Apple Rolls Out iPhone X by Targeting Internet Influencers

November 6, 2017

In a departure from its usual product previewing strategy, Apple allowed a select group of YouTube personalities and celebrity influencers to spend a week testing its new iPhone X.
The participants included 12-year-old app developer Alex Knoll, who unboxed the phone and spoke with Apple CEO Tim Cook via FaceTime for a segment on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” actress Mindy Kaling and video bloggers from the sneaker blog Highsnobiety. Online publications such as BuzzFeed and TechCrunch also got a week-long sneak peak at the phone, which has a base model cost of $999.

Meanwhile, Apple only gave traditional outlets such as USA Today, The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal 24 hours to test the iPhone X before publishing their reviews.

Jan Dawson, an analyst with Jackdaw Research, told The Wall Street Journal this decision to diversify the testers may be part of an effort to cultivate early enthusiasm for the iPhone X, as YouTube reviewers tend to be more positive and less “overly negative” when given early access to devices. The reviewers who received the device for the week praised its full-screen display, facial-recognition system and smaller frame, as the Journal noted.

But it also could signal that Apple, despite highly positive sales forecasts as reported by Fast Company, isn’t totally confident in its new product.

“Unless Apple felt like there would be some bad elements in the reviews, why would you hold back?” said Dawson. “Why would you be selective about who gets it first?”

Variety writer Janko Roettgers sees it differently. "In the end, the move may be less about Apple picking favorable voices, and more about a shift in the power dynamics of media,” he writes. 

According to USA Today, the iPhone X, which went on sale Nov. 3, sold out in 20 big cities during its first weekend, with Apple reporting that delivery times for online orders were at three to four weeks. Dean Essner


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