Sulzberger

Enter Steve Jobs, with top hat and iPad

February 5, 2010: 10:53 AM ET

Apple's CEO flies to New York City to work his magic on the media elite

Photo: Apple Inc. Cheesy Photoshop job: Philip Elmer-DeWitt

The tech blogs were abuzz this week with sightings of Steve Jobs in Manhattan -- in the newsroom of the New York Times (NYT), on the third floor of the News Corp. (NWS) tower and in an Asian fusion restaurant wearing, according to New York magazine, "a very funny hat — a big top hat kind of thing" and ordering food, Hollywood mogul style, off-menu.

[UPDATE: On Friday morning he showed up at the Time & Life Building to demonstrate his new tablet computer to Time Inc. (TWX) CEO Ann Moore and a roomful of magazine editors.]

Jobs is not the first Apple (AAPL) executive to pitch the iPad on Publisher's Row -- indeed, leaks from loose-lipped media tycoons helped build buzz for the device in the weeks before its unveiling.

But the fact that Jobs himself flew to New York a week later -- and that the top executives of America's leading national newspapers and magazines turned out to meet him -- may be taken as a sign of how badly both sides need each other.

Although the 140,000 or so iPhone apps -- including 22,000 games -- that will run day one on the iPad give it a huge advanage over all the tablet computers that preceded it, Apple needs media partners if its new device is to achieve anything like the iPod's or the iPhone's mass-market appeal.

As for those media partners, each is in a different boat, each sinking slowly in its own special way.

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