Apple’s iPhone 5 is out and the verdict is in. Rather, two verdicts are in.
The first verdict on the iPhone was from the typical sources. The tech media pundits who never held an iPhone 5 in their hands until the great unwashed masses received their early ordered phones.
With few exceptions, those Apple critics were all too eager to point out how lame the iPhone 5 was going to be (without trying it first). They pontificated on how many more features Samsung crammed into the Galaxy S III. They bemoaned Apple’s inability to cram in the latest technology, such as Near Field Communications (NFC).
Critics panned the iPhone’s still too-small screen, the lack of a physical keyboard option, the missing removable battery, and a host of other standard drivel rehashed each year since 2007.
The second verdict is a contrast to the first. Those who received an iPhone 5 from Apple for early reviews (the John Grubers and Walt Mossbergs and David Pogues of the world) praised Apple’s latest incarnation as the best ever, a highly refined device which shames competition in feel and performance.
So, you’re thinking about buying an iPhone 5 or upgrading your old iPhone to a new one, right? Who should you believe? The tech media pundits who were willing to give you a review of the phone without actually using it? Or, experienced users who had an advance unit to try out before reporting their findings?
Here’s how this kind of thing works.
Apple does something revolutionary and the tech media pundits hate it, but customers love it. Then, over a few years, Apple enhances, shines, polishes, and refines the revolution as incremental stages of evolution. Along the way, tech media pundits hate it, but customers continue their love affair and snap up the latest devices as fast as Apple’s Chinese labor force can create them.
This story gets repeated every year whether Apple launches a revolution, or merely an evolution of a previous revolution. It seems as if Apple is the Rodney Dangerfield of technology companies. The company has a difficult time garnering the respect of tech media pundits.
Here’s why it works this way.
Whether print, broadcast, or online, tech media pundits have a requirement that traces its methodology back to yellow journalism and beyond. See how this definition fits them.
Yellow journalism, or the yellow press, is a type of journalism that presents little or no legitimate well-researched news and instead uses eye-catching headlines to sell more newspapers. Techniques may include exaggerations of news events, scandal-mongering, or sensationalism.
Does that sound familiar? Without controversy, those tech media pundits wouldn’t have much to report other than the huge lines waiting to buy Apple’s latest and greatest. Facts are not good enough. Controversy sells. the more ridiculous the claim, the more eyeballs tech media pundits garner for their publications.
Here’s the problem.
Apple doesn’t care about tech media pundits (unless you’re a fair minded, articulate, greatly respected, and highly-followed pundit such as John Gruber, Walt Mossberg, or David Pogue. Apple doesn’t build products for pundits. I’m convinced they don’t even build products for customers. Apple builds products for themselves. If they’re satisfied with the latest and greatest, there’s a good chance their legions of customers will be satisfied, too.