Tech Media Conquered by iPhoneThat thunderous buzzing sound you heard wasn't the wingbeats of a million angry bees--it was the tech media going wild for the latest Apple product launch.
Anything unrelated to the iPhone that happened in the world of IT this week could have happened on another planet, if you were reading tech media. The runup to the commercial release of this totemic object of desire left the chroniclers of tech--from blog to mainstream--in a quivering state of anticipation. Steve Jobs has once more masterfully orchestrated a media event. In time we'll see if he also created a blockbuster product.
For those who don't have an RSS feed of iPhone news on IV drip, here's a look at the top stories this week.
Cue the Queue
As of Friday morning, the "gotta-have-its" formed lines outside Apple stores in New York but were only a few hundred strong, Reuters reported.
Devotees who had arrived earlier, Infoworld said, were led by a distinctive everyman of the modern media event, Greg Packer, famous for providing "man in the street" quotes on various topics over the past several years.
And finally, here's the deal on launch day store protocol, an AT&T manager explains.
Why, Oh Why, Go With AT&T?
There are a few clouds in the sky of the saturation media coverage. Both the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal noted eleventh-hour anxieties over AT&T, Apple's service-provider partner in the iPhone release. The carrier's EDGE wireless network may not show the new phone's online capabilities to best advantage; Apple seems to be hoping that customers will connect via Wi-Fi hot spots to get better performance.
The Anointed Few Weigh in With Rreviews
There's a bit of crankiness in the blogosphere about just who received the few devices Apple made available for prerelease review. Crunchgear provides a roundup of the first looks from Walt Mossberg, David Pogue, Edward Baig, and Steven Levy. Levy temporarily achieved the distinction of being the victim of the first attempted iPhone mugging), according to blog Valleywag, which claimed that Levy was jumped while appearing live on Fox News; later it emerged that his "assailant" was attempting to commandeer an even more precious commodity--a TV reporter's live microphone.
The Messianic Element of Appledom
Meanwhile, thanks to a hyperbole-prone blogocracy, the nickname "jesus phone" had appeared in more than 100 news stories by Friday, scoring for Jobs a viral brand tie-in with someone whose Q Score is probably dangerously higher than the CEO's own.
Rocco Palmo runs with the religious metaphor on bustedhalo: "June 29th marks the feast day dedicated to the founders of the church of Rome: Saints Peter and Paul. The observance is an ancient one, but this year it coincides with a religious festival of a more modern sort. For the believers of this other faith, it's the day of deliverance they have long awaited, the moment when they'll finally be able to grasp the Holy Grail which they've long lusted and defended against all nay-sayers, sight unseen." More alarmingly, Palmo notes a Vatican-Apple tie-in that could feed conspiracy theorists for years to come, reporting that the "Vatican webmistress" had recently disclosed a Mac conversion.
But Is It Environmentally Friendly?
The Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports that an massive trail of e-waste could follow in the iPhone wake. Greenpeace itself has thrown down the gauntlet at Apple's feet in a posting on its Web site that asks "How green is that iPhone?"
Business is Skeptical
According to Infoworld, Apple has signaled its intention to invade the BlackBerry market of corporate users, but the Wall Street Journal found IS departments saying, in essence, "Not so fast." If the iPhone becomes a corporate status symbol that top executives insist on having, technology managers will have no choice but to make it work with e-mail systems and security structures. But Businessweek remains unconvinced that you really need one.
BlackBberry Is Ready With a Curve
Clearly, Research in Motion doesn't plan to sit passively as Apple encroaches on its turf. RIM recently introduced the Curve, which also uses AT&T service and was well received by Thestreet.com. RIM shareholders seemed unfazed as Apple got ready to open store doors at 6:00 p.m. on Friday; RIM shares were up in trading that day, as a 73 percent increase in first-quarter sales bolstered confidence.
Next Up: The iPhone Aftermarket!
The San Jose Mercury News reports that the iPhone is already "unleashing a cottage industry of touch-screen protectors, leather hip carriers and car adapters." Take care that they fit, though. Evidently, Apple's unwillingness to share specs makes it that much more challenging to design appropriate add-on gear.
Can It Live Up to the Hype--and Stave Off the Schadenfreude?
Gartner's Mike McGuire notes the double-edged sword posed by unbounded hype: "The blessing is you've created an amazing amount of demand. The curse is you have a very high level of expectations to meet. And if there's a misstep, there will be a lot of gloating people in the industry."