Media Moves

Why the iPhone wasn't a cover story

January 19, 2007

The Valleywag blog, which tracks all things Silicon Valley, has some interesting theories as to why Apple’s introduction of the iPhone failed to make any magazine covers — business or general interest — this week.

The iPhone, not on a coverValleywag reported, “Apple, when it has a sexy new product to show, typically approaches big consumer magazines such as Time, or a business magazines such as Fortune, and this time was no different. The deal is this: the magazine wins access to the product, and Steve Jobs and other Apple executives, and exclusivity; in return, Apple’s chosen one puts Cupertino’s latest sensation on its front cover, and agrees to an embargo even, in some cases, adjusting the publication schedule so that the magazine hits newsstands as Steve Jobs gets up on stage to wow the Macworld fanboys. So what went wrong this time? Five theories, after the jump.

  1. Betsy Morris, the profile writer Fortune first proposed to Katie Cotton in Apple’s press relations department, left for Conde Nast’s new business magazine, Portfolio, in October.
  2. Fortune’s David Kirkpatrick, her replacement on the iPhone assignment, would have been obliged to bring up Apple’s stock option scandal. As the extent of Steve Jobs’ involvement became clear, the gentler questions likely from a consumer magazine may have seemed more attractive.
  3. Time Magazine, the largest of the general interest magazines, was going through its own upheaval just as Apple was gearing up for the Macworld announcement. The magazine, which had traditionally come out at the beginning of the week, moved its on-sale day to Friday — the week before Macworld. Time’s Lev Grossman did get a sneak peek of the iPhone, but only a few days before, we hear, and his piece ran slightly snarky, and inside the magazine. Something went wrong with those negotiations.

Read more theories here.

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