Friday, February 08, 2008

When Is A Pie Chart Not A Pie Chart?

Girls usually aren't impressed by socks stuffed down trousers, because when it comes to the crunch the fake package won't be as satisfying as what was promised. The guys in California seem to enjoy swallowing whatever they are fed by Mr Jobs, however, even when he is feeling so unconfident that he has to stuff in half a sock drawer.




Wikipedia: "A pie chart is a circular chart divided into sectors, illustrating relative magnitudes or frequencies or percents. In a pie chart, the arc length of each sector (and consequently its central angle and area), is proportional to the quantity it represents. Together, the sectors create a full disk. It is named for its resemblance to a pie which has been sliced."

Steve isn't using a pie chart there - he's just using a pretty picture that looks like one. The amount of effort put into exagerating Steve's manhood here is impressive - Goebbels would doubtless have loved it. As I'm anal about the abuse of statistics, I thought I'd list the key ways that this slide sets out to manipulate the viewer:
  1. It isn't a pie chart -if it was, the centre point would lie directly in line with the widest point of the ellipse (even with the 3D tilting). It doesn't, it's way above - destroying any proportionality between the sections and therefore any value in the chart as a genuine representation of the numbers displayed on it. Instead, it's a lie - socks stuffed down Steve's trousers.

  2. The circle looks slightly tilted in 3D, with the bottom of Apple's section most visible - making their section look slightly bigger. If it were a real pie chart, that wouldn't evoke comment, but as it's a fake this has clearly been factored in as well.

  3. Apple's section of the fake pie is in green. The eye has higher sensitivity to green because it has more green detectors than red or blue, so this gives a small visual boost to Apple's section. There's nothing wrong with that, but it shows the level of viewer manipulation that the designers were considering.
Sure, everyone lies in advertising, but it begs the question - if you're confident that your numbers are good, why would you go to so much trouble to make them look bigger? Could it be because the "4m in 4 months" line is not really what it says (way more than 1m were sold in the first monnth, so actually sales are declining from a high start). Could it be that a lot of those 4m haven't actually left the shop shelves yet? Who knows.

It's a lovely product, and it is selling well. Mr Jobs, making yourself look like a confidence trickster does no-one any favours.

10 Comments:

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Blogger Antoine said...

Wow, just wow. Great analysis, and something to pay attention to in future announcements.

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Jobs is a sneaky scum, well-known fact.

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