- 15 Jan 08, 18:59 GMT
We had a big row - or rather a reasoned debate - in our morning editorial meeting about whether Apple deserves quite as much coverage as it gets. A leading economics journalist pointed out that the Ford Focus is a much bigger seller than the iPhone - but gets much less coverage. I felt the Focus was just a car – while the iPhone heralded major change in a whole industry
But we all agreed that Steve Jobs would have to come up with something pretty special to justify news of his keynote spreading from our web journalism to mainstream TV and radio bulletins.
So Darren and I trooped into the venue where journalists from across Europe were watching the relay from San Francisco and assessed each Jobs announcement for real news value as it happened.
First new product is Time Capsule – a wireless storage device – designed to be a companion to Time Machine, the Leopard feature which allows painless back-up of your data. Nice but not newsworthy.
So news value: 2/10
Then there is iPhone news - 4 million sold in 90 days. Pretty good, and makes the target of 10m sales by end of 2008 look very achievable. A few software updates for the phone, including the ability to locate yourself in Google maps and customise your home screen. And, at last, you’ll be able to send an SMS to more than one person at a time. Ipod Touch will also get new features, including Mail – but existing users will have to pay for upgrade. Again, cute stuff for existing users, but not a breakthrough for anyone else.
News value: 3/10
Now the first big one – an iTunes announcement. Jobs admits he’s disappointed with sales of movies, and announces a deal with all the major studios to rent movies online- to watch on your computer, your iPod or your TV. To make this easier, there’s a new version of the rather limited set-top box Apple TV, though it still lacks the browser which would make it a more complete IPTV device. This is important because it opens a new front in Apple’s battle to be as big in digital video as it is in music. The rentals start now in the US, later this year elsewhere.
News value: 7/10.
Now we finally get to hear what is behind the keynote slogan “there’s something in the air”. “Today we’re introducing a third kind of notebook – the MacBook Air.”
The slimmest portable computer you can imagine, produced out of an envelope by Steve Jobs to a chorus of oohs and aahs. He shows off the multi-touch. Well, yes, this is a beautiful piece of kit and a masterpiece of miniature engineering – and doubtless devoted Macheads will be storming the Apple stores. But is it hot news that a computer company has introduced a new and pretty expensive computer – even if it is thinner than any other? Not really.
News Value: 6/10
But is there going to be “just one more thing? No. And that leaves us just ever so slightly underwhelmed. A solid range of new products - but this was not an iPhone year.
Maybe it’s time to look at that Ford Focus…
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