The New York Times turns its nose up at Apple’s special events

“These product launches are a stale habit festering long after it’s ceased being useful.” — Shira Ovide

From Ovide’s “We don’t need tech infomercials” posted Wednesday:

It’s time to end the elaborate staged events that are essentially infomercials for new technology products.

You probably know the ones I’m talking about. Steve Jobs or the current Apple boss, Tim Cook, paces a dark stage and holds up a shiny slab of circuits to an enthralled audience. Apple on Tuesday teased a planned (virtual) event next week to do the stage-pacing thing for the latest iPads.

Mary Kay-style demonstrations for the 400th edition of an iPad are clearly not the most serious problem in technology or the world. Most people will never even watch these things, thank goodness. But they are an example of how we and tech companies don’t stop enough and ask: Why does it have to be this way?…

The Jobs-esque product demonstrations are also an unintentional signal of how tech companies see their customers. To them, we are blobs with wallets that can be persuaded by the Silicon Valley equivalents of a fast-talking guy on TV hawking a mop.

My biggest beef with these elaborate infomercials is that they’re at odds with what technology is now. It’s no longer confined to a shiny thing in a cardboard box. Technology now is the stuff that we don’t necessarily notice — smarter software that alerts us to hazards while we drive or tech that gives small businesses the power of Amazon. It worms its way into our homes and lives, for better or worse.

Technology is also one of the most powerful forces in the world. And yet tech companies continue to hold product launches with the manic energy of an industry desperate to get noticed…

These product launches are a stale habit festering long after it’s ceased being useful. It shows a lack of imagination from companies that are supposed to be imaginative and a disrespect for us, the customers. It doesn’t have to be this way.

My take: All I can say — having flown across the country for more of these than I can count — is that they’re so much easier now.


  1. Steven Philips said:
    Why do NYT and other “news” publications hire narcissistic writers and talking heads to posture for “hits” to make money.
    “It doesn’t have to be this way.”

    April 14, 2021
  2. Aaron Belich said:
    More like the NYT Tech review team is less and less relevant in this age of direct to consumer messaging (marketing) and sales.

    Especially with an ecosystem like Apple’s.

    Move along, nothing to see here but someone wishing they were still relevant.

    April 14, 2021
  3. David Emery said:
    “The NYT is a stale product that has long outlived its usefulness as journalism. Like so many on-line websites, its primary focus now seems to be to collect clicks and awards, where ‘the story’ rather than ‘the truth’ is the goal. Now we’re less dependent on having a few big media companies select our news for us.”

    (I could go on in the style of the NYT, but you get the point…)

    April 14, 2021
    • Aaron Belich said:
      Exactly. What a mad-lib-styled fill-in-the-blanks bit of a time waster.

      Not sure how that is attractive to anyone unless they’re hoping for a viral pile-on.

      April 14, 2021
  4. Bruce Oran said:
    Let us not forget the fiction of suicides at Foxconn that won a dubious Pulitzer. Very poor journalism here and very few outlets picked up the facts. Much to his credit, PED was one of them who recognized early the click bate and Pulitzer bait they were pushing.

    April 14, 2021
  5. Gregg Thurman said:
    Up voted all four preceding posts.

    Ovide writes well, but after that he/she is a click bait whore taking the easy road to them by bashing marketing in general, and Apple specifically.

    It isn’t surprising that NYT’s readership is declining, while the firm it criticizes is growing, just as it has been for some 20+ years.

    If the NYTs had something worthy to market, it would.

    April 14, 2021
  6. Robert Stack said:
    In defense of the NYT: Shira Ovide is not the NYT – she is a tech columnist for the paper and her opinions are her own. Prior to her (stale) writing, this position was held by Brian Chen (perhaps worse), and before that David Pogue. Pogue was the only one of the 3 who understood tech (and Apple). Truth in disclosure: I’m an on-line subscriber to the NYT, and while they’re not perfect, I do respect that they give many different opinions a forum from which I choose to assign different levels of credibility. I used to read Ms Ovide’s “On Tech” column regularly, but finally got to a point where I concluded she tries too hard to be “cool” and present knowledge in areas she knows very little about. Sigh…like far too many in our society, I suppose!

    April 14, 2021
    • Fred Stein said:
      I appreciate your perspective. I used to like and respect the NYT.

      The NYT allows the daily column to be titled, “on tech”. The readers deserve someone who understand her field, even if the column only offer opinions.

      By lumping all companies in the field into one term “technology”, she drops down to level of a drunk at a bar grumbling to a stranger about “those other…..”

      April 14, 2021
      • Robert Stack said:
        @Fred: Agree 100%! Why she was hired is a mystery to me – as was their previous hiring of Brian Chen. It’s been all downhill since Pogue…

        April 14, 2021
  7. Mark Visnic said:
    Shira has a sour style. I don’t know her, maybe it’s her personality. 🙂

    April 14, 2021
  8. Ken Cheng said:
    Pogue was the high point for the NYT’s tech page.

    April 14, 2021
  9. Adam Foster said:
    WSJ did a hit piece on Apple today, also!

    Both articles were ignorant and common click-bait pieces, IMHO.

    April 14, 2021
  10. Michael Goldfeder said:
    These planted Apple “Hit Piece Stories” always populate the headlines a few weeks before the next earnings report. You can set your watch by them as they correspond with the same accuracy as tide movements and the moon’s lunar phases.

    What is more interesting is to track the short % on Apple in conjunction with these “Hit Piece Articles.” Short % was a tad over $107 million on March 15, 2021. Went down to $101.484 shares as of March 31, 2021.

    While the trend in short % is moving lower, based on the minuscule volume being traded, IMO more shares are being gobbled up by Apple, with even more shares in the hands of long term investors. Hence the need for these obnoxious “hit pieces” being deployed in an effort to get shareholders to sell Apple before the next earnings report is released.

    April 14, 2021
  11. Michael Goldfeder said:
    @Joseph Bland:

    I’m probably still being impacted by the after affects from my first Covid shot, in conjunction with titration issues with my upgraded prescription of polite pills. I should be back to normal after Apple reports later this month and my second rabies shot. Watching shorts cover is the best event for healing the soul and getting me back on track.

    Thank you for the appropriate input regarding the shortcomings with the alleged media.

    April 14, 2021
  12. Jens Krueger said:
    Ovide was boring clickbait at Bloomberg and she’s still boring clickbait at NYT opinion…

    April 14, 2021
  13. Bart Yee said:
    Guess the NYT just isn’t the “big tech influencer” it once was. Same in some respects for WSJ. I like a few of their writers but take each’s “opinion” and op-ed’s with heavy doses of salt.

    As for product intros, let’s look how consumers and techy users got the last few Apple product intros, not counting directly viewed from Apple streaming or Apple website archive.
    Apple YouTube Channel views:
    Sept. 15, 2020 Time Flies event – Apple Watch, iPad Air, and more. 15.4M
    Sept. 15, 2020 Introducing Apple Watch Series 6 — It Already Does That 28M
    Sept. 15, 2020 Introducing iPad Air 15.4M
    Oct. 13, 2020 Hi, Speed event – HomePod mini, iPhone, and more. 56.9M, 3.94M Apple Japan YT channel
    Meet iPhone 12 27.3M
    This is iPhone 12 Pro 23.5M
    Oct. 16, 2020 The most powerful iPhone ever 20.38M
    Nov. 10, 2020 One More Thing event – M1 Macs 10.44M

    Nah, I guess Apple “doesn’t” have to do product events, but when views and eyeballs number higher than most TV, Sports, streaming, media events, even NYT/WSJ clicks to reach current and potential Apple users and fans, Apple is doing PRECISELY what its users want and expect for new products announcements. And if one considers if even half the views turn into sales of the specific products, well then its money, marketing, advertising, and content creation time well spent. As usual with Apple.

    April 14, 2021
  14. Daniel Epstein said:
    I think it is fair to say The NY Times looks at Apple as a competitor. The jealousy of Apple’s technological and financial success underlies much of the attitude the paper expresses while covering Apple.

    April 14, 2021
  15. Jacob Feenstra said:
    People will not easily forget Apple. People will forget whatshername. That’s the difference she forgot to mention.

    April 15, 2021
  16. Kirk DeBernardi said:
    Talk about pissing on the Christmas presents under the tree…

    (Sorry PED.)

    April 15, 2021

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