Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Why Apple’s ‘unveiling’ of the new iPhone wasn’t a clever marketing ploy

A couple of weeks ago an Apple employee left a prototype iPhone in a New York bar. The phone was discovered by an as of yet unnamed individual who, upon realising what they’d found, sold the phone onto, who subsequently dissected it, confirmed it’s legitimacy, and took the story to press.

Gizmodo blogged about everything from the design of the outer shell to the apparent new processing power found within the prototype iPhone. Their verdict was unanimously positive, leaving an apparently red faced apple with a glowing report of their newest tech.

With gadget blogs all over the net reposting the story, sceptics started questioning the legitimacy of the ‘accident’ that led to Gizmodo getting hold of apple’s secret iPhone. Apple refused to release any definitive statement on the blunder and rumours started flying that it had all been part of a pre scripted marketing ploy.

As seemingly positive as this has all been for Apple there are fundamental reasons as to why this definitely wasn’t a clever marketing move and why it’s unlikely to ever happen again.

1) Apple’s current marketing strategy has taken years to refine and is the envy of most, if not all of their competitors. When Apple held a keynote to announce the iPad earlier this year, rumour had already been circulating of a tablet like device that would revolutionise the way we view digital media. With absolutely no word from Apple pre unveiling, the hype built and built culminating in the event itself making international news. The fallout from the keynote led to the selling of 1 million units in the U.S. alone.

2) Even if Apple were developing a new marketing strategy it’s unlikely they would choose a new iPhone as the flagship product. The existing iPhone has been a phenomenal success for apple, selling well in excess of 30 million units. Consider that most of those sales are to contract customers who will inevitably consider a new iPhone as a replacement for their current phone, and you have a product that does not necessitate this style of promotion.

3) And finally, Apple remotely wiped the product after they realised it was missing leaving Gizmodo with an essentially useless prototype. Althugh Gizmodo’s article was a candid review of the product, it was essentially built on speculation.

It will be interesting how Apple handle the promotion of the new iPhone from here on in. With a guestimated release date of later on in the year, all eyes will be on Apple over the next few months. Doubtless they will carry on with their secretive approach until the day the product is officially launched but for the time being gadget lovers all over the world are left to enjoy a once in a lifetime opportunity to salivate over a new Apple product before the unveiling.

By Rory Muldoon