CNBC tech reporter Jim Goldman blew the biggest story on his beat by insisting his "sources inside the company" said Apple's Steve Jobs was in tip-top shape. Do these sources even exist?
What's wrong with this picture? That silver Mercedes almost certainly the Jobsmobile, iPhone Savior believes — except it's not parked in a handicapped spot. There's one right there, ripe for the parking! Here's a wild theory: Apple PR controller Katie Cotton is so concerned about continuing rumors about Jobs's health that she no longer permits him to take the blue spaces — lest someone think he actually needs one. Can you think of a better caption? Leave it in the comments. The best one will become the post's new headline. Yesterday's winner: null, for "It'd hit me."
Why did Apple shares crater and then rebound this morning? A false report, posted on CNN, that Apple CEO Steve Jobs had a heart attack. Apple PR chief Katie Cotton has denied it. Why that's not as reassuring as it should be: Cotton shredded her credibility on Jobs's health when she tried to spin a serious illness as a "common bug" earlier this year.
In an interview after yesterday's iPod refresh announcement, Apple CEO Steve Jobs admitted that he could "stand to gain 10 or 15 pounds," but told CNBC's Jim Goldman "I'm doing fine, really." Jobs said he blamed what Goldman calls "the rampant speculation and rumors on the blogosphere about the issue," on "hedge funds with a big short position in Apple." Jobs is wrong.
"You think I'm an arrogant [expletive] who thinks he's above the law, and I think you're a slime bucket who gets most of his facts wrong," Apple CEO Steve Jobs told New York Times writer Joe Nocera, in the course of Nocera's reporting on Apple's cult of secrecy. The top subject, of course, is Jobs's health. Jobs insisted on speaking to Nocera off the record, so we cannot know what, exactly, has gone wrong with Jobs's body of late. We do know this much, however, thanks to Nocera: Top Apple flack Katie Cotton, who has long put Jobs's interests above those of Apple shareholders', flat-out lied when she attributed Jobs's gaunt appearance to "a common bug."Apple's secretive ways have paid off for it in turning every product release into a marketing event. But by applying that same Kremlin-like opaqueness to its corporate affairs, Apple has gone astray. "By claiming Mr. Jobs had a bug, Apple wasn't just going dark on its shareholders," Nocera writes. "It was deceiving them." It's one thing for Jobs to lie about Apple's unreleased gadgets — for example, when he publicly dismissed the notion of producing an iPod that played video in 2004, even as Apple was secretly working on one. That kind of maneuver can be put down to competitive misdirection. But to extend it to the health of a public company's CEO? Unseemly. As unseemly, really, as the Apple apologists among us who join Apple PR in repeating the mantra that Jobs's health is a "private matter". Wishing doesn't make it so. With Jobs personally accounting for a quarter of Apple's market cap, it's everyone's concern. Apple's fans have a choice: They can join Jobs himself in insulting award-winning reporters like Nocera, and dismissing the whole affair. Or they can face reality: Steve Jobs let his personal flack lie for him — and they bought it. That must really bug them.
The rumors about Apple CEO Steve Jobs's health are a big concern for shareholders. And one would think Apple's head of PR would actively push to clear the air and fight the rumors with a clear statement. But instead of doing her job properly, Katie Cotton has been actively deceiving the public about the state of her indispensable boss's body.
The new iPhone that has the panties of Apple fans in a bunch? It's already here. The latest shipment arrived in Oakland on May 6, and was then trucked to a distribution center in nearby Fremont. So if you want to get your hands on one before the Wall Street Journal's Walt Mossberg — if it's not already too late — it might be a better idea to make friends with the International Longshore Workers Union than top Apple flack Katie Cotton. (Photo by AP/Paul Sakuma)
Hate to say it, but Jason Calacanis had it right: NYT gadget reviewer David Pogue's "iPhone: The Musical" was a trite, derivative, and boring piece of Apple propaganda. But a group of San Francisco webheads have come up with a pitch-perfect take on the iPhone phenomenon. Behold the glory that is "Dontcha Wish Your Cell Phone Was Hot Like Me?" — and after the jump, my take on why this spoof gets it right while Pogue's flopped.