Gruber: Tech journalism seems to attract enthusiasts with no actual enthusiasm

“Christopher Mims, writing for Quartz, ‘2013 Was a Lost Year for Tech’: ‘2013 was the year smartphones became commodities, just like the PCs they supplanted. Even at the high end, Apple and Samsung’s newest flagship phones weren’t big leaps ahead from previous versions. The most that Apple could think to do with the new, faster processor in the iPhone 5S was animate 3D effects that make some users feel ill and a fingerprint sensor that solved a problem that wasn’t exactly pressing. Apple’s new iOS 7 mobile operating system, which felt ‘more like a Microsoft release,’ crippled many older iPhones and led to complaints of planned obsolescence,” John Gruber writes for Daring Fireball. “What a sad pile of piss-on-everything cynicism.”

“Today we have mobile phones and tablets running on a 64-bit desktop-caliber CPU architecture. Four months ago, we did not. If you’re not excited by the performance of the A7 SoC or, say, the quality of the iPhone 5S camera, why even bother writing about technology?” Gruber writes. “No one could argue that iOS 7 wasn’t a major update, so instead Mims takes to disparaging it. Is iOS 7 an improvement in every single regard? Certainly not. But on the whole, it’s quite good, introduces some well-needed conceptual cohesion, and best of all, it shows that the company is not afraid to boldly move forward from the Steve Jobs era.”

“There’s a nihilistic streak in tech journalism that I just don’t see in other fields. Sports, movies, cars, wristwatches, cameras, food — writers who cover these fields tend to celebrate, to relish, the best their fields have to offer,” Gruber writes. “Technology, on the other hand, seems to attract enthusiasts with no actual enthusiasm.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: We’ve read our fair share of Apple-related articles* and what we’ve found is that, in general, the more negativity the author displays, the less he has to say – which is why we’ve covered Gruber’s excellent rebuttal, but did not bother with Mims’ original pile of horseshit.

And, Mr. Mims, if “2013 was a lost year for tech,” why did you proclaim in September that Apple’s iOS 7 offers users “a ticket to the next generation of the internet,” you hit-whore?

*We’re shooting for understatement of the year here, at this late date.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Dan K.” for the heads up.]


  1. The people who write of devices like the 5s as not being a substantial improvement on the 5 are idiots. The same goes for other manufacturers, but Apple noticeably. If you don’t consider the upgrades the 5s received as innovative or substantial then you can similarly dismiss every single improvement to any mobile since the original iPhone. Every change has been an improvement to the specification of some sort, fast processor, more storage, thinner, lighter, better screen. You sometimes wonder what these people’s perception of time is like since they seem to think that the introduction of the Mac, iPod, iPhone, and iPad happened within a 12 month period.

      1. I’m sure that’s part of it. I’d go further and point to the tsunami of change washing over technology and its followers. This irresistible tide scoured the landscape, rendering it unrecognisable and erasing the property lines that once separated the enclaves of tech experts from the unwashed masses.

        Technophiles once ruled on their bejeweled thrones, prized for their formidable understanding of the arcane arts and their noblesse oblige in dispensing advice to the humble.

        These folks, no longer shamans, have since become commoditised right along with the very devices they were once consulted about, now useable by babies and animals.

        In any walk of life, former experts marginalised by progress cling to the fringes of their declining fraternity, besotted with resentment for a world no longer gracing them with fear and admiration.

        In this walk of life, the masses have claimed the magic wands, and the glory of the pundits has washed out to sea, leaving a layer of silt and a strong smell of defeat.

        1. Very impressive take, Hannah; you really should start blogging on the subject, you make more sense, much more eloquently, than practically any other tech ‘expert’, analyst or blogger currently writing.
          Happy New Year to you. 😊

    1. I too can’t understand those who don’t see how the 5S is a great leap forward.

      As for this asshat of a journalist, I guess that the tidal wave of iPhone thefts is not “pressing problem” that the fingerprint sensor solves.

      1. it’s okay… they will be blown away by the iPhone 6… undoubtedly Apple will show why the 5s (with it’s Touch ID, low light camera flash, and 64-bit) were significant to move on to the TRUE next thing.

  2. A lot of tech pundits are being paid or in kinds to write shitty things
    Apple, be it new iPhones iPads iOS or even market share iOS app
    shares. Just guess which of the few company would do this? Easy
    guess! That’s crooked journalism.

  3. Went to the site. Just a “belch and moan” site with no chance to leave comments. However, if you replace tech blogger for tech in the article you can come close to the truth.

    Bloggers who just ramble and bitch and moan were going big and bitching about everything Apple and moaning how great Android was. No in-depth reporting, just specs, specs, specs and blogging about their favorites.
    Just saying.

  4. The difference is that Mr. Gruber writes in coherent and comprehensive prose. Most writers write from a perspective, either accurate or flawed, and stay within those narrow halls because they can’t think in more than one perspective, uni-directional, self impressively, one dimensional thought of 150 words or less.

  5. What I see, on the whole, from tech journalists is that they can never appreciate what they hold in their hands for the marvel that it is.

    Instead, they always have to say what it doesn’t have. Or cite some spec that another ill-conceived device managed to cram into its innards.

    The whole game is to sound fair to all of the OEMs in the name of not losing advertising dollars from any of them, but all it does is cloud the reviews and make them less useful to buyers.

    The rare tech journalist who can manage to cut through the haze and deliver a thoughtful, focused and helpful review is generally lauded as some sort of fanboy.

    Apple’s silence on this matter, while understandable, does not help. Samsung’s thinly veiled attempts to manipulate the process adds further distrust and contempt for the industry.

    I would liken most tech journalists to politicians . . . Good, bright people who do have a desire to make the world a better place — until it’s time to get and then keep their jobs.

  6. I just read the article and must admit, it is thought-provoking. Granted, it does not pump up Apple, but that would go counter to the theme of the article. It does offer some general insights about how everyone seems to be stumbling in the tech industry. Look beyond your mobile device (commodity that it is) and see what Google, HP, MS, Sammy, Nokia, etc have planned for the future; it makes you wonder where the creative efforts of Silicon Valley are being channeled. The article made me think and was less cynical than what Gruber described.

  7. It’s because many of this so-called “tech journalists” of today grew up bashing Apple in the 1990’s, telling their friends how Apple was doomed and Microsoft was king, and ridiculing Mac users for their Apple loyalty.

    Now, Apple is at the top of the tech world, and they can’t believe how absolutely wrong they were, and how irrelevant Microsoft has become. And they’ll do anything to show that they WERE actually right, because you see, Apple IS still doomed and dead… Right? 😉

    And that’s why they are “enthusiasts with no actual enthusiasm” (when it comes to Apple). They are too embarrassed to ever admit they were WRONG about Apple. The only difference these days is that they got off the Windows horse and now ride Android.

  8. Tech journalism is marketing for the most part paid, directly or indirectly, by companies. The journals which flourished with Microsoft aren’t going to give Apple an easy time. You can add journalism aligned with Google, Samsung, Linux, et. al. who will hate on Apple as well.
    I don’t read those journals and I don’t attempt to convert the fools that read them either.

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