Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Hey Look, Everybody: There’s Drama on the Internet

This morning, HP launched their Spectre One iMac-knockoff, and both Engadget and The Verge covered it. However, neither of those two stories mentioned “iMac”, or noted the obvious similarity, as Harry Marks noticed:

It’s a bit odd when something so obvious isn’t even mentioned in passing. I don’t believe it would be “trollish” to state that the Spectre One is, at the very least, influenced by Apple’s iMac all-in-one.

Marco Arment agreed with Marks, and speculated as to the reason why it wasn’t published by either Engadget or The Verge:

Big “gadget” blogs depend on maintaining very friendly relationships with the companies whose products they cover so they can continue to get exclusives, interviews, press badges to events, and early access to products. Maintaining these relationships while retaining credibility isn’t always an easy choice for many sites, and many choose poorly.

John Gruber chose to speculate differently:

My theory is that it’s not about access; it’s about not pissing off the vocal anti-Apple contingent of their readerships.

Well, Joshua Topolsky (editor-in-chief of The Verge, formerly of Engadget) didn’t take too kindly to those implications:

To be crystal clear, they are suggesting that we are covering products which look like an Apple product, but avoid mentioning that they look like an Apple product on purpose. They’re suggesting we have ulterior and possibly nefarious motives. […]

Do we write posts about products that look like Apple products and sometimes not mention it? Yes. Is it by some kind of design or a part of a conspiracy? No. The truth is, after a while (years and years now), you just begin to focus on other things, and save that stuff for the review. Obviously people rip off Apple. It is not news.

Arment calls this a straw man argument. I don’t think that’s the case. I think this is closer to Hanlon’s razor, if anything:

Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.

Replace “stupidity” with “forgetfulness”, and I think that adequately covers the lack of an iMac reference.

If either publication neglects to mention it in the final review, I think it’s a different story. But, for now, both pieces of coverage played it straight.