Tuesday, June 10, 2008

What we can learn from the new iPhone launch

Yesterday, Steve Jobs launched the new version of the iPhone. The move was met with the usual fanfare and hoopla that accompanies such announcements in the world of techies and Apple afficionados. But the move also contained a lesson for those of us in the news business.

Many traditional newspeople take a look at news on the Internet and recoil. They see flash and snark and gossip and... well, not a lot that looks like the journalism they have long revered. And maybe they're right about what they see. The problem, though, is that they're seeing what is here today, not what will be there tomorrow.

Apple launched the next generation iPhone because the first version wasn't good enough. In the tech world, this isn't considered failure. It's business as usual. Every product goes out the door as "v1". Companies then learn from real-world use of their product what works and what's lacking. They go back to the drawing board, tweak, and launch v2. And so on. Internet Explorer, for example, is on v7. So is iTunes. Microsoft Word is at least v11.

The key to having faith in the ability of the Internet to deliver the news we care about lies in having faith that technology evolves. You might not be able to do everything you want to today. But you will be able to tomorrow.

Photo courtesy of chakote. Creative Commons license

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