The iPhone Effect

Last week I talked about Apple. As you probably know, they announced the iPhone this week. I want to look at this topic in two ways – both which affect media and journalism.

  1. Mobile Web and Local Search
    The mobile web will not just change how we get information, it will change the way we interact with the world, and with each other. A product like the iPhone links some crucial pieces together:

    • Being able to communicate with anyone in multiple forms (phone, email, text, blogs, forums, etc.),
    • Easily find and capture information from the web, including local search.
    • Portable data (your music, calendar, contacts, documents, etc.)

    While other devices do this already, the iPhone is another step towards better integrating these features into a single product – and better integrating them into your life.

    In some ways, the concept of "home" is changing. Home can be in your pocket. How you move about the planet will be in your pocket. How you communicate with and interact with others will be in your pocket. How you find knowledge, will be in your pocket.

    Likewise, for providers of media and information, this will be another huge step, not just in medium, but function. As people grow accustomed to finding information "on the go," based on a task at hand, on a smaller screen, and interacting with other information – that will change the nature of how information is "published" for these purposes. It may be more about integrating news and information into the process flow of someone’s life in deeper ways.

  2. Journalism and Reporting
    The iPhone launch is a great example of where simply telling the facts is no longer sufficient to differentiate yourself in a crowded network of news sources. Within 24 hours of the product announcement, Google News shows almost 5,000 articles on the iPhone.

    Is this particular story an extreme example that is relevant to technology, financial and consumer audiences? Of course. But on a smaller scale, it is no different from other markets, who are now competing with bloggers and news sources that only exist on the web.

    As the Wall Street Journal and TIME each described in the current redesigns, interpreting the news, and make it meaningful to audiences of a particular brand. is a key way to differentiate.

    This same discussion point comes up again and again when discussing how newspapers will re-engage their readers. When local papers spend a lot of money and effort reporting on world events – are they adding anything new to the conversation, or telling their readers anything they didn’t already know? What do they add to their readers lives that cannot be found anywhere else?

    If the Apple example is any measurement – it is now 3 days after the announcement and there are 8,300 articles about it on Google News. And the product doesn’t launch for another 6 months.