Weirdest of 2015: This year’s most blistering insults

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Apple fanatics got up to some strange stuff in 2015.
There was plenty of trash talk to go around in 2015.
Image: Stephen Smith/Cult of Mac

Cult of Mac's Best of 2015 In addition to rounding up the best stories of the year, we’re also showcasing the weirdest of 2015, and we can’t do that without including the sickest burns people laid down over the past 12 months.

It’s always strange when companies and CEOs snip and snap at each other like annoyed children. We should expect them to be above that sort of behavior, but guess what? They totally aren’t.

Here are some of the most blistering insults of the year.

Unimpressed monks make man one with his iPhone 6 once more

iPhone 6 donation weirdest of 2015
Who does this, really?

The Third Noble Truth of Buddhism says that only by removing from our lives the pleasurable things we crave and facing that which is unpleasant can we hope to break the cycle of rebirth and redeath. But apparently that does not extend to dropping your iPhone 6 in the donation box of a temple during Chinese New Year, as one man found out. The monks rejected his gift and made him take it back.

It turns out that a group of people who intentionally resist owning things weren’t that excited about getting a bit of advanced technology, so temple staff returned the phone to its owner and said that the temple was only accepting donations of hard currency.

We appreciate the gesture, however flat it fell. I was thinking it was uncharacteristically mean of the monks to shut the guy down like that, but now I’m realizing that they might have been providing the donor a valuable lesson in facing unpleasantness.

So, hey, well played, monks.

Tesla gets in on Apple’s watch game

Tesla Model W crop
Oh, Tesla. You’re so puckish.
Photo: Tesla Motors

Electric-car company Tesla Motors wasn’t about to let Apple have all of the wearable fun, especially not on April Fools’ Day. That’s when it “revealed” its own entry into the smartwatch game, the Tesla Model W. Along with the above picture, Tesla published a blog post detailing all of the exciting new features headed to your wrist with the Model W.

“This incredible new device from Tesla doesn’t just tell the time, it also tells the date,” Tesla wrote. “What’s more, it is infinitely adjustable, able to tell the time no matter where you are on Earth. Japan, Timbuktu, California, anywhere!

“Studies have shown the Model W will dramatically improve your health. If you work out. And it’s available in platinum!”

If you live in the April Fools’ dimension, and have the “wrist strength of an Orangutan” necessary to wield the Model W, be sure to pick one up. We’re sure it’s also super expensive.

You wouldn’t say that to its face. If it had one.

Siri
Words can hurt, Butterfield.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

2015 was the year that every tech company decided it needed its own digital assistant. Now, we have Siri, Microsoft’s Cortana, Google Now, and Facebook announced its own cyborg version, MoneyPenny, was in development.

Even team-productivity app Slack is getting in on the action with the fairly on-the-nose-named Slackbot, which will expand its functionality to go straight-up Her all over the Internet. But while talking about how cool his team’s robot is, Slack head Stewart Butterfield couldn’t miss getting some shots in at the competition.

“Apple spent billions of dollars on Siri and worked on it for a very long time with hundreds of engineers and a huge dataset of voices – and it’s f–ing idiotic,” Butterfield said back in August. “Siri is nearly useless.”

We wouldn’t say Apple’s virtual helper is useless, ourselves, but it isn’t perfect, either. Especially when I’m trying to turn my lights off, and it keeps saying it doesn’t know what I’m talking about.

You know, Siri. I know you know.

No, really. It’s a Columbo reference.

One more thing
Tim Cook announces “one more thing” at WWDC 2015.
Photo: Apple

The situation between Apple, which launched the Apple Watch this year, and the Swiss watch industry, which is seeing frightening drops in exports since the wearable market exploded, reached a childish critical mass when Swatch received the trademark for the phrase “One more thing” in August.

The Swiss company claimed it was just huge fans of TV detective Columbo, who used the phrase to ask “gotcha” questions at the end of interviews to catch suspects off-guard. But Columbo hasn’t solved a case since 2003, and meanwhile “One more thing” has been a staple of Apple presentations. Steve Jobs used it just before dropping surprise announcements at the end of events, and Tim Cook continued the tradition when he took over as CEO in 2011.

We missed it at the September event at which Apple showed off its new TV box and the iPhone 6s/6s Plus. So thanks a lot, Swatch. We had to settle for getting all of that amazing tech news without any sucker punches.

Damn, Musk. You’re cutting deep.

Elon Musk
He doesn’t just look like a Bond villain, it seems.

Not content to just get the Tesla Watch gag be the only jab his company made at Apple this year, head Elon Musk had some choice words about Apple’s long-rumored aspirations to get into car manufacturing.

“They have hired people we’ve fired,” Musk said in October. “We always jokingly call Apple the ‘Tesla Graveyard.’ If you don’t make it at Tesla, you go work at Apple. I’m not kidding.”

Considering how little we know about Apple’s “Project Titan,” it’s hard to say exactly how the company is making use of Tesla’s discarded talent. Either way, though, that’s pretty cold.

This story makes us 😭

emoji keyboard
What the H?
Photo: EmojiWorks

This bit of news isn’t so much an insult to the words that lost as it is a slap in the face of all language: The “Face with Tears of Joy” emoji was Oxford Dictionaries’ “Word of the Year”. Because why not.

When reached for comment, we assume the emoji said, “😂.”

What did the picture beat? Oxford’s short list included relevant terms like “on fleek” (“Extremely good, attractive, or stylish”), “Brexit” (“A term for the potential or hypothetical departure of the United Kingdom from the European Union”), and “lumbersexual” (“A young urban man who cultivates an appearance and style of dress suggested of a rugged outdoor lifestyle”).

You know what? Give it to the emoji. The right thing won.