The fix: some good old tape
Apple and Steve Jobs are not infallible. Things can and do go wrong, and as we all must surely know by now Steve Jobs is not one to step up and lay out the mea culpas. So what made Jobs take to the stage last Friday to defend his latest technological marvel, the iPhone 4? We have heard non-stop from disgruntled customers, tech sites such as Engadget, and the major print media at large, about the iPhone 4 antennae issues, but still Jobs and crew didn't budge.. that is until Consumer Reports entered the fray. Consumer Reports, after very diligently and thoroughly reviewing consumer products, unlike some of the other media out there reporting on the same iPhone 4 antennae issues, simply states the facts in its reports. The review of the iPhone 4 antennae issues, especially this sentence - "Apple needs to come up with a permanent—and free—fix for the antenna problem before we can recommend the iPhone 4" - was apparently the final nail in the coffin for this particular story. Jobs and Apple folded.
The more interesting story to me though is how the 74 year old Consumer Reports magazine continues to hold strong in a fractured media market; apparently it has 3.9 million subscribers to its magazine and 3.3 million paid subscribers to its Web site, and a combined paid circulation of 7.2 million, up 33 percent since 2004 according to David Carr at the New York Times.
It is clearly doing something right. When Headline News is neither headline nor news but is meant to entertain us, we simply stop paying attention. When newspapers and the online tech blogs merely hounded Apple about the antennae issues but didn't bother to dig deeply into what actually caused the issues, they were simply chasing the story to satisfy readers and gain more web site hits.
Consumer Reports did what it does best; it reported the facts. It didn't distort the news. There's a lesson for all content media companies there.