Subscribe / Unsubscribe Enewsletters | Login | Register

Pencil Banner

The Macalope Weekly: Small sample sizes

The Macalope | Jan. 2, 2013
If there were one useless tool of the silly technology pundit that the Macalope could smite with his mighty horns ... well, there isn't just one. But making mountains out of the molehills of small or specious data sets would at least be in the top ten.

If there were one useless tool of the silly technology pundit that the Macalope could smite with his mighty horns ... well, there isn't just one. But making mountains out of the molehills of small or specious data sets would at least be in the top ten. (Top ten lists would be another.)

It's not good data, but it's our not good data

The anecdotal evidence is in and Apple ruled Christmas!

Woo-hoo! High five, everyone! Good work!

Yes, according to some highly scientific data points collected this week (actual science not included), Apple Stores were jam packed while Microsoft Stores were barren wastelands, and iPad sales beat sales of competing devices 5 to 1!

Well, that seals it, then. Nothing else to see here; we'll just wait for the good news when Apple reports its quarterly numbers next month.

Move along. You can just skip to the next section.

Go on.

Oh, fine.

"Christmas Eve at the Apple, Microsoft and Sony stores"

Mmm, Philip Elmer-DeWitt, that would more accurately be "Christmas Eve at an Apple Store, a Microsoft Store and a Sony store." A Fortune reader sent in pictures from all three stores in his local mall, which show the Apple Store hopping and the other two where-not-a-creature-was-stirring, not even the mouse you could totally use with your Surface for a no-compromises user experience, bro.

This isn't exactly the first time someone's noticed this. Heck, on the Surface launch day there were more people in the Apple Store at the mall the Macalope went to. It certainly seems true that Microsoft Stores simply don't generate the kind of foot traffic Apple Stores do and, therefore, can't be generating the same kind of sales. But these pictures of individual stores on certain days at certain times is just anecdotal. They don't really prove anything, but they sure do make us feel good.

Likewise this chart, put together by A.X. Ian, who comments on his methodology here (tip o' the antlers to Daring Fireball). Ian pulled "First Tweet from my..." tweets over a 24-hour period, finding 1795 for the iPad, 250 for the Amazon Kindle, 100 for the Google Nexus, and 36 for the Microsoft Surface.

Apple wins the contest dripping with self-selection bias! Yay!

None of this is to say that these anecdotal data points aren't a little interesting, and they could be indicative of how Apple's holiday went (IT WAS AWESOME). But the Macalope can't in good conscience lambast people for using anecdotes to claim Apple's sliding into oblivion and then laud people for using anecdotes to claim Apple is crushing its enemies.

A handful of anecdotes don't necessarily mean anything. But it's OK! As long as we all hold the spirit of Apple having had a good Christmas in our hearts ... then Apple will have had a good Christmas.

 

1  2  3  Next Page 

Sign up for CIO Asia eNewsletters.