The iPhone meets Journalism

If you read general coverage of Apple's new G3 iPhone you'll soon discover either that it's perfection incarnate or the worst excuse for a cheap handset anyone's ever foisted on an unsuspecting world. Balance is not a feature -of the coverage - and you'd never know, from "journalistic" reports that the thing has both pluses and minuses.

Sometimes The Onion just doesn't take itself seriously. Yesterday, for example, it published a review of Time Magazines' Obama coverage that includes gems like these:

According to the Time reporter, work on the profile was often harder than he had anticipated, with Obama at times dodging questions about whether or not he played a musical instrument, and about what Monopoly piece he thought best represented his candidacy and why.

"Situations like these are when you have to get on the phone and talk, not only to his mother, but to his aunt, his uncle, a Boy Scout leader, or maybe even one of his camp counselors growing up," Sherwood said. "And if they don't return your call, you turn to Sunday school teachers and former babysitters?anyone who is willing to go on record and say that Barack Obama was a really good kid who was destined for great things."

Added Sherwood, "It's all about getting the factoids out in the open."


Time managing editor Rich Stengel said he was proud of the Obama puff piece, and that he hoped it would help to redefine the boundaries of journalistic drivel.

"When the American people cast their vote this November, this is the piece of fluff they're going to remember," Stengel said. "Not the ones by Newsweek, Harper's, The New Yorker, The Atlantic, The New Republic, The Economist, Nightline, The Wall Street Journal, or even that story about lessons Obama learned from his first-grade teacher we ran a month ago."

Now that's pure politics; couldn't possibly happen in technology reporting, right?


About a week ago I saw a series of email requests by someone who presents as a journalist asking for dirt on the iPhone 3G - and when I asked google news just now for hits on iPhone (fails OR failed OR failure) it provided 971 of them - with summaries like these:

Apple fails BlackBerry test
Financial Times, UK - 21 hours ago
iPhone's failure to address other issues make it less than an ideal device for business. The two most glaring problems from a business

Has Apple Lost Its Mojo? - 20 hours ago
Many stores sold out of iPhone 3Gs on the morning of the first day. That means both Apple's physical and digital supply chains failed to meet demand.

Apple: Failure to Launch, India - Jul 15, 2008
The reasons for this sorry state of affairs - Apple servers couldn't survive the extreme traffic caused by over-enthusiastic iPhone users wanting to

Where the iPhone Failed
BusinessWeek - Jul 3, 2008
In one sense, next week's launch of the 3G iPhone marks a significant defeat for Apple. Of course, the original iPhone was a huge success in the US and the

11 Great Apple Technologies That Failed
PC Magazine - 12 hours ago
But the Newton can be seen as the forerunner of the iPhone, a much more successful product. And the Newton had several innovations that still look ...

Steve Jobs Decision Behind iPhone Apps' Achilles' Heel
InformationWeek, NY - Jul 17, 2008
[Update 2, July 17, 8:20 pm: With due respect to the commenters below, who're complaining that I failed to note that Apple indicated a fix at WWDC: The

All in the interest of getting the factoids out, right?

And on the Macworld et al editorial side of things? They make Time Magazine look good - but then, like Obama, these guys change their deepest moral and intellectual convictions at the drop of an opportunity.