Side Note

Which Condé Nast brands does Apple allegedly want to buy?

Buried in a story from The Guardian this Sunday, about Apple’s sudden and urgent drive to get involved in media, was a tidbit about its potentially burgeoning relationship with the media brand Condé Nast, which owns publications including The New Yorker and Vanity Fair

Rumors have even circulated that Apple is looking to buy parts or all of the troubled magazine publisher Condé Nast, a move that would further its push, initiated with the Apple Watch, to become a luxury fashion accessory, lifestyle and content brand.

While Apple has pulled back on the Watch as a general-purpose lifestyle device—presentations last year focused much more narrowly on its applications for health—the company is still trying to regain the cultural purchase it once had during the heyday of iTunes. Apple Music, Apple News, and the new Podcast app have all been horrendous flops. God, remember Ping? Apple seems to be realizing that for every iTunes, there needs to be a Bono. 

If Apple becomes a publisher, maybe it will finally be cool again.

Condé Nast, which has recently experienced significant layoffs amid hail-Mary experiments like a paywall for its tech publication Wired, could use a savior. Funding in media is a chronically unsolved problem and Apple has the literal largest cash pile in all the world. The question is, which of Condé’s brands might best fit, and/or can Condé secure a future even for its publications that might not seem terribly “Apple”? Vogue, The New Yorker, and GQ definitely aren’t going anywhere; for Golf Digest and Brides, it’s harder to say. 

Apple has been a longtime advertiser in Condé publications; The New Yorker back cover was an Apple ad for what seemed like years. This could work out, at least until Apple hits a wall or gets bored of exchanging money for vague “cultural capital” like all rich entities eventually do. 

We've reached out to Apple PR, and will update this post in the extremely unlikely event that they respond.

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