“A” is for Apple: Steve Jobs, lost iPhones & what it might mean
“A” is for advertising. It’s also for artful, acumen, attorney, attack and ass-hat. As luck would have it, “A” is also for Apple, the computer firm that personifies these traits best. It wasn’t always this way. Once upon a time Apple was the lovable underdog. They were the fresh-faced little guys, fighting hard to get a seat at the table. Times change.
Today Apple pretty much rules the consumer tech world. From their iPods to iPads, to iPhones to iMacs to iWhatevers, Apple offers up the very latest cutting edge tech in the most stylish and design-driven ways possible. Music, movies, design and fun – all are dispatched with ruthless efficiency to brand their gear as absolute “must haves,” relegating everyone else to also-ran status before they even leave the gate. Routinely, they seem to create entire markets out of thin air, generating impressive new ways to spend our money and consume like never before. It’s no accident. They leave precious little to chance and have been known to demand a loyalty more akin to a crime family than a nerd herd. Blood oaths might be overstating it but really, who knows what is demanded to reside deep inside the belly of the Cupertino beast?
So color me more than a little confused by the “huge mix-up” that somehow led to a young Apple engineer mistakenly leaving behind a camouflaged new-tech iPhone in a local pub. Picked up by some stranger in the bar (who apparently made several unsuccessful attempts to contact Apple and return it) he eventually sold what he found to a media website – Gizmodo. They proceeded to squeeze the juice from their purchase by doing more than a few stories on the changes the found iPhone showcased. Accordingly, Apple has done a huge amount of huffing and puffing over this – warnings, stern legal threats, official letters, filing of charges, computer confiscation (!), etc., painting the whole thing as a pretty standard corporate screw-up being handled in the de rigueur fashion of late - loud recriminations, lots of blame and aggressive accusation. Seems pretty normal to me.
Except this is Apple. This is the firm that wrote the book on getting attention. On winning hearts while knee-capping competitors. On making new rules and then breaking them simultaneously. Was this an honest mistake by a lone employee or was it a fiendishly Machiavellian attempt at marketing to a jaded world? Is the nightly news about to become the preferred medium for free (and undetectable) advertising? Oh Lordy…..
Look, I’ll cop to my own far too common bouts of paranoid schizophrenia but is it not an insanely convenient coincidence that at almost the exact point in time the next-Gen iPhone was officially “discovered” that Research in Motion was about to host it’s annual WES convention where they pump all their new products and goodies? Is it nothing more than a happy accident that Apple grabs the press just before a super-important, big deal event for RIM and its entire Blackberry business? How much you wanna bet the talk on the WES convention floor was more about the new iPhone changes than Blackberry’s new Pearl? Coincidence? Maybe, but it sure seems to me like the biggest back door ad campaign ever.
When you live in a world where Tiger Woods is willing to take an imaginary tongue lashing from his long-dead father in service of a Nike swoosh or lauded truth-teller Jon Stewart will drop rocket-quick on the floor to polish Comedy Central’s corporate boots over the South Park-Mohammad dust-up you know absolutely anything is fair game. Every single bit of news, content, comment or whatnot created or uttered anywhere must be suspect. Modern times require viewing everything with a slight detachment, if only to allow the time needed to acquire at least a few shots at the truth.
Did Steve Jobs engineer the great iPhone debacle of 2010? Honestly, who really knows? But if there’s anyone on earth devious enough to try it I wouldn’t put it past him. Besides, when the hell did a black turtleneck become code for “hip credibility?” Wake up folks – the self-dubbed “coolest generation ever’ ain’t 25 anymore. They no longer wave peace signs or stage sit-ins. They own the companies and run the countries they used to picket – meaning they officially became “the man” ages ago. And whether it’s “groovy” or not, as “the man” they will do anything and everything to sell you on their stuff and on their ideas. Are news reports actually press releases in disguise? Look closer – ‘cause you never know what you might find.