The Amazing Silliness of Apple Journalism

April 24th, 2015

Pity the poor company that rises to the top of the market, or in the case of Apple, having the largest market cap of any company on the planet. There will be loads of bottom feeders that will suggest that every single thing the company does is wrong. New products are doomed to fail, and the existing leadership is just paralyzed and they cannot cope with the situation.

Tim Cook? Oh, he’s just the supply chain person. All creativity rests with the designer, Sir Jonathan Ive, and if it doesn’t meet his sensibilities, well that’s just too bad. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

Apple’s products? Well, the Apple Watch, which isn’t even arriving in customer’s hands until today, at least for some of the people who got their orders in within seconds after preorders began, is singled out for an incredible amount of criticism. Long and short of it is that maybe it’s just a fancy device for the rich and famous, at least the Edition, and for the rest, it’s the “in” thing and therefore you must have it regardless of quality. Until there’s another “in” thing of course.

Now I am not one to attack people who pay more for something just because it’s fashionable, the hype value, rather than the actual worth. But I also realize that gold isn’t cheap and so it makes sense for Apple to collect $10,000 and more for each Edition. So the critics who wouldn’t dare say a Rolex is overpriced will apply such criticisms to Apple. After all, doesn’t the $349 Apple Watch Sport work exactly the same?

Yet another article I read the other day suggested that the Apple Watch was just another smartwatch while at the same time explaining that the iPhone was a trendsetter. But when I look at the features offered in other smartwatches, I don’t see a similar taptic or haptic sensor, or Force Touch or the digital crown. The same?

What about the published report from Wired that detailed the “secret” history of Apple Watch development? So it reportedly took a year to perfect the sensations delivered by the Taptic Engine so that it met Ive’s standards. That’s hardly imitating what other products contain.

The big difference pointed out in that Wired article is that the Apple Watch appears to be something designed from scratch, but other smartwatches are mostly scaled down smartphones designed to be worn. I’m sure you see the distinction, but you can look at the rich selection of material at Apple’s site and the tech press for a full picture of what the product is all about.

Some of this silliness goes back to the belief that Apple did well with Steve Jobs at the helm, but screwed up royally when Tim Cook took over. But even under Jobs, Ive was evidently given a lot of authority to do things his way. That he has more responsibility under Cook only increases the extent of his influence.

Yet another silly article, quoted in an online column, claimed that Apple had admitted to screwing up the launch of the Apple Watch? How? Well, because Apple’s retail chief, Angela Ahrendts, was quoted in a video presentation to Apple Store salespeople as saying that people would be asking lots of questions. Somehow people being curious about something, or wanting more information, is a negative.

It’s right to criticize Apple’s change in way Apple Watch is sold where, at first, you won’t be able to pick up one at an Apple Store. It appears that situation might change when supplies are more plentiful, but that doesn’t actually answer how many preorders Apple has received. Even if there’s no announcement come Monday, the first weekend after the product shipped, it doesn’t mean it wasn’t successful according to Apple’s own standards, whatever they might be. But if a company can’t build enough of a gadget to satisfy demand, isn’t that supposed to be a good thing?

I realize some might suggest Apple deliberately gooses the perception of being perennially backordered on a new product by choosing not to build enough. Somehow that makes it more popular, at the expense of losing sales. But Apple regularly employs sophisticated manufacturing schemes, new assembly methods, and thus the product ramp is apt to take time. New components may be sourced by one or more Apple suppliers; it may take them a while to deliver sufficient quantities. The specifics may only be speculated about, and they are, but Apple has kept a tight ship on inventory for years. Unlike certain competitors we might name, they aren’t flooding the channel with lots of product, hoping and praying people will buy most of it, while still boasting about high sales instead of high shipments without evidence of demand.

Most of the media lies about Apple have been corrected over and over again. Articles that make foolish pronouncements, or quote industry analysts with ties to competing companies, are regularly refuted. But corrections are rare, and once a story is spread, some might believe it has a basis in fact. Consider “BendGate,” the unproven complaint that the iPhone 6 Plus is too vulnerable to bending under normal use. Well, it just never happened, and even the latest Samsung Galaxy smartphone doesn’t do quite as well in bend tests.

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One Response to “The Amazing Silliness of Apple Journalism”

  1. DaveD says:

    All those articles written what Apple should or should not do, and sales projection before today about the Apple Watch are worthless. Just more fodder clogging up the Web. I appreciate the few that do practice responsible journalism, but there are too many out there that have too much time on their hands trying to make a quick buck. For me who is not in the market to buy one, I skipped over many articles of below-zero value. I have read a few reviews that Apple provided watches to for their thoughts, the good and bad. The Wired article on the Apple Watch development was a fascinated read.

    How well the Apple Watch will do starting today is what so many responsible reviewers have said and I always say is that “time will tell.” I will look for those articles on the ones that have bought the Apple Watch and having worn it for a good length of time to get a real review.

    I have a more interest in the “new” MacBook. I do applaud Apple for having the “guts” to sell a different kind of notebook that have the potential of change.

    One should expect that a ramp up of production of a new product will take time and to expect shortages. I ordered a PowerBook G3 Series on Apple Online in May 1998. Online ordering with customizing your own Mac was new and the notebook was manufactured by Apple in Cork, Ireland. Yeah, it took several weeks of waiting for my built-to-order baby to arrive.

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