This man built a career analyzing Apple, and he’s not happy about the iPhone X rollout

An iPhone X ad in Beijing, China.
Image: LightRocket via Getty Images

Even before John Gruber started his one-man Apple-centric media operation, Daring Fireball, he knew he wanted to “be opinionated.”

Those opinions are often reserved for Apple items and other consumer technology topics, so it’d make sense for devotees of his site to expect even more in that vein during the lead-up to the release of the iPhone X, arguably the most-anticipated iPhone since the original. But Gruber’s dedicated the last few days of his site not to his opinion on the iPhone X or the iPhone’s evolution, but to bashing Apple’s rollout. 

Though many traditional reviewers (including Gruber) now seem to have their hands on an iPhone X (and at least one seems to have been among the very first), it appears Apple only allowed them to to behold the X after some folks on YouTube had ample time to review it first. 

Gruber does not like this, and he’s taken to posting snippet rants about several of the videos on his site

Gruber: “Thank god Apple seeded these insightful critics with a review unit.”

Gruber: “Thank god Apple seeded Fashion with a review unit.”

Then he cuts a bit out of an X review by Axios’s Mike Allen, who he then proceeds to bash:

“Thank god Apple seeded Mike Allen with an iPhone X review unit. Such great insight from his fucking nephew, the emoji expert.”

Alrighty then. 

Gruber didn’t respond to a request for comment at the time of this little article here, and, while I’m sure some folks won’t loveeee his “fucking nephew” bit, it does make sense that he’s a bit mad. When you make your livelihood being at the center of the Apple conversation and the company prevents some your ability to do that, it’s gotta sting. 

Such, of course, is the nature of being beholden to the Apple machine. 

For the X, Apple has gone a different rollout route than the traditional “release to the pillars of the tech review industry and go from there.” 

The YouTube reviews don’t seem to be for your average Apple obsessive, but more for your average phone user, the kind of person who’s going to be more into what emojis they get to use than the technical details of the device. They’ve popped up on channels such as Mark Watson’s Soldier Knows Best and Booredatwork.com (below).

Apple also evidently asked Variety to review the X, which lines up with what appears to be their strategy.

The company hasn’t responded to a request for comment either, but I don’t think it’s a stretch to say this is by design. This is Apple, and it’s pretty clear the selected these YouTubers for their everyday appeal. 

Plus, if the company is trying to capture some fresh lightning with all the X intrigue, they’re going to have to widen their fanbase, no? 

As Recode wrote on Monday, “Apple needs to re-accelerate its momentum. Some of its status as a design innovator is at stake. It could really use a massive hit.”

We’ll soon find out if it worked, even if it annoyed some John Grubers of the world. 

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