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The Great iPhone Debate

Here at Unstrung world headquarters, we've been having a lively debate, including our colleagues at Light Reading, about how to cover today's announcement of the iPhone from Apple.

On the one side are those who think that this is too big a deal to ignore – that the breathless anticipation and fevered speculation in the blogosphere, the success of the iPod, and the reliability of market-defining innovation from Apple all add up to a major story for us. On the other side are those who, basically, say "So what?"

The so-whatters point to the very crush of information and pre-announcement chatter about the new device, asserting that there is little we can add to the scrum around Steve Jobs' Macworld presentation and that devoting a lot of energy to this one product release is engaging in me-too journalism of the sort that Unstrung and Light Reading are known for avoiding.

Plus, one editor said in an email, "My prediction is they start breaking after three weeks of use."

In many ways this discussion epitomizes the sort of choices we make every day in covering telecommunications and the wireless industry: Should we follow the pack, and write about what everyone else is covering, at the risk of adding little fresh or original? Or should we go our own way, blaze new reporting trails, and produce the kind of journalism you can't find elsewhere – while running the risk of not being part of the larger debates roiling the industry and occupying our readers' minds?

This question is particularly pertinent in a "resource-constrained environment" – i.e., when you have essentially two editor/reporters to cover an industry replete with multi-billion dollar companies.

In general, we err on the side of originality, while trying not to completely lose sight of the major breaking news of the day. We figure that our readers suffer from information overload, and they already have plenty of straightforward news coverage, so we provide insider information, predictive analysis, and unexpected insights not available elsewhere in the tech press. At the same time, through our news stories and our News Feed, you can rely on Unstrung to relay the big stories that everyone else has as well.

In the case of Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL), I'm steering a middle course. We'll have a standard news story with some tidbits not found elsewhere in the avalanche of iPhone coverage; I'll also have a blog later in the day with a, shall we say, unique point of view; and we'll have some follow-up coverage in the coming days that will extend and deepen your understanding of how the inventive folks at Apple hope to mount an assault on the cellphone business.

What do you think? Should we devote more energy to running with the pack on stories like the iPhone, or should we concentrate on unearthing the rarer nuggets not found elsewhere? Let us know by emailing [email protected] or posting on our homepage message board.

— Richard Martin, Senior Editor, Unstrung

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