Comic relief

Comic relief: The Apple Product Cycle

December 11, 2007: 9:40 AM ET

As Macworld approaches, this is as good a time as any to revisit the canonical Apple Product Cycle, boiled down to 36 steps by an anonymous humorist who called himself misterbg. Originally posted more than three years ago, it rings as a true today as it did then. The full parody is available here. A sample below:

It begins:

An obscure component manufacturer somewhere in the Pacific Rim announces a major order for some bleeding-edge piece of technology that could conceivably become part of an expensive, digital-lifestyle-enhancing nerd toy.

Soon:

Eager Mac-heads fan the flames by flooding the Mac discussion forums with more groundless conjecture. Threads pop up around feature wish lists, favorite colors, and likely retail price points.

Months later:

As Macworld or the Worldwide Developer's Conference draws near, the chatter builds to a fever pitch. Rumor sites jockey for position, posting a new unverifiable, contradictory rumor every hour or so. eBay is flooded with six-month-old, slightly used gadgets as college students, underemployed web designers and independent musicians struggle to clear credit card space.

Macworld arrives:

Steve Jobs spends the first half-hour of his keynote crowing about how many iPods shipped during the previous six months and how many "native applications" have been developed for OS X. Attempting to appear as though it's just an afterthought, he finally introduces the new Apple product. The product has sleek, clean lines, a diminutive form factor, and less than half of the useful features that everyone was expecting. Jobs announces that the product is available "immediately."

Overnight:

The haters offer their assessment. The forums are ablaze with vitriolic rage. Haters pan the device for being less powerful than a Cray X1 while zealots counter that it is both smaller and lighter than a Buick Regal. The virtual slap-fight goes on and on, until obscure technical nuances like, "Will it play multiplexed Ogg Vorbis streams?" become matters of life and death.

After delays, second-guessing, and stock gyrations, the product ships:

Weeks before most users are able to hold Apple's new gadget in their hands, "What features would you like in the next version?" discussions take place on Mac mailing lists. Mac-heads cook up droves of far-fetched, often bizarre ideas. A cursory reading makes it readily apparent why Apple executives pay no attention to their fanatical customers.

Disassemblies, backorders, celebrity sightings, software updates, until ...

An obscure component manufacturer somewhere in the Pacific Rim announces a major order for some new bleeding-edge piece of technology that could conceivably become part of some expensive, digital-lifestyle-enhancing nerd toy. The fun begins again...

Thanks to Peter Mortensen of Cult of Mac for the link.

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