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Economy

On The Relevance Of 'Consumer Reports'; Or, The Magazine That Made Apple Jump

Apple CEO Steve Jobs speaks during a press conference on iPhone 4 reception problems. David Paul Morris/Getty Images North America hide caption

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David Paul Morris/Getty Images North America

Regular readers will remember my anger at Apple's unwillingness to provide real-time audio or video of its news conference last week.

If you're going to invite a host of reporters to your headquarters to explain yourself and your product's problems, why wouldn't you want to provide them — and your customers — with an unfiltered, unassailable record of what you said?

For the record, the company continues to make no mention of the event on the "Press Info" portion of its website, and no one from Apple's media relations department returned my phone calls and email messages.

UPDATE at 9:48 a.m. ET: A reader points out that Apple has posted an edited video of the event on its website, available as a Quicktime file. I continue to maintain Apple should've made audio and video available to the public live, on Friday, and its media relations department should've responded to my queries.

In his column today, David Carr focuses on the news conference, Steve Jobs, and the role Consumer Reports — "that stolid, old-media tester of everything from flooring to steam mops for the last 74 years" — played in the whole iPhone 4 affair.

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Although technology blogs and magazines had cried foul for several weeks, arguing that the smartphone had a hardware problem, Apple didn't do much until the iPhone 4 lost its "recommended" status in Consumer Reports.

"It was a big week for Consumer Reports and a reminder that media that is unsupported by advertising can often have an impact that more traditional publishing, or even the most tech-savvy, enterprises don't," he writes. "With 3.9 million subscribers to its magazine and 3.3 million paid subscribers to its Web site, Consumer Reports has a combined paid circulation of 7.2 million, up 33 percent since 2004."