Chemistry
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Apple’s Magic Formula is Secrecy and Rumors

Apple’s longstanding perchant for secrecy is legendary. It’s also a myth. Granted, the company has a strict no-comment policy about future products, which isn’t so much about keeping information from seeping out but controlling who disseminates it. Something else: Secrets are impossible to keep when a company produces physical products overseas and depends on so many third-party suppliers. Controlled leaks, or strictly managing those that aren’t, lets Apple maximize marketing advantage.

The value cannot be understated, because Apple’s business model in 2014 isn’t much different from 2001 or 1995: Reselling to the same core group of loyal customers. The Mac faithful mattered when the company struggled to survive against the Intel-Microsoft duopoly and made the majority of profits from selling computers. Cofounder Steve Jobs wisely chose to expand into new product categories—iPod (2001), iTunes Music Store (2004), iPhone (2007), iPad (2010)—that freed Apple from monopoly bondage. But the core philosophy of selling to loyal customers, even while trying to grow their numbers, remains the same. [Read more]

Bull
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Like I Said, Aggregation is Plagiarism

File this in the “When things are too much alike department”—and I meant to write this post last week. Better late than never, eh? Scrolling through my RSS feeds on Friday I came upon this Gizmodo story which matters to me: “HBO Is ‘Seriously Considering’ Offering HBO Go Without Cable TV“. Pranav Dixit’s piece provides no real reporting but aggregates from Quartz’s “HBO is now ‘seriously considering’ whether to offer HBO Go without cable TV“.

I recognize there are only so many ways to write a headline with quote “seriously considering”, but c`mon. Aren’t bloggers embarrassed puking out someone else’s digested food? There is something like alien culinary abduction here, and the results are disgusting. How hard would it be to get the quote, rather than lift it from someone else? What if Quart’z John McDuling misquoted (he doesn’t) such that Giz and countless other aggregators regurgitated and the social web smeared it all over their Walls? [Read more]

Apple PR Insider: ‘You have to be able to control the journalist’

I envy Sam Biddle, who has just about the best job in blogging and journalism. Who else ahead of Apple’s big event (in about 90 minutes) would post a PR-crucifying story? His posts snark, and they’re just so damn enjoyable to read.

The photo for Sam’s story is brilliant! I first met Steve Jobs at the press briefing for opening of the first Apple Store, in May 2001, where he followed Walt Mossberg (left) around like a puppy seeking attention.

Circus
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Another Apple Media Circus Begins

The Apple media invites are out today, and I am disappointed to see how effectively the company manipulates the Fourth and Fifth Estates and how willing are they to be led. For the record, I got no invite, nor did I expect one.

To the Apple marketing team, I tip my hat in recognition for job well-done. Please enjoy a well-deserved laugh on me. You earned it. The venue choice already has some blogs and news sites a-going. [Read more]

Stormtroopers
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Twitter betrays You

Today, over at BetaNews, my colleague Mark Wilson asks:
Twitter may be within its rights to block ISIS beheading content, but is it right?” The social service did more—suspending accounts for some users who shared the gruesome video depicting the slaughter of front-line journalist James Foley, who was held in captivity for about two years. Mark writes:

Twitter has a responsibility to allow events to unfold without intervention. The sheer number of people using the site means that it is possible to get a fairly balanced view of what is going on in the world—do a little research and you should be able to find supporters of every side of just about any story or argument. But for this to work, censorship just cannot happen.

I agree but see far darker implications with respect to news reporting. [Read more]