IT press' Apple shame

The US IT press, which has been acting as Jobs’ Mob’s free press office and advertising outfit, was delivered a stinging indictment yesterday.

A study published Monday drew on a host of metrics showing that the media is unbalanced in favour of Apple news and covers the outfit more than any other company.

According to the Pew Research Center study in the past year, headlines about Apple took up 15.1 percent of tech news coverage, while articles about Google constituted about 11.4 percent, and just three percent were about software giant Microsoft.

Apple has five percent of the PC market, and the only part of the industry where it has a significant impact is the smartphone market where it has about 17 percent share. However the smartphone market is a tiny sector of the greater mobile communications market which means that Apple is really a bit player.

However rather than hanging its head in shame that it has sacrificed any shred of credibility for hawking a proprietary company’s products for free, the tame Apple press is actually patting itself on the back for a job well done.

Wired has even written a piece that covers Apple because it is so brilliant and good for users.

“Talk all the trash you want about the iPhone lacking Flash or the iPad being unable to print (until November). Apple delivers on products and then talks about them,” Wired enthuses.

Apple? Talk? Those are words you do not see in the same sentence. Apple is one of the most secretive tech companies in the world and hires an internal police force to keep it that way.

Yeah, well, admits Wired, Apple is a “bit secretive”. The piece goes on to say “Apple’s culture of secrecy can be frustrating when journalists want answers to questions about public concerns, but holding off on product news until it’s ready for prime time works well for Apple.”

Wired is a publication which, we assume, wants press freedom – but then explains away a company’s right to be secretive in the face of disasters.

Wired has said: “Yeah Mr Jobs you can flog people a broken iPhone, but that is OK, we understand that it works for you.”

“When Steve Jobs finally talks about a new product, it’s finished and ready to ship. It’s a lot easier (and less meaningless) to write about things that happen — objects that are real that we can hold in our hands — as opposed to imaginary “products” that may never appear in stores.”

Coming from the same magazine that hyped the iPad into a coma months before it hit the stores, that is a little hypocritical isn’t it?  Like most Apple fanboys, Wired seems disconnected from its own sense of irony.  It has become like the person who has been duped by a conman who insists, against all evidence that they really have bought London Bridge. 

The Wired spin continues.

“When Apple releases a product or announces a piece of news, the company tells a story in a well organized, neatly cohesive way. In his famous keynotes, Jobs introduces products with a slideshow presentation punctuated with colourful adjectives and active verbs, and he sometimes throws in a story to explain the history leading up to the product.”

Parroting meaningless marketing phrases like “cool” and “magical” is a joke. They are not colourful, they are stupid. When a newspaper praises a PR operation, it means that they have fallen for it, and have thus lost the right to objectively comment on anything.

“Duly, some communications specialists have hailed Jobs’ presentations as the best in the world.”

Which communications specialists? It seems that Wired could not find any to back up this meaningless PR phrase. Real communication is about telling people the truth – it is not about packaging spin.

Wired then hits out at Samsung’s technique flogging the Galaxy Tab “which is never quite as powerful as Apple’s big splash”. Apple’s big splash is dependant on outlets like Wired churning out free pre-publicity for Apple and then going to a media event to give St Steve a standing ovulation.

Since the likes of Wired do not do that for the Galaxy Tab, the distribution is much lower key.

The other reason that magazines write so much about Apple is that it takes “design seriously”, Wired breathlessly says.

It took it so seriously the iPhone 4 did not work if you used it in your left hand. It did work if you put a rubber band around it, but hey… it’s an iPhone.

“Apple’s extreme vanity about design sometimes requires customers to pay a premium, but it works well as a marketing tool,” says Wired.

Design is not the reason that Apple gear costs so much. Neither is the mediocre component, the real reason is pure mark-up. You would be aware of this if you were doing your jobs rather than Jobs.

With announcements like this, Wired has told its readers that they cannot rely on its hacks to cover Apple in an unbiased and neutral fashion. It is a shame really, because in other areas, Wired has some great coverage.

But, what editors do not understand is that selling your press credibility for a mess of iPottage is ultimately counter productive. It allows nasty companies to exist unchecked and to do what they like.  Your readers suffer  in the same way that if you do not expose corruption on any level.

Although Steve Jobs is not quite a Sith Lord yet, his complacency over his control over the media is extremely high. The iPhone 4 is a case in point. His first response was to tell users to sod off.

It was not until a “non-IT” magazine “consumerist” started telling users that the iPhone 4 was broken that Steve Jobs did anything about it.

Jobs invented a “fix” which was not a fix and let his IT media drones tell the world everything was OK. The iPhone 4 is still not fixed. Thanks, Wired for letting Apple get away with shafting its users. This is the price for sacrificing your press credibility to promote a company.