This is very interesting. You can’t have failed to notice that the iPad promotional material on the Apple web site features the New York Times very prominently. If you regularly read the NYT online, you can’t have failed to notice the very favourable coverage of Apple and its iPad.
Where does this leave the readers of the NYT in terms of how far they can trust the NYT news coverage of the USA’s fourth largest public company?
What value has Apple received from the Times’ massive and continuing coverage? Quite a bit, of course — though it’s only fair to note that most other major journalism organizations have given the iPad the kind of fawning attention that makes every other company executive on the planet insanely jealous.
Apple’s business and PR methods aren’t the issue here. No company plays the media better than Apple, period, and this is obviously good business for Jobs and his employees and shareholders.
What matters is the Times’ seeming indifference to the way this looks. Even though I don’t believe there was any quid pro quo, I do believe that someone who doesn’t know the players could reasonably ask if an arrangement did exist.