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Apple Limits Extended iPhone X Testing for Most Reviewers

Tripp Mickle, writing for The Wall Street Journal:

Apple Inc. departed from its traditional preview strategy for what it bills as its most important new iPhone in years, prioritizing early access to the iPhone X for YouTube personalities and celebrities over most technology columnists who traditionally review its new products.

Apple provided the iPhone X to a small number of traditional testers for about a week, while limiting most others, The Wall Street Journal included, to a single day with the device before reviews could be published. About a half-dozen personalities on Alphabet Inc.’s YouTube video service were granted time with the device before its release.

The company seeded the iPhone X to at least three influencers with different audiences: actor Mindy Kaling, who shared her thoughts with Glamour; 12-year-old developer Alex Knoll, who showed off the device on Ellen DeGeneres’s television show; and political journalist Mike Allen, who included insights from his tech-savvy nephew in Axios’s morning newsletter.

Traditional publications and tech outlets that in past years received review models for a week of testing were given the iPhone X fewer than 24 hours ago, resulting in crash reviews and first-impression takes from USA Today, the Washington Post, the Verge and others.

In the U.S., BuzzFeed, TechCrunch and Mashable were given a week with the iPhone X, as were the Telegraph and the Independent in the United Kingdom. The device also was given for a week to outlets in Japan, China, Australia and other countries. Stephen Levy of Wired, among the handful of people to test the first-ever iPhone, spent a week with the iPhone X and posted his “first look” impressions a day before most other publications.

I totally get including a bunch of YouTubers, and seeding review units to celebrities. YouTube is how young people get their news and reviews, and Apple definitely wants to reach young people. But I don’t get restricting real reviews to just three publications in the U.S. Leave me out of it, personally, just for the sake of argument here.

This is the most anticipated new device from Apple at least since the original iPad. People want to know about it. People are craving in-depth reviews. This is just unsatisfying.

(A thought that crossed my mind this week: What would Apple have done if Walt Mossberg hadn’t retired earlier this year?)

Tuesday, 31 October 2017