November 1, 2017:YouTube stars had greater role in Apple iPhone X launch

A number of journalists are huffing and puffing this week, after it emerged that Apple cut back advance access to its new iPhone X for technology writers, while giving handsets to a handful of YouTube stars.

“Apple provided the iPhone X to a small number of traditional testers for about a week, while limiting most others, The Wall Street Journal included, to a single day with the device before reviews could be published,” reported the Wall Street Journal. “About a half-dozen personalities on Alphabet Inc.’s YouTube video service were granted time with the device before its release.”

Jackdaw Research analyst Jan Dawson is quoted as saying “It’s possible Apple wanted some reviews out early and those would be the more enthusiastic ones”.

Really? Apple has always carefully controlled who gets advance access to its new devices – the only change here is that online ‘influencers’ are in amongst the newspaper journalists and top-tier tech blogs, which seems less like a push for positivity, and more like a recognition of the changing media landscape.

As much as journalists chafe at the idea – partly fuelled by the knowledge that influencers *can* be paid for positive coverage, albeit with tightening rules on disclosing that – YouTubers are their peers in 2017 when it comes to PR priorities in many industries.

Stuart Dredge
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