Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Apple iPhone: how to create hype 101 PDF Print E-mail

Ya yah... I've been posting too much news these days...

By Stan Beer
Monday, 27 November 2006
The buzz that is starting to build around one of Apple's most anticipated pieces of vaporware resembles the atmosphere at a rock concert before the big act appears. It is now at the stage where if Apple doesn't unveil an iPhone on or before MacWorld Expo 2007 next January, fans will tear the house down. Microsoft's Zune marketing team must be shaking their heads in wonder.
Apple has spent exactly nothing on promoting or pre-marketing a product that the company has never acknowledged but somehow everyone knows is on the verge being announced. There have been leaks from unnamed sources of course.

There was the tale of an order being placed for 12 million iPhones to be made by Taiwanese iPod manufacturer Foxconn. There were reports of registration of the iPhone name by Apple (which doesn't prove anything really). However, in stark contrast to the controlled drip-fed deliberate leaks that Microsoft is famous for, Apple has maintained an almost perfect veil of secrecy. The effect on the market has been stunning.

By the time the Zune player was finally unveiled, practically everybody knew what it looked like, how it would work and what would be its key features. Microsoft must have spent a fortune on the pre-launch publicity. The release itself was practically an anti-climax, as has been the subsequent reception by the market.

One could argue that Microsoft was nothing in the music player business so the company needed to throw big bucks at getting the Zune name into the market. However, one could also justifiably say that Apple is nothing in the mobile phones business. When one thinks of mobile phones, one thinks of Nokia or Motorola but certainly not Apple.

Yet, such is the power of Apple's image making wizardry that somehow consumers believe that the company will be able to do what no other company has managed to do thus far. They believe that Apple will be able to successfully combine the best features of an iPod music player with a stylish and workable mobile phone.

Somehow Apple has managed to convince the public of this without spending one cent on overt marketing and even admitting that it is going into the cellphone business. That in itself could be the subject of a market post-graduate thesis.

For Apple, the stakes are enormous. Some analysts have postulated that releasing an iPhone may simply cannibalize Apple's existing iPod business. However, if Apple can break into the mobile phones business, it could greatly increase the market reach of iPod.

The way mobile phones are bought through carriers for nothing up front, later to be discarded for a newer model, could well increase the turnover rate of iPods as well as putting them into the hands of cellphone users who would otherwise never have considered an iPod.

A word of caution, however, to those who may be bedazzled by the Apple mystique or blinded by the notion that Apple can do no wrong. Apple and Steve Jobs have got it wrong before - as those who remember the Newton and Lisa well know.

However, the latest incarnation of Jobs and co has not had a misstep in recent years. The world is waiting to see if the iPhone is the latest in a string of triumphs or proof that Apple has just been experiencing a long summer.


Azmeeta said...

wow!!! Is it me who have not been visiting ur blog or is it u who have been posting a lot.....???

Really, ur blog looks sooo....managed and informative.