Apple made an interesting choice in how it handled early iPad reviews: It provided review units to 10 publications — including the three usual suspects, and some unusual ones — but left out the world’s two top gadget blogs, Gawker Media’s Gizmodo and AOL’s Engadget.
In fact, even today, when several industry analysts are tweeting proudly from their loaner iPads, Gizmodo does not have an evaluation device. And we are told that Engadget does not have one either, despite the fact that its editor, Joshua Topolsky, is supposed to bring it on “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” tomorrow night.
In Gizmodo’s case, at least — and maybe Engadget’s — Apple’s snubbing was a last-minute surprise. Gizmodo editor Brian Lam was already on a plane to New York yesterday when Apple canceled on him at the last minute.
“I need to get off this plane,” he tweeted. “No point to my trip now.”
Later, Lam tweeted, “Kinda nice hanging back and not rushing to cover a new gadget. Aggregation is my friend.” He explained, “That would be the silver lining of having my Apple meeting canceled last minute, while already on the plane.”
So, what happened?
- We don’t know the real reason, and it sounds like Lam doesn’t either. None of the explanations we could think of would justify a last-minute cancellation.
- It’s possible that Apple just decided to snub the top gadget blogs because Apple may have been worried that they would be most likely to give the iPad a less-than-stellar review. Gadget blogs may have criticised Apple for not supporting Flash, or for something else that mainstream buyers wouldn’t have a big problem with. But that hasn’t stopped Apple from giving Gizmodo and Engadget early review units in the past, even at the same time as reviewers like the WSJ’s Walt Mossberg or the NYT’s David Pogue.
- It’s possible this photo of Apple CEO Steve Jobs having coffee with Google CEO Eric Schmidt, first published by Gizmodo, led to the snub. Or Lam’s follow-up, analysing their body language. Or other coverage by Gizmodo’s sister site, Gawker. But that doesn’t explain why Apple would shaft Engadget.
So, still a mystery. Any better conspiracy theories?
Update: Gizmodo’s Brian Lam has a great article about who should have been reviewing the iPad instead:
How about getting Martha or Rachel Ray or Momofuku’s David Chang to review it with the Epicurious app? Or Ebert in the context of movie watching? Or Oprah on any of her outlets? Or Adam Savage with the amazing digitized periodic table book or some other sciency tool? Or Brad Pitt, with it loaded up with books on architecture? Or Ashton Kutcher with twitter apps? Conan, who has plenty of time, would be perfect, but so would Letterman or Fallon himself. Or Justin Bieber, who seems to be everywhere for no reason? Or Betty White, to inform the rest of the older folks Mossberg doesn’t influence? Or Jaden Smith, son of Will Smith, who’ll be in the Karate Kid? Any of these folks would find outlets, as Stephen Fry did, for an early iPad. Or least make tons of short, effective media appearances for it. How about sending it to the lady site Jezebel or NY/Media/mainstream site Gawker.com or Kotaku or io9 or Lifehacker for facets of geekdom that aren’t about the hardware. Because the iPad is hardware, sure, but it’s not about the hardware. And I don’t think Apple wants it to be compared to anything in that category. I’d guess, Apple probably doesn’t need hardware writers anymore—just ones that cover apps. (Continue reading at Gizmodo →)
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