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Apple Watch: Apple watching

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At the risk of a tedious retread (at least for me), I once again feel the need to defend this blog.

Yes, it's a blog. Not articles. I am not a Herald journalist. I do not have an extensive suite of test facilities. Actually, I work from home. I am also not a tech journalist with wide experience of different computer platforms. I know people want articles and comparisons, but there are loads of entities doing just that. They're easy to find and many are excellent.

In fact, the only PC I have ever used is the one in the library for finding books. It's not a pleasant experience. It would be ridiculous for me to even attempt to compare Windows to Mac OS X, or a PC to a Mac, or a Galaxy Nexus (or whatever it might be called) to an iPhone. I don't have the experience, the facilities or, frankly, any real interest.

I am an Apple specialist writer. I know a fair bit about Apple. I know a fair bit about Apple products, hardware and software. I first learnt my skills working as a desktop publisher, having come from the prepress industry. I desktop-published magazines in the late 1980s and through the 1990s, and I kept up those skills because, gee, surprise, I loved Apple stuff from the first time I used it.

More accurately, I loved that it enabled all sorts of endeavours in people that they would have found those endeavours difficult with other equipment.

Nowadays I present about Apple: one-to-one, to small groups, or groups up to 50, to interest groups, to corporate, university and education staff, publishers, galleries ... you name it, I'm game, from introductory to demystification, and productivity up to whizz-bang tips and tricks for experienced users, for Mac and iPhone/iPad. I'm not trying to drum up work here, but to explain where I come from and what I do - and perhaps more importantly, to explain how I keep my skills up.

I used to edit a tech magazine. The title was NZ Macguide magazine. Guess what that was about? It ran for five years between 2002 and 2007. Then the publisher closed it. At that point, despite a very respectable 26,000 audited readers, Apple's share of the NZ PC market was under 3 per cent. Shortly after Macguide was closed, the iPhone came out, then the iPad ... now the Apple share of NZ's PC market is around, or just below (hard to tell) 12 per cent, and there are additional thousands of people using iPhones and iPads nowadays as welll. Go figure.

As for why the Herald asked me to write Apple Watch (which started out as Mac Planet), all I know is this: I was asked to do it for a six week trial. Since then I have written 449 (including this one). So obviously, the Herald online gets something it likes from hosting Apple Watch.

I hear people say things like 'How does Apple get away with advertorial like Apple Watch?'

It's easy to answer. Apple doesn't.

The Free Dictionary defines advertorial as "An advertisement promoting the interests or opinions of a corporate sponsor, often presented in such a way as to resemble an editorial."

Apple Watch is not advertorial because:

1: I am not paid by Apple to write the things I write. I never have been, back when I was writing articles in Tone magazine about Apple, then as editor of Macguide, and never for the articles I penned for PC World, Netguide, the Dominion Post or MacTheMag in Australia (and no, I do not receive free Apple hardware). I was paid (or not) by those publications, of course, for articles I wrote.

2: It is clear this is my opinion.

3: Apple does not sponsor me, or Apple Watch.

4: As far as I know, the NZ Herald is not paid by Apple. If Apple did pay the Herald to get me to do this, I imagine I would have been discouraged from writing critical things about Apple's real or possible direction, Apple's ecological reputation, about Apple's production and labour issues, and when I am 'making up' (because that's the best way to describe it) things about what Apple might do next.

So obviously, what I write generally promotes Apple products. Of course - that's what Apple Watch is about: watching what Apple does and commenting on it. I am obviously (I would hope) an Apple enthusiast, and I obviously, so far and still, have a lot of faith in Apple's products. But it is by no means advertorial. I do know what I'm talking about. I do put in the time to learn the products I talk about. I do read screeds of technical articles about Apple products and I do read other opinion pieces by other commentators on the world of Apple hardware and software. I often link to those so you can do the same thing, should you wish.

As far as I'm concerned (and I thought this went for everybody, but clearly not) a blog is an opinion piece, not an 'article'. My Apple Watch blogs certainly are my opinion - not the Herald's.

As far as I can tell, I get mainly two types of readers I can discern. Both are welcome, of course, but they're quite different animals. Firstly, there are the mostly silent fans who just read Apple Watch because they have an interest in Apple, and a certain amount of trust in me, perhaps because they've seen me present, or they know enough to follow what I write, or they used to be fans of Macguide, or they get my free Apple Mac and iOS tips via my mac-nz.com site. Who knows? Some add comments to Apple Watch, and thereby contribute greatly to the corpus of NZ Apple knowledge and debate, and I really appreciate their contributions (that's you, McD, Kiwimac and many others - please keep it up).

The other kind reads Apple Watch because they hate everything about Apple. They also contribute to the debate, often in positive ways. I'm glad, because these readers raise the hits and 'time on page' that Apple Watch gets for the host (NZ Herald), but to be honest I always find this a bit weird. For example, I don't like mussels. To me, it's a combination of fishy rubber and snot. So do I spend my time on shellfish fan-sites telling people that? No, of course I don't. You are welcome to your tastes and appreciation of this mollusc. You can eat as much of it as you want, wear mussel appreciation t-shirts, sing songs about mussels - all fine. You don't need to hear from me about what I don't like about mussels.

But I do get to see everything some of you hate about Apple. I'm not trying to put you off - like I said, it's good for the Herald's hits and sometimes very good points are raised - but understand it? Not at all.

Anyway, I'm looking forward to more. This could, like every other year, be a big year for Apple.

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