The Man and the Machine, On a Cover Near You

With today being Official iPad Review Day, might as well take a moment to see how the newsweeklies are positioning themselves to bask in the reflected glow emanating from Cupertino. Courtesy of this morning’s “Playbook,” here’s the cover of the new Time (apologies for the watermark, incurred in the course of using a free-on-the-Web format converter):

If that’s a celebration of inventor-as-hero, Newsweek’s current cover is all about the Holy Tablet itself:

Don’t be fooled into thinking you’ve got to choose between the man and the machine, though. Past issues have shown it’s entirely possible to mythologize Jobs and turn your cover into a billboard simultaneously. To take just one of the available examples, here’s Newsweek in July 2004:

Fifteen months later, the next iteration of the iPod was front-page material for Time:

It may be unfair to pick on the newsweeklies when they’re down: as many people have pointed out (see, e.g., Jack Shafer), the media crush on Apple is widespread, with The New York Times typically offering the most obsessive coverage among major newspapers. And there’s clearly reader interest in the iPad. But these latest covers stand out as among the most visual, and visible, examples of press infatuation with what is—whatever its merits—a commercial product, and one that seems likely to be a luxury device at that.

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Greg Marx is an associate editor at CJR. Follow him on Twitter @gregamarx.