Apple is famous for its marketing and getting leading newspapers to print it for free.
This week Jonathan Ive, the company’s senior vice president of industrial design, pulled a swifty with the British media.
Ive came back from the colonies to pick up a knighthood from the queen for services to religion, er, design. He hinted that he was working on something that “feels like the most important and the best work” Apple has done.
He could have been referring to anything. The iBoat. The iTV. A very nice sandwich he made for lunch – or even the very satisfying dump in the office iBog. It is not a real quote.
If David “I am an Ordinary Bloke” Cameron told the Telegraph the Coalition is “working on a brilliant programme to cure unemployment and will shake up British history,” readers would want to know what it was he was doing – and the Telegraph, we would hope, would ask on their behalf. If Cameron said “I can’t tell you because it is a big secret”, the reporter would have the public’s permission to punch him in the face or not print the comment.
But in the case of Apple, this quote set off PC Week which felt the need to publish tons of speculation and marketing guff based on that one quote.
Ive has been working on the “hotly anticipated iPhone 5″, the magazine pointed out. Who is “hotly anticipating” shelling out more cash for another update?
The Jellygraph enthused that it will have a screen larger by one inch. Not even an Apple cultist would claim that would make it the best work Ive has ever done.
Ive is also working on “the Apple TV,” gushed PC Week. It does not take a genius to design a telly and Ive could not say it was the best work he has done.
Ive, like many people in Apple, gave nothing away, and yet the Tame Apple Press prints his marketing with fervent enthusiasm.
This ritual is seen so often in the trade press. Reuters is doing it now. How many stories about PCs do you see which has the mistaken comment that the PC has been killed by the iPad? Reuters said it twice in one story about Dell. Nowhere did Dell say its PC business was being killed by the iPad. Instead, it quite rightly said that its business was being done in by the European economy. Regardless, Reuters felt the need to throw in a free advert for Apple.
This reporter has asked the ethics staff at Reuters why the news agency is showing a marked Apple bias. TechEye heard that it wasn’t, so that is the end of that.
But when you see words like “eagerly anticipated” used to describe a product, then the reporter is editorialising in favour of the company’s marketing department.
In the good old days, a hack would have been fired for that. It was unethical to talk up one company – that was up to the paper’s advertising department. Now, it seems that it is the job of the media: to hawk products at the expensive of their readers.