If you love or hate Apple, you have to read this New York Magazine feature wondering whether or not the iPhone is set to be a success or a case of "imperial overreach". It's not nice, and I felt a little bad reading it.
John Heilemann, associated with Wired , formerly of The New Yorker and The Economist, is the heavyweight writer. His piece is headlined as a critical and dramatic takedown, leading with a mean poke at Dear Leader's age. But unlike the majority of polarized opinion pieces on the iPhone, it is dense with fresh quotes from insiders and executives that must have been fed truth serum before interviewing.
It's likely the deepest unofficial magazine piece you'll find on the iPhone and Apple. And with that might come mis perception, if not subtle fanboy bitterness at being denied official access, but also, 3rd party side of the story you wouldn't find in a Time or Newsweek kiss up piece.
...the most common descriptor applied to him, by friends and foes and even Jobs himself, is "asshole". (Running neck-and-neck for second are "genius" and "sociopath".)
Heilemann knowingly gives the iPhone's critics voice (Ballmer is quoted as criticising the price; and Sky Dayton of course prefers his less slick, but more functional Helio Ocean.) Then, Heilemann piles himself in as one of the critics, quoting his older pieces critical of Apple filled with failed predictions. And it's all hedged to powerful effect; for example the author admits he was wrong to underestimate Jobs in past articles.
Not everything is right. He's written in our Jesus Phone nomenclature, but misses the Court Jester's implicit joke. He also blows up the subtext in the All Things D Gates and Jobs Interviews, when it wasn't the overriding feeling on stage. And he plays into the incorrect myth of Woz working in his parent's garage to make Apple computers. (It was his bedroom, as Woz points out in his book.)
He finishes with a wink and nod to the man:
No one else in history has pulled of this kind of coup, as Jobs has, with four different products. The Apple II. The Mac. The iPod. The computer-animated feature film. Betting against a track record like that would be a dangerous wager. Especially when you know, deep down, that you want an iPhone. Bad.
However, John falls just short of telling us what he thinks of the iPhone, neglecting his own feelings on the matter. John, if you're reading this you have to tell me: Do you want an iPhone? I'd bet you do, judging from the tail end of that quote, and no matter what the headline of your piece says. And if that's the case, isn't that worth writing into your story that even a hardened vet journo such as yourself, who has a history of looking extremely critical of Apple, feels the allure of the magic handset?
Steve Jobs in a Box [New York Magazine]