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January 19th, 2011
12:13 AM ET

Apple of the media's eye

I hear it in the newsroom every time Apple announces a product:

“Why are we covering this? Aren’t we just giving Apple free advertising? We wouldn’t do this for any other company.”

The sentiment isn’t wrong. We probably wouldn’t give the attention we give Apple to any other company. But Apple isn’t any other company.

Apple is unique because it’s able to project influence far beyond the marketshare it holds. It’s not just journalists and consumers hanging on to their every word: Apple can shape the direction of the entire technology industry.

Need proof? Look at the glut of tablets at CES. You’d think if any company could influence the future of computing, it’d be Microsoft. Remember, 91% of all the computers on the planet run Microsoft's Windows. But when Bill Gates tried to usher in a new age in 2002 with Windows XP Tablet Edition, nobody answered the call.

Nine years on, tablets finally arrived. The catalyst for turning Gates' prediction into reality? Apple's iPad.

Here’s more: In the quarter ending in September 2010, Apple sold 14 million phones. Over the same period, Nokia sold 110 million. But which company transformed the role of the mobile phone from communications device to pocket computer? Apple.

And I haven’t touched upon Apple’s influence in consumer electronics (the iPod), how it made the computer accessible to all (the Mac OS), or how it’s changed the music business and operates the world’s biggest music store (the iTunes Store), because it’s more than just the products themselves that make Apple stand out. It’s also about Apple’s fanatical following.

Apple doesn’t have customers, it has supporters or fans. Why? An answer might lie in the words of this cult’s leader, Steve Jobs. Look at what he said way back in 1985 when he was forced to leave Apple:

“If Apple becomes a place where computers are a commodity item, where the romance is gone, and where people forget that computers are the most incredible invention that man has ever invented, I'll feel I have lost Apple.”

Those words still ring true 25 years later, when Jobs introduced the iPad by calling it a “truly magical” product. Apple does not treat its products as commodities; it treats them as creations. That mindset is why Apple applies the extra care, detail and polish to elevate its products and itself above the rest.

All of this is what makes Apple so fascinating to watch. It’s why we hang on every word Steve Jobs says: Because he dreams about building products that change the world - and he has the ability to pull it off.

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Filed under: Gadgets • Technology
soundoff (14 Responses)
  1. Tom Marks

    Steve Jobs is a visionary the likes of which the world has never seen.

    He is an artist and he has all the qualities of one: stubborn, strict attention to detail and an inability to compromise values in the final product. It gets him a lot of hate and a lot of love....but in the end, it sells extremely well.

    January 19, 2011 at 1:44 am | Reply
  2. Whatever

    Brilliant blog. Spot on. Thank you.

    (The fact that you'll be crucified is beside the point).

    January 19, 2011 at 3:20 am | Reply
  3. Michael

    If relevance would be the only reason for the extensive coverage you would have covered the raise of NetBooks too. But since it's no Apple product it was mostly ignored.
    Apple made the computer accessible to all? Really? Most people here started with a Commodore device and switched to a WINDOWS-PC then. (like me)
    Thanks to Apple though, for freeing legal music downloads of DRM.

    January 19, 2011 at 3:48 am | Reply
  4. Noob

    Basically this article tries to justify the following:

    "Yes we are advertising Apple; and unfairly so compared to other companies."

    January 19, 2011 at 7:41 am | Reply
  5. math

    1985+15 = 2000

    I think you meant 25 years later.

    January 19, 2011 at 7:43 am | Reply
  6. Alex Peter

    The same words have been read about Microsoft then about Goggle etc. It is not Apple, it is us who expect miracles, something different, engaging, independent. Once you read too many news about Microsoft culture and how they do business including these days Google and monopolies on both sides, you do not feel compelled to join either of them. Apple sounds independent, true, genuine. At he moment, it sounds like you've got freedom you don't have either with Microsoft, Goggle or whoever else. Apple did not betray its customers yet. At least not the way other companies did. Trust – that is the treasure Apple still has. These days it is worth as much as all other companies together. Why did Microsoft fail with XP Tablet? Because we were sick of their constant attempts to control us, the consumers, the market. We shall see where this train with Apple now goes.

    January 19, 2011 at 9:13 am | Reply
  7. g-standard

    monopoly versus universal. kinda interesting war, isn't it?

    January 19, 2011 at 9:17 am | Reply
  8. Hans

    Don't forget Apple practically invented the modern laptop in the 90ths with its PowerBooks. No Steve Jobs. The Newton was ahead of it's time. No Jobs. The trouble for Apple started with CEO Spindler and again with Amelio. I think Apple will survive without Steve Jobs.

    January 19, 2011 at 9:50 am | Reply
  9. Enrique

    OMG! OMG! OMG! I love Apple so much!!! Being a gay man I know we've waited a long time for a tech style icon for the gay community.. Apple is that icon! Keep putting that sparkle and shine in the products Apple. Get well soon Steve we LOVE YOU!!

    January 19, 2011 at 10:36 am | Reply
  10. John

    We have seen the way Apple has innovated "In the Box" but thinking and acting "Out of the Box"

    Thanks to the Innovation, may be next time we will have the new Apple NextGen phone which will do extraordinary functions.

    January 19, 2011 at 10:56 am | Reply
    • Maykon

      That would put Microsoft snuggled up to AT T, like Yahoo is nslreptey two monopolists, sharing their goals of market domination. This could be interesting..it is definitely a play to keep up with the Googles

      April 3, 2012 at 1:34 pm | Reply
  11. susan

    i think that this is good in a way because atlease one guy can fully entertain alot of people :)

    January 19, 2011 at 12:15 pm | Reply
  12. Alex

    I have never purchased an Apple product and I don't think I ever will.

    The only reason Apple has any influence is because the massive amounts of free publicity it receives from reports and writers that know very little about technology.

    January 19, 2011 at 1:40 pm | Reply
  13. Eduardo Domingues de Jesus

    Envy is a sickness, probably incurable. Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, whoever got there before someone else will always have some envious people digging the weak parts with acid and no constructive suggestions, quite ridiculous indeed. Steve and Apple are not a nerd and a computer firm, but likely the very only real Art movement after the Pop Art. Besides that and as a person, I wish from the bottom of my heart that Steve get well soon, a lot of what he made so far is an example to my kids.

    January 19, 2011 at 2:14 pm | Reply

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