Apple names Steve Dowling as interim PR head following Katie Cotton’s retirement

Tim Cook recently visited Palo Alto Apple Store alongside Steve Dowling

Tim Cook recently visited Palo Alto Apple Store alongside Steve Dowling

Re/code reports today that Apple has chosen longtime Apple PR deputy Steve Dowling to lead Apple’s public relations efforts as interim PR chief. The report notes that Dowling’s role as head of Apple PR is not yet permanent as Apple continues to look for candidates outside of the company.

Sources close to Apple tell Code/red that Dowling was tapped as interim head of public relations last week by CEO Tim Cook. [...] Dowling’s appointment has been framed to employees as an interim one and I’m told Apple will continue to evaluate worthy outside candidates if one should pop up. That said, the fact that Cook has officially put Dowling at the top of Apple’s PR organization suggests he could remain there.

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Founder Anand Shimpi latest Apple hire from hardware review site AnandTech

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AnandTech founder and EiC Anand Shimpi announced last night via a post on the site that he had decided to retire from technology journalism, but didn’t specify what he’d be doing instead. Today, Re/code reports that Shimpi will be going to Apple, as confirmed by the tech firm’s representative, though his exact role is still unknown.

Earlier this year AnandTech’s Brian Klug also left the site for a role at Apple with a focus on building mobile processors for the company’s iOS lineup. It’s possible and perhaps likely that Shimpi will be taking up a similar role in quality assurance or marketing.

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Seeing Through the Illusion: Understanding Apple’s Mastery of the Media

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Apple CEO Tim Cook with former VP of Worldwide Communications Katie Cotton

“Beautifully, unapologetically plastic.”

“Feature for feature, it’s identical to iPad Air in every way.”

“Just avoid holding it in that way.”

Apple’s public relations (PR) department is probably the best in the world — certainly more impressive at shaping and controlling the discussion of its products than any other technology company. Before customers get their first chance to see or touch a new Apple product, the company has carefully orchestrated almost every one of its public appearances: controlled leaks and advance briefings for favored writers, an invite-only media debut, and a special early review process for a group of pre-screened, known-positive writers. Nothing is left to chance, and in the rare case where Apple doesn’t control the initial message, it remedies that by using proxies to deliver carefully crafted, off-the-record responses.

Except for a few big exceptions, such as the memorably off-pitch quotes above, Apple’s “tell them what to believe” PR strategy has worked incredibly well for years. But it has also created tensions between the company and the people who cover it, as well as within Apple itself. The company’s long-time head of PR, Katie Cotton, left the company earlier this year as CEO Tim Cook openly sought to make a major change in the way Apple interacted with the press and its customers. As the hunt for Cotton’s replacement is still in progress, and the depth of Apple’s commitment to change remains unclear, we look today at the techniques Apple has used to quietly manipulate its coverage over the years.

You can navigate between the chapters, below:

- Part 1) Apple Events and Shredded White Booklets

- Part 2) Introducing the Teams: How PR Is Organized at 3 Infinite Loop

- Part 3) Strategies: The “Art of Deep Background” and Controlling the Press

- Part 4) The Departure of a “Tyrant”

- Part 5) Two Heads In Place Of One

- Part 6) Controversies: From Maps to Beats to Haunted Empires

- Part 7) Product Reviews, Briefings, & Reviewer’s Guides

- Part 8) Steve Jobs and the Process Behind Press Releases

- Part 9) A Friendlier, More Transparent Future?

Two months in the making, this article is the product of over a dozen interviews with journalists, bloggers, and PR professionals, including many who have worked at Apple.

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