Surprised? Apple gets the most ink among tech companies

Sep 27, 2010
Finance

A new survey shows that Apple (AAPL) is the media’s tech company of choice. Also in today’s App Industry Roundup, the New Yorker gets an iPad app and a security company plans to expand its offerings. Apple in the news — again One more story couldn’t hurt. And if you ask me, blame the editors. Apple […]

A new survey shows that Apple (AAPL) is the media’s tech company of choice. Also in today’s App Industry Roundup, the New Yorker gets an iPad app and a security company plans to expand its offerings.

Apple in the news — again

One more story couldn’t hurt. And if you ask me, blame the editors.

Apple has made its marketing culturally significant, a feat it may be remembered by more than its innovation.

In what should come as a surprise to no one who works in the media and those who consume that media on a daily basis, Apple Inc. gets more ink than any other tech company. By a lot.

According to a story in Monday’s New York Times, a “yearlong look at technology news coverage by the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism found that 15.1 percent of tech articles were primarily about Apple; 11.4 percent were about Google; and a meager 3 percent were about Microsoft.”

Apple’s brilliance is two-fold: technology and marketing. We love their gadgets, as the iPod, iPhone and iPad are all top of mind when it comes to what we want to use. (Yes, not everyone loves Apple gadgets, but you’ll be hard-pressed to find anyone without at least an old iPod.) But what drives Apple’s news coverage is the carefully orchestrated events that happen at least thrice annually. Whenever Steve Jobs introduces a new — or most likely, revised — iThing, the media jumps through hoops. And of course, all that coverage generates a lot of rumors, which are later covered in the mainstream press. Scheesh!

I blame the editors. Why? When Apple started its remarkable turnaround, few of us paid attention. The company had more history surrounding service problems and missed opportunities (what, you’re not going to license your operating system?) than home runs. But starting in 2001, the iPod slowly started to change things. At first, it was for Mac users and there was a great marketing campaign around this new music player — “A thousand songs in your pocket.”

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Tech reporters started paying attention, but editors saw the initial push by Apple as just another company trying to make noise at a time when the Nasdaq was beginning to implode based on tech hype. Apple, of course, stayed the course and kept innovating. Eventually, editors’ kids started buying iPods, as it was ridiculously easy to use. As well, Apple, apparently, was not crashing and burning like everyone else.

Apple started to have September shows where the new iPods would be introduced. The prices stayed the same but the features got better. Some iPods got smaller, they added colors, etc. The show was great, people were interested, and editors realized that people loved this stuff.

Hence, every September — and now every June (the iPhone) and probably every March/April (the iPad) we get a show. The innovation remains. Jobs is a master of the dog-and-pony show and editors recognize that people will read all about it — even if it is just a big product pitch.

New Yorker iPad app

The venerable New Yorker magazine launches on the iPad today, in what the Wall Street Journal calls “a significant test of an iconic, old-media brand’s efforts to refashion itself for the tablet-computer age.”

The magazine will sell for $4.99 an issue and, as usual when it comes to iPad magazines, no subscription play is yet in place. Publishers like Conde Nast are pushing for Apple to allow subscription plans over single-copy sales. It hasn’t happened yet, but you can bet it will. Last week Conde Nast introduced an iPad app for Gourmet Live, a magazine it shuttered last year only to bring it back as a digital-only property.

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For the New Yorker, frankly, I would like the option of single-sales only. If you’ve ever been a subscriber to the print edition of the New Yorker, you are familiar with that awful feeling of magazines stacking up faster than you can read them. A digital version solves this problem nicely.

Other app news

The inventor of the popular Instapaper app is looking to broaden his horizons. Marco Arment has left his job at Tumblr so he can focus on his hobby, Instapaper. He tells the New York Times that Instapaper has 800,000 regular users and it is time to stop treating it like a side project.

“Basically the plan is to keep doing what I have been doing with it,” he said, adding that it’s always been a profitable business. “Now, there are features I want to create and business relationships that I’d love to explore.”

According to Forbes, home security giant ADT is expanding how its app can be used. It will cobble together a network of home security products so users can “check and adjust your home’s thermostat, locks, lighting, motion sensors and view live video feed from wireless cameras on either the Web, a Web-based mobile portal, or your iPhone client, according to Forbes.

The cost: $57 per month. Um, isn’t that a crime?

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Eric Benderoff

Eric Benderoff is the principal of BendableMedia.com, an editorial services firm, and a founding member of the Appolicious content strategy team. His personal technology column for the Chicago Tribune has appeared in newspapers and websites nationwide. He is a regular guest on Chicago's WGN Radio and is a frequent commentator about consumer technology on national TV news programs.

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