Apple Watch: The rumour rhumba

I HAVE been criticised for writing about Apple in a blog called Apple Watch, which is a bit like criticising someone for writing about spuds in a gardening blog, but I think it's more out of jealousy that there's no commensurate blog for whatever tech thing they like. To which I have no comeback. (Actually, I have lots, but they're all rude.)

So sorry there's no 'Samsung Song' or 'Microsoft Tea', but there are lots of commentators on Apple out there. Some just recount everything they read about Apple. Some actually try and work out, from contacts, experience and lots of reading other sources, where Apple is going: what's behind the impetus.

And some just live way out there in la-la land. It's a fun place where Apple is collapsing, failing to meet expectations despite outstanding financial results, about to build whatever device the writer has decided they want for themselves, or deservedly going broke because Apple is not building whatever device the writer has decided they want for themselves. This is all par for the course in any industry, but some of these twits write for quite reputable content providers.

Some of the posts are clearly ridiculous, and characterised by one very reputable source of Apple info, TUAW, as 'linkbait'.

One, on Bloomberg, decided Apple was being dealt a blow by Samsung thanks to a deal to provide Samsung smartphones to Swiss railway staff. I can't work out how many people this effects, but it's hardly a behemoth of European railways - Switzerland covers 41,285 square kilometres and has 8 million people.

I know because I looked this up in the Mac OS Dictionary app, which has a handy little encyclopaedia built in (bet most of you didn't know that). New Zealand, by the way, covers 266,992 square kilometres for just over 4 million people. Of course, Switzerland has a large rail network, as you'd expect from any well-established European country with a dense population. Switzerland has 193.77 people per square kilometre - NZ has less than 15 people per square kilometre. It sounds spacious here, prospective tourists, but we do share each square kilometre with 116 sheep. At least we don't need to mow as much as some countries.

As TUAW mentions, the Swiss railway probably just took the most affordable tender. That's business - and Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) had its profits fall by 43.6% last year, so 'affordable' triumphed again.

Another post decided Steve Jobs must be spinning in his grave because a Samsung television was spotted in an Apple Store. Who cares? Samsung make perfectly good televisions. And did not copy them from Apple.

And just to seal the deal, Rocco Pendola wonders why Apple doesn't make him an Apple Television ...

Macworld is normally reserved, but blogs under 'The Macalope' moniker are outspoken. This one writes "Pendola's work is so over-the-top that it really is a form of performance art. What it has to do with investment advice the Macalope has no idea, but that's really The Street's business. Second, Pendola takes the Macalope's razzing with good humor, which is a pleasant change as the horny one's calendar is already full up on "pistols at dawn" appointments."

Of course, what people bemoan the most in the days of the decline of print media is 'balanced journalism' - something you can level at me of, because I'm unbalanced. But frankly, I'm as keen as you to see how an iPhone compares spec-for-spec with a Samsung Whatsit. I mean, I use an iPhone not because of its power, but because it syncs into my Apple device world so well. But I'm still curious. So what does it achieve on GottaBeMobile when Adam Mills compares the latest and greatest Samsung S5 to an iPhone ... 5? Adam, there are two iPhone models above the 5, right?

Macworld calls this a 'gigantic crime against common sense'.

Macworld goes on to point out that Pavithra Rathinavel, writing for the International Business Times, posted 'Apple iPhone 5S vs. iPhone 6 - Specs And Price Comparison'.

Do you see what's wrong here? There is no iPhone 6. If a new iPhone comes out, it may not even be called iPhone 6 - it might be the 5y or something, for all we know.

Pavithra, you simply cannot compare an 'anticipated iPhone 6' to anything, my friend. He also speculates the 6 will have 'wireless charging', leading Macworld to wittily posit "Speculation about the iPhone 6 is all well and good, but smart shoppers will want to hold off for the iPhone 7. The Macalope doesn't want to give away too much about it, as specs are still in flux, but he will say three words: 3D laser kittens.'

OK, well I'm buying that iPhone.

But then Macworld goes on to castigate Lisa Sanders (on Slate) who says she's not buying from Apple again until Apple starts paying proper taxes. Hm, I'm not going to join Macworld 100 per cent on this one, as I think not paying taxes is shameful and morally indefensible, but it's hard to find out the full facts. And, like Macworld, I could say 'no other corp does either' but that's like saying 'it's OK for Apple to use dodgy Chinese assembly plants with bad worker conditions because HP, Dell, Asus, Samsung and all the others do too' ... but I believe wrong is simply that - wrong.

However, on the tax thing, that's a very complicated story and it does my head in. Plus it's different for every region. But advocacy group Citizens for Tax Justice and the nonpartisan Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy checked the financial statements of 280 corporations on the Fortune 500 list. Of those, the two groups charge that 30 paid no federal taxes over the previous three years. But Apple and Intel paid 31 per cent corporate tax, while Internet retail giant Amazon only paid only a 7.9 per cent tax rate on $1.8 billion in profits between 2008 to 2010.

However, this doesn't quite wash - the tax avoidance issue is mostly levelled at profits made outside America. This is something that does need to be properly investigated - until that's done, I feel I should withhold my judgement.