At 9 p.m. Eastern on the nose today you're going to see reviews for the iPhone 5 hit a few select blogs and newspapers.
Because that's when reviewers made agreements with Apple to hold publication in exchange for early access to the iPhone 5. (That's assuming USA Today's in-print goof from this morning is correct. I thought the reviews would go up Wednesday at 9 p.m.)
Is Apple alone in this practice? Nope. Tech companies give reporters early access to devices all the time as long as they agree not to write about it until a prearranged date and time. For example, I had the Kindle Fire HD for five days before I was able to write my review on it, per my agreement with Amazon. I've had similar agreements in the past with a bunch of other top tech companies like Samsung, Motorola, Nokia, HTC, etc.
But u nlike most tech companies, Apple is insanely selective with who it lets review its products ahead of time, so you won't see writeups on the iPhone 5 in a majority of publications tonight. Instead of letting all major publications get a chance to review its stuff, Apple has a handful of journalists with a history of saying positive things about the company that it gives early access to. That means David Pogue, Walt Mossberg, John Gruber, Jim Dalrymple, and the like.
Am I saying product review press embargoes are bad? I don't think so. In fact, in some cases, I think it's better for readers because reviewers are forced to spend a good amount of time testing a device before writing about it. That gives the audience a much better idea what it's like using a product.
But it is important to know how these things to work behind the scenes. And it is important to know that tonight's reviews come from Apple's cherry-picked group of journalists who are more likely to give the iPhone 5 a positive review.
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