Dissecting Apple Link Bait

As the result of a mention on Daring Fireball, I wound up reading a column by Jon Friedman titled “Get that Apple iPhone 5 out of my face.” That was five wasted minutes I will never get back again. The article amounts to a worthless piece of link bait. Here’s why:

Mr. Friedman says: “I am proud to say that I won’t rush out to get an iPhone 5.”

First off, note the not-so-subtle subtlety here: Mr. Friedman doesn’t say he won’t buy a new iPhone eventually. It’s just that he won’t rush out to get one. Maybe he will buy one a few weeks after the announcement. But rather than clearly say that, he phrases it in a more “controversial” manner, designed to make it sound as if he’s fed up with Apple.

Regardless, I’m glad for him and his decision. But where is the news is in this proclamation? “Wait and see” is good general advice for all buyers of any technological device, not something to be linked to a gripe about Apple. Unless you absolutely need a new iPhone in a hurry, or know you want the latest from Apple regardless of what it is, you’re almost always better off waiting until the dust has settled and you can be reasonably certain you won’t regret your decision.

Further, I don’t see why this is a source of pride for Mr. Friedman. It takes no skill, talent or wisdom to not buy an iPhone. Anyone can do it.

Mr. Friedman says: “I don’t want to hear about the presumably superior way I’ll be able to take and store photos and all the rest.” Yet, in the next breath, he adds: “Apple makes useful, shiny products that are more crucial to my existence than clean air or water. No argument here.”

Huh? Give his obviously favorable history with Apple products, why would he not want to at least check out the new iPhone? This makes no sense. If he is unimpressed with the new device, he shouldn’t buy it. It’s not as if Apple forces anyone to sign a contract for an iPhone before they can touch one. And, on the chance that the new iPhone turns out to be a truly revolutionary product, what’s the advantage to sticking your fingers in your ears and failing to find out the news?

Mr. Friedman says: “Fool me once, shame on you — fool me twice, shame on me. I already feel like I got taken by this company. I’m talking about my unsatisfying experience with the much-hyped Apple 4S model.”

“Taken buy this company?” What in the world is Mr. Friedman talking about? He bought a perfectly good iPhone 4S to replace an apparently broken one. Why is that foolish? As far as the reader can tell, his iPhone 4S has worked as advertised. The only feature that Mr. Friedman mentions as at all “unsatisfying” is that Siri did not live up to his expectations. That’s it. That’s the entire basis for his tirade of a column.

Give me a break. Very few people have been completely satisfied with Siri. That’s true. It’s also not news. At the same time, many people have been charmed by Siri and use it regularly. In either case, problems with Siri don’t make you a fool for having bought an iPhone 4S. I have not met one person who would agree with this assessment.

Bottom Line

Mr. Friedman has decided not to rush out and buy an iPhone 5. Personally, I don’t really care one way or the other what Mr. Friedman chooses to buy — unless there’s an interesting story behind his decision. There isn’t. There is virtually no useful information to be gleaned from his column.

Instead, we have an article lacking in logic that offers general and unsubstantiated condemnations of all Apple iPhones, the company’s marketing policies and anyone who is “foolish” enough to buy a new iPhone.

But offering useful information is not the goal of this article. Its main purpose is, via its provocative headline, to attract hits. This is a common practice these days. Given the high interest in Apple and its products, a controversial headline with Apple in its title is almost certain to attract more than the usual amount of attention. Unfortunately, if you follow all of the links to such articles, you’ll wind up reading a good deal of garbage.

That’s why I typically don’t write about such stuff. Why give these articles more attention than they deserve? Still, every once in a while, I feel it’s worth pointing out an especially blatant instance of this trend. That was my intent here. If anyone is being fooled, it’s not Mr. Friedman. It’s the people who mistakenly take the time to read his column.

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One Response to Dissecting Apple Link Bait

  1. Maria says:

    I detest articles like the one you refer to. It’s bullshit filler crap, likely written to meet a deadline or generate hits. Anything to earn a buck. People who write crap like that should be ashamed of themselves — or maybe they write it because they can’t get paid to write anything worth reading.

    (I know. Tell you how I REALLY feel.)

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