A SIGN of how morally bereft the IT industry trade press is in the US appeared yesterday when Steve Jobs turned up to peddle a new range of MP3 players with video cameras on them.
I said yesterday that it was unlikely that Steve would show, given my prediction that there wouldn't be any real news at the event and a decided shortage of product.
However the fact Steve attended made the event news.
He showed up, and received a standing ovation from the assembled hacks. Let's be clear about this. Real hacks do not do standing ovations for anyone, even if they are living saints. They certainly do not do them for officers of tech companies.
Making an MP3 player or a nice looking computer does not make you anything more than the head of a company, and once the press starts applauding CEOs it is time that the hacks just stand aside and let the press offices of tech companies put advertising copy straight onto the page, labeled as "news coverage".
There were stories at this event. Jobs was even thinner than he was when journalists started to question his health. He could only manage to stay on stage for 15 minutes.
The video transcripts show a Jobs whose voice is a lot softer than ever before and who probably should not be at work. However there he was affirming that he was in charge again at Apple. The shareholders could relax and the media could concentrate on Apple's latest gizmos.
So was there a product story at this event? Jobs unveiled a new version of Apple's Ipod Nano, which now includes a video camera, an FM radio, a pedometer, and a microphone and speaker.
"You can watch your video on the Nano or sync it back to your computer. With one click you can send it to YouTube," he said.
The new Ipod Nano is available in an 8GB model for $199 and a 16GB model for $249, and comes in silver, black, purple, blue, green, orange, yellow, red and pink.
Jobs also talked about Itunes 9, the latest version of its online music store, and the availability of ringtones for the Iphone.
He said Itunes 9 would include a feature called 'Genius', which finds other songs for a user based on their music selections. "It's like a great DJ or a great radio station," he said to the applauding hacks.
Questions about whether or not Apple's new range of video Nanos will contain the same parts that have been found not to work were never asked. Neither were questions about the action Jobs' Mob had taken to resolve the outfit's reliability problems. It was all just mindless clapping and standing ovations. µ
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