People who want a basic wireless phone will still get a basic wireless phone. Apple's iPhone is aimed at an entirely different market segment entirely.

To John, it seems, that if it ain't a lowest-common denominator, cheap, commodity product, it's chances of market success are minimal. Never mind the fact that the only companies in the PC business right now building healthy, consistent profits and actually growing their share of the market are Hewlett-Packard and little ol' $20 billion Apple.

Finally, it seems he's assuming that there's only one iPhone design in the pipeline. Does he really, truly think that there's exactly zero long-term planning taking place in Cupertino?

I can only guess what John put in his coffee before writing that column. I’ve read a lot of his stuff over the years, and often just scratch my head his conclusions. But it's clear that when it comes to Apple, he's just really, really out there, man. By his logic, Apple should have closed up shop before launching the iPod, OS X, and switching to Intel, and doing all those things that make it the only PC/consumer electronics company worth talking about right now.

Could the iPhone bomb? Sure it could. That's always a possible outcome of taking a risk. But there's certainly a lot less risk in playing the role of the bloviating, iconoclastic critic, which is precisely what I think John is doing here. He knows exactly what happens when he writes things like this: Millions of irritated Apple partisans click on it muttering "Oh no he didn't...." He's the last one who should be giving advice on how to protect a reputation.