Four Apple Pundits You Should Never Read

by James R. Stoup Apr 18, 2007

If you are a long-time Apple user then you have probably heard of the four pundits below. They have written reams of bad advice, poor comparisons, unclear analysis, insane predictions, and general crap. But if you are relatively new to the world of Apple then you might mistakenly assume that these guys actually know what they’re talking about. Rest assured, they don’t. This is a simple guide to the four biggest idiots out there writing about all things Apple. They all have different styles, but in the end you can’t really trust any of them. Here they are, in no particular order: the top four pundits you should always ignore.

John C. Dvorak—Don’t mistake commentary for journalism
A lot of people think John Dvorak is just plain stupid. Given what he has written this is an understandable, if incorrect, conclusion. The confusion comes because most people don’t really understand what John is. It is easy to think he is a journalist of some description. This is incorrect. Dvorak is a blogger. The difference, you ask? Well, a journalist is (supposed to be) concerned with writing quality stories. A blogger just wants his website to get as many hits as possible. Clearly then, when you look at things in this light you realize that everything Dvorak says is aimed not at being truthful or insightful or honest but rather inflammatory because this ensures his pieces get the most traffic. Dvorak’s method of saying ridiculous crap and waiting for people to disagree with him has earned him much traffic. Please don’t indulge him anymore. Here are some of John’s best attempts at Mac-baiting:

Apple Should Pull The Plug On The iPhone
Will Apple Adopt Windows?

And, lest we have any doubts, here is Dvorak on camera admitting he only writes crazy things to drive traffic to his site.
Video of Dvorak admitting he is a fraud

Save yourself the hassle and just ignore anything that Dvorak writes. It will only make you mad.

Rob Enderle—Mr. “I-will-say-anything-for-a-quote”
Imagine for a moment you were a tech writer and you wanted a quote from an “industry analyst” to support your latest story. Well, you go out and talk to all the credible sources first, but they all disagree with you. What do you do? Well, you have 3 choices:

a) consider that your premise might be faulty and rework your piece (I include this option solely for the laughs it will generate)
b) make up sources and bank on the notion that nobody checks these things out anyway (also called the Dan Rather solution)
c) call Rob Enderle and tell him what quote you want him to make (for a small fee of course)

You would be amazed at how popular option “c” seems to be. Now, you have to realize that this is even more amazing when you consider two facts. First, when it comes to Apple, Enderle is almost always wrong. Dead wrong. Not-even-close wrong. What-were-you-smoking wrong. And second, Enderle has no real experience in the industry. He isn’t a programmer, engineer, manager, designer, or anything else that implies knowledge of this particular trade. What is he, you ask? Why, he is an analyst! What does it take to be an analyst, you ask? I don’t know, but a degree in some type of science isn’t it!

Rob Enderle is the perfect example of someone who talks at great length about something he doesn’t really understand, but because he’s an “analyst” suddenly seems more credible than your run-of-the-mill janitor, homeless person, or window washer. If you see an article that quotes Enderle, stop reading right there. The Macalope sums it up best:

Note to the media: sometimes the facts aren’t “balanced.” And any time you have to resort to calling Rob Enderle is probably one of those times.

Here is some more proof for those who need it:
Misinterpreting statistics never goes out of style
The iPhone is crap, iTunes is doomed, blah blah blah

Rob Enderle holds the record for “most predictions by a pundit of Apple’s death.”
Apple Death Knell Counter

Remember, there is no opinion so insane that Rob won’t support if it means he gets his name in print again.


George Ou—He lost his mind during the wireless-MacBook-hack scandal and never recovered
George makes ZDNet look bad just by having his name associated with their site. You see, he isn’t as blatantly evil as Dvorak or quite the link-whore that Enderle is, but he is crazy. And by crazy I mean paranoid, tinfoil hats, and vast conspiracies crazy. You kind of feel embarrassed for him at some point. You just want to ask him, “you don’t really believe all this stuff, do you?” Yeah, stunned disbelief is the trademark of an Ou piece. For those who don’t remember, Ou was the one journalist who wholeheartedly believed Maynor & Elich during the whole wireless hack-a-Mac saga. What makes him really nuts is that when Maynor painted himself into a corner (meaning even if you believed him, he made enough contradictory statements to show that he must have been lying at some point) and then refused to provide any proof, Ou was the one who stepped up and accused Apple of orchestrating a grand conspiracy aimed at discrediting Maynor. Here is some of his best work:

Who framed David Maynor? (duh, Apple!)
Vista is easier to use than OS X

This is one of those things that’s too funny for me to make up.
Ou Receives Wedgie From Apple Community


Paul Thurrott—Facts are sooooo optional
The aforementioned pundits on this list all share one thing in common: they tend to always be wrong when it comes to commenting on Apple. Dvorak does it on purpose, Enderle does it for links, and Ou does it because he is a nut job, but regardless of the reason they are all still wrong (the vast majority of the time at least). But not so exactly with Thurrott, who actually gets things right once in a while. And this, sadly, makes him even more unreliable in the long run because it gives him an air of credibility. The big problem with Thurrott is that he is either lazy or stupid. It doesn’t really matter which because the results are the same. He writes pieces that have basic facts wrong. It’s not that he is drawing the wrong conclusions from his data, it’s that he starts off with bad data. And unless you are really paying attention, his “analysis” can look quite reasonable. A perfect example of this (full link below) was when he compared a Dell Precision and a Mac Pro. He determined that the Mac was more expensive, but he compared two fairly different machines. The Mac had a 64 bit processor while the Dell only had a 32 bit one. When you actually compare equal machines the Dell is more expensive. This kind of sloppy reporting can easily fool those causal readers who assume Mr. Thurrott actually has done all his research.

Steve Jobs’ “Open Letter” was really a trick
Price comparison: Dell vs. Mac

Read him with care because he isn’t the most diligent of researchers.



  • Oh. My. Geez. I was laughing so hard tears came to my eyes! Brilliant!

    Aurora77 had this to say on Apr 18, 2007 Posts: 35
  • If you actually read the Paul Thurrott article comparing the price of the Mac versus the Dell, you will notice that he actually concludes that Mac is cheaper, but not by as much as you might think and that the added configurability of the Dell is important enough to him to make up for the difference in price.  Speaking of not doing your research. . .

    Stewsburntmonkey had this to say on Apr 18, 2007 Posts: 3
  • Stewsburntmonkey,

    His original article was incorrect. It wasn’t until after he was called on his mistakes that he corrected his original piece. But even then he tried to justify his original conclusion regardless of what the actual data said.

    James R. Stoup had this to say on Apr 18, 2007 Posts: 122
  • Yes, I do remember that original article, but at least he is willing to correct his facts when he is wrong.  I just find it ironic to incorrectly cite his updated article in a piece criticizing sloppy journalism.

    Stewsburntmonkey had this to say on Apr 18, 2007 Posts: 3
  • He does no such thing—his contrition is always short-lived.  Like a pendulum, he compliments, then attacks, sometimes on the same issue.  The intent is to enrage readers who then seek his site out to “rip him a new one.”  He gets his hits, the angered public feels vindicated, and then the cycle happens all over again.

    That sort of behavior is known as opportunism.  He has a right to try to make money that way—and it seems he’s quite successful.  But make no mistake—his money comes from your manipulation and unwillingness to recognize what he’s really doing.  His goal is not to seek out “the truth” or do the best job he can, it’s to make money.  He’s parasitic.

    ricksbrain had this to say on Apr 18, 2007 Posts: 14
  • The only reason these four “Apple pundits” get noticed is that the rest of the Mac web community links to them, for many of the same reasons - to drive traffic and get publicity.

    Since they won’t be going away soon, it’s up to some in the Mac web to transform these “Apple pundits” to what they really are - “Apple Fools” or “Apple Court Jesters”. I suggest a banner showing pictures of these jokers and their home pages. Make it a warning to all newbies not to take them seriously.

    TO get everyone started, here’s a link and picture to one of the founding members of TWiT:


    RodneyJ had this to say on Apr 18, 2007 Posts: 1
  • So, tell us what you really think, James Ryan Stoup.

    MacNuggets had this to say on Apr 18, 2007 Posts: 17
  • Dvorak is not an “Apple pundit.”  He mostly writes about the tech industry, which believe it or not, is not centered around Apple.

    And this whole thing would have a little more credibility if it weren’t written by the most egregious Apple mouth-piece on this site.

    Beeblebrox had this to say on Apr 18, 2007 Posts: 2220
  • James, I really enjoyed this piece and the way you were able to identify unique characteristics of each writer. I also totally agree.

    Someone I don’t recommend is Walt Mossberg because I think he’s too subjective in Apple’s favour.

    (Whoa! Did you see that?! Sparks and flames just shot out of my Mac! And is that dark cloud in the sky crackling?!)

    Although I do feel he might have written one piece a couple of year back chastising Apple for something or other, I otherwise just I don’t recall Mr Mossberg ever saying anything bad about Apple. Or well, if he does, it’s too smothered in the gushing to be noticed.

    Apple quoting Mossberg on Macs (as they like to do) has as much objectivity as if the president was to quote the NRA on gun control.

    Chris Howard had this to say on Apr 18, 2007 Posts: 1209
  • Beeblbrox, I have to agree with you Dvorak isn’t just an Apple idiot, hes and idiot about all things in the tech industry.

    Actually when clicking on the more link I was certain he would be on the list, along with Enderle.  But again Enderle is an equal opportunity ass and I actually hate him more for some of his bought and paid for quotes about Linux more than his bought and paid for quotes about Apple.

    All in all, this was a great article.

    BigW had this to say on Apr 18, 2007 Posts: 10
  • Wait, you’re claiming that Dvorak, they guy who predicted Apple’s move to x86 years ahead of everyone else, gives bad advice? Speaking of due diligence, the links you provide do nothing to prove your point. “Apple Should Pull The Plug On The iPhone” I fail to see how this is evidence, the iPhone hasn’t been released yet. Do you know something we don’t? So he has an original opinion that differs from yours.
    “Will Apple Adopt Windows?” Either you’ve been spending too much time with your new friend Enderle or you just don’t know anything about computers. No, Apple didn’t drop OS X, they just allowed you to run Windows on the Mac. Another call way ahead of it’s time.

    On to Thurrott, and again with the links. “Steve Jobs’ “Open Letter” was really a trick” Did you actually read this article? What he’s saying is true! Even Bill Gates complained about DRM before Steve Jobs. Thurrott was a little too short sighted to see that Apple was dropping DRM all-together, but I don’t see how you can claim inaccuracy.

    This really is way to long to be a comment, but I refuse to put this in my blog and drive traffic to such a poorly written article. I don’t know much about the other people mentioned in this article, but I’m beginning to wonder.

    kettle had this to say on Apr 18, 2007 Posts: 4
  • Chris and kettle, when James writes “doesn’t know what he’s talking about,” what he really means is “not sufficiently reverent toward all things Apple and/or not sufficiently vicious toward all things Microsoft.”

    Ever read David Pogue?  He actually accused Microsoft of ripping off Gadgets from APPLE, even though both ripped them off from Konfabulator.  And no mention whatsoever of Time Machine being a rip off of Vista’s Previous Versions.

    As for the disparaging remarks about bloggers, I’ll bet dollars to donuts James here checks in with roughlydrafted and daringfireball at least once a day.

    Beeblebrox had this to say on Apr 19, 2007 Posts: 2220
  • Amen Beebelbrox and Kettle - I think the iPhone argument is one of the best Dvorak has made.

    There was pretty much a void of quality equipment and choice when the iPod came out, I think it was just a combination of usability and timing that made it a success. But if you look at the cellphone industry and the number of massive companies with billions of dollars invested, it won’t be so easy for them to waltz in and make millions.

    Especially considering a price tag around $US500 on a contract. I don’t know about you, but that’s a lot of money to splash out on a phone for me…

    I think my Sony Ericsson is doing just fine!

    ciaocibai had this to say on Apr 19, 2007 Posts: 4
  • OK, I know this is a strange asside, but that is not a normal Mac keyboard!  (or is it?)  Mine has the caps lock key light as a small dot in the upper right corner of the key, not a big vein running down th front-middle of the key!  Am I seeing things or is this a new kind of Apple keyboard?

    Xapplimatic had this to say on Apr 19, 2007 Posts: 15
  • John Dvorak lost all credibility when he sat there making rumors up about iPhone battery life being 40 minutes.  Clearly the published specs are the published specs.  Does Dvorak own stock in Nokia, Motorola, Sony, or LG?

    Xapplimatic had this to say on Apr 19, 2007 Posts: 15
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