- 26 Jul 08, 19:58 GMT
After a long absence, Stephen Fry is back with his Dork Talk gadget column in the Guardian. Terrible news - he's such a witty and well-informed observer of the technology scene that he makes the rest of us read like a laser printer user manual.
His first piece on his return is about the 3g iPhone - and halfway through a pretty positive review he launches this, admittedly mild, sideswipe at us: "The BBC's technology site is so afraid of looking as though it "favours" Apple in some way that it has been failing to file legitimate stories for fear of the anti-Apple community, because, believe it or not, there are people out there who think the launch of yet another Nokia or WinMob Apple-a-like should be given equal prominence."
Oh dear, have we been failing to give enough coverage to Apple? Those of you who are frequent visitors to this blog - many, many millions of you - will be aware that every time we do write about Mr Jobs' company, war breaks out between the Macaholics and the rest. The Apple fans accuse us of being insufficiently respectful of the wondrous gifts emanating from the shrine at Cupertino, the non-believers stifle a yawn and complain that we give this minor business far more attention than it deserves.
In the run-up to the launch of the 3g iPhone the complaints were so numerous - at least a dozen - that I was dragged in front of the ultimate tribunal, the BBC Editors' Blog, and forced to explain myself.
So that probably made us a bit more cautious in our coverage. I decided that I really couldn't be bothered to write about the new iPhone - although I did cover the arrival of the applications store, which I,like Stephen Fry, thought more significant. It wasn't just the wrath of some readers that put us off covering the 3g launch, it was the attitude of the Apple press office. We had planned a jokey video comparing iPhone 3g with the HTC Diamond, but so manic and controlling was Apple about letting us film a phone before the launch that we chucked the whole idea.
And yes, I agree that our caution means we may have failed to file some legitimate stories. Like the total Horlicks (oh no - more product placement) Apple has made of the launch of its MobileMe online service. I'm not going to write about it now - it's about as boring as watching the spinning beach-ball as my laptop fails to synchronise with my desktop. But considering Apple plans to charge £59 for something which the likes of Plaxo do for nothing - synchronise your data between different computers - then this ranks as one of the most disastrous launches since Heathrow's Terminal 5 lost half the world's baggage.
Oh, and while I'm at it, the 3g iPhone is indeed a thing of beauty - and I love turning my phone into a light sabre as much as the next man. But the GPS can't find me four times out of five, the SMS application takes an age to launch, there's no cut and paste - and the battery barely lasts beyond 4pm on a busy day. Whereas the 2g iPhone now does almost everything the new one does - via the 2.0 software - with longer battery life. There. I'll shut up again now - and let the Mac-bashers and boosters have another go.
UPDATE: Darren Waters, the editor of the Technology section, has given his view on all this, below.
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites