Are you still talking about that?

Information Week’s Brad Kenney asks of Apple’s decision to reveal the iPhone six months in advance: Strategic Misstep, Or Supreme Confidence?

Uh, are those the only choices? (Hint: noooooooo.)

First of all, consider the name. At the time of the Macworld announcement, San Jose-based Cisco Systems owned the exclusive rights to the term iPhone…

Yes, believe it or not, Kenney wants to party like it’s January, 2007!

News flash, dude: Cisco settled! It’s over! Time to live in the now!

By giving such a long (it’s been almost six months and still no iPhone) time lag…

Yeah! Where the hell is that damned phone?!

Oh, wait, that’s right. It’s still May.

…Apple has not only allowed excitement to dim but has also negatively impacted iPod sales in the interim.

Yeah, because now nobody’s talking about the iPhone! Everyone’s into lol cats!

And were you talking about these iPod sales? The sales that were up 24% from last year? Are those the sales you’re talking about?

Huh?

Huh?

Because, you know, not so much.

The brightness of Jobs’ iPhone spotlight inevitably meant that quite a few consumers were left in the dark concerning [the Apple TV].

Which the company had already grandiosely announced back in September at its own special event.

Now, look, Apple could have hacked up the Macworld keynote and spent some time on the Mac and some time on Apple TV and some time on the iPod and some time on the company’s lol cat strategy. But the iPhone is arguably the biggest Apple product announcement in the last twenty-three years and Jobs clearly poured his heart into this thing. Give the man his hour and a half.

In a letdown, however, Kenney then pulls the rug out from under his arguments.

Despite what was widely characterized as bad timing by Jobs, the iPhone’s unique intuitive interface, rich feature set and undeniable cool factor paired with Apple’s pre-loaded customer loyalty means that, so long as Apple’s product developers remain at the top of their game, no amount of marketing missteps can keep this new Apple product from getting eaten up by the market.

Lame.

C’mon, Brad! Don’t string the Macalope along like that and then get all goo-goo eyes for Apple at the end!

Yes, some of the slower analysts have said it was somehow a mistake, but let’s look at what it gained Apple.

  • The iPhone announcement completely stole the thunder from CES.
  • Discussion of the iPhone took some of the heat off Apple over subsequent revelations about the options scandal.
  • The announcement silenced the non-stop speculation about when/if/could the company make a phone.
  • As iPod sales growth as leveled off, the announcement answered the question of where the company expects its growth to come from in the future.

Now, Brad, surely some of this must have occurred to you. Funny you didn’t see fit to mention it.

Comments
  • k2j:

    A couple of other points to add to the Macalope’s list:

    6 months of FREE publicity.

    Time for people to let contracts expire if they need to switch carriers.

  • Nima:

    I think he’s right about excitement diminishing. That’s what happens to tech products when the normal space/time continuum is allowed to function normally. I was talking to one person in particular this morning who had cash in hand ready to buy one the day of Macworld, and today was totally over it and going to wait to see how it works out. I have a similar feeling, except I don’t have $500 on hand to blow on an awesome cell phone.

  • monkyhead:

    Not to mention that whole FCC approval thing. Which would make sense to mention, considering it just happened just today.

  • I’d pay good money to see a Stevenote on Apple’s lol cat strategy.

  • monkyhead:

    iGooGoo™s

  • John Muir:

    “In a letdown, however, Kenney then pulls the rug out from his under garments.”

    Oh no, wait, it’s just me. 😉

  • bob:

    Sometimes I think there’s a whole crop of analysts whose only job is to explain things to people who haven’t paid any attention at all during the last 6 months, and wouldn’t know an Apple product if it bit them on the nose.

  • Se7en:

    My favorite is the whole “Apple gave their competitors time to answer the iPhone with comparable products”…….as if whipping out a competing product is possible in 6 months…if at all. Even Motorola’s Zander boasted of a “brand new video centric” phone last week..that turned out to be the same phone we’ve known about for..why, six months now!.

  • Dai Jones:

    Jesus, these people are twats. Who “widely characterised” the announcement of the iPhone as a mis-step? What’s dominated the tech headlines ever since? What’s apple’s stock price? And why, OH GOD WHY, do Information Week still send me spam emails despite “unsubscribing”? I leave it as a philosophical point whether you can *unsubscribe* without ever, actually and really, *subscribing*. Christ knows how I ended up on their pointless shit spam list, but my rule of thumb is if an organisation sends you spam, it can’t be taken seriously whatever

    D

  • John Kirk:

    I know there are a lot of blogs and a lot of dumb things can be said, but this article is amazing. Just before I flipped to the Macalope, I was thinking about the incredible buzz that the iphone had created. As brilliant as I think Jobs may be, I don’t believe the he or anybody else could have imagined the hysteria being caused by a product that’s still waiting to be released. Yesterday, Apple’s stock dipped 4 BILLION dollars in a matter of minutes because this new Holy Grail of phones was erroneously reported to be delayed until September.

    And then this fool of the week decides to put in print so he can be quoted for all time that it was a mistake to preanounce the phone? Let’s forget about the fact that the phone had to be announced to get FCC approval. In February, an economist was estimating that Apple had received $400,000 in free publicity for the phone. $400,000? Chicken feed compared to the amount of buzz they’ve generated since then. I mean the publicity on this has turned into a freaking feeding frenzy (I like alliterations).

    There’s still not guarentee that the iphone will be successful, but to argue that the preannouncement hasn’t led to what may be the greatest free advertising campaign in marketing history – is madness.

  • I would like to ask some of these dimwit analysts a few questions. First, I would ask, “Are you surprised at how bad your assertions suck?”

    I’m just wondering if it occurs to any of them that if you apply broken logic to invented facts you don’t really get a useable opinion. What you get is quite similar to the product of a properly functioning alimentary canal.

    Perhaps they have misinterpreted the derivation of the term “analyst” to mean one who worships the human rectum. This would explain where their heads are.

  • Oops. I forgot to close my tag.

  • a. musing:

    Hey Macalope! I live in Alabama (context) and I was reading your website when friend who is a hunter came up behind me and saw the word ‘Macalope’ on my screen. He said “MACalope?” (just like that) – “What’s the Hell…” (well – he said ‘Hail’) “…is a MACalope?”. So I tried to explain, he interrupted, “Well what’s it TASTE like?”.

    And I started to wonder, what *does* macalope taste like?

  • A.,

    Elk. Or so the Macalope is told.

    Mr. Ragged,

    The Macalope fixed your tag for you.

  • Follower:

    Nima – I have no doubt your aquaintance has cooled on the whole iPhone thing right now, despite their initial enthusiasm. But just before the launch, after the advertising has begun in earnest, when the thought occurs of going by the Apple or AT&T store to see if they have any available… Don’t be surprised if they once again have a change of heart.

  • Thanks. It spoils the whole oh-I’m-so-much-smarter-than-you effect when I just leave a screw up laying about.

    Happy Friday

  • Steve:

    My guess has been that the iPhone announcement was timed primarly to zap the Zune media balloon. Intentionally or not, it sure did the job. Between the iPod as a current and competitive choice and the iPhone, which promises to leapfrog any Zune distinction or advantage, MS lost the first round if not the fight.

  • Blain:

    I’m late to the party, but I offer this:

    The first iMac had a good 3 months from announcement to shipping. And it had the big hub-bub about conventional phone data speeds (33.6 vs 56k, anyone?), lack of this (floppies), lack of that (old ports). Everyone scrambled to lambast it(Actually, what did Ballmer say about the iMac?) and/or copy it (badly). And of course, we know how the iMac did.

Leave a Reply to John Muir