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Mobile Device Management

Snapshot: Why is Apple Resorting to Tech Specs and Geekspeak for the iPhone 5s?

The iPhone is such a phenomenon that it effectively takes over Techmeme whenever a new version rears its shiny case and many of the stories therein have a bland predictability. There are the insta-reviews from the instapundits – you’ve read the spec so you know the product already, even without trying it. There are the City boys with their feverish watch on stock market reaction – stories are out of date the moment they’re published but never mind. There are the doomsayers and there are the fanboys – the story is already written before the news is out. And finally there are the weak PR attempts to spoil the party with news from rivals. Everybody has an opinion even if they don’t have an opinion and the result is pusillanimous copy that quickly turns putrid.

So, that said, let’s join the fray.

“If you can’t blind them with science, baffle them with BS,” my school history teacher once advised. Sage words and music to the ears of any wannabe journalist attempting to eke out 2,000 words on quiet news day.

I was reminded of that advice on reading the source material for the legions of stories covering Apple’s iPhone 5s. The press release opening par is truly a dog. Couldn’t be any more of a dog if it barked, slobbered, sniffed around the reader in an embarrassing way for all parties, said ‘sausages’ for comic effect and was dressed in a hat and sunglasses for Lulzpets.

How about this for a way to start:

“Apple® today announced iPhone® 5s, the most forward-thinking iPhone yet, featuring an all-new A7 chip, making iPhone 5s the world’s first smartphone with 64-bit desktop-class architecture…”

Lacking a certain ‘once upon a time, makes you want to read on’ factor, huh? My technology marketing source reliably informs me that if you take the number of people who care about the iPhone 5S, filter that by the people who care about smartphone microprocessors, subtract the number of people with an understanding of 64bit architectures then, finally, the number of people who think ‘desktop-class architecture’ is an attractive way to market one of the world’s greatest consumer devices, the remaining person is the guy who signed off this press release.

The iPhone is an insanely great product but when it comes to the point that you’re advertising the qualities of the CPU from kick-off, then Cupertino, we have a problem. In a market characterised by blink-rate change and the new, new thing, Apple is running out of reasons for people to stay loyal.

The press release isn’t the problem, the problem is the reason the press release turned out this way. If you build a better mousetrap the world will beat a path to your door. But if you can’t do that then you’re down to baffling them with BS.

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Martin Veitch

Martin Veitch is Contributing Editor for IDG Connect

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