10 reasons why pre-announcing the iPhone was brilliant

10 reasons why pre-announcing the iPhone was brilliant

Summary: Yesterday I posted a story by Mike Elgan at Computerworld who listed six reasons why it was a mistake to make the iPhone keynote at Macworld. Although pre-announcing a new product is a radical departure for Apple, there is some logic to it in this case. Here are 10 reasons why announcing the iPhone six months early was a stroke of genius by Steve Jobs...

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TOPICS: iPhone
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Yesterday I posted a story by Mike Elgan at Computerworld who listed six reasons why it was a mistake to make the iPhone keynote at Macworld. Although pre-announcing a new product is a radical departure for Apple, there is some logic to it in this case. Here are 10 reasons why announcing the iPhone six months early was a stroke of genius by Steve Jobs:

  1. It gets us salivating. The anticipation of waiting until June for iPhone has been compared to those old Heinz ketchup commercials from the 70s, featuring the Carly Simon song "anticipation."
  2. Six months of free R&D by a rabid, foaming at the mouth, customer base. I've never seen so much press and feature suggestions for a product in my life. Why hire more QA people when you can simply pre-announce something and let the blogosphere do your research for you? (Although it baffles me why Apple hasn't added a "suggestion" link to their iPhone pages.)
  3. It virtually freezes the market. I don't know of a single Mac user that would buy a smartphone, or any phone for that matter, until June. It would be like buying a fully loaded new Mac the month before Macworld Expo. In fact, almost anyone looking to buy a smartphone will probably wait.
  4. Mobile phone contract renewals will also drop significantly. Why would anyone renew a multi-year or annual contract with their current carrier? I can see a lot of people going month-to-month as their contracts lapse and I can see the contract wars getting pretty ugly. Expect the other carriers (Verizon, T-Mobile, Sprint) to begin offering mega-incentives to get you into a contract.
  5. It gives accessory manufactures six months to come up with cases, skins, lanyards and 30-pin dock connector accessories that will work with iPhone. 
  6. It gives you six months to save up the US$500-$600 needed to buy an iPhone.
  7. It gives you six months to sell your current rubbish phone (or donate it to WillItBlend.com).
  8. It gives you six months to swap your existing mobile phone contract with some unsuspecting nincompoop.
  9. It gives you six months to justify iPhone to your boss or significant other. 
  10. It gives you six months to adopt Apple's Reality Distortion Field

 [poll id=26]

Topic: iPhone

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18 comments
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  • Waiting to get out of a contract comment is spot on

    I completely agree with you on #4. I think customers to let their contracts lapse in the next 6-months is the number one reason they preannounced.
    brooking
    • 2 years is too long

      if getting out of a current contract is so important, i hope those people see why its important to not get into one in the first place. two years is too long. i hope in those six months that at&t will change its mind and offer other, shorter options. or even better, apple sells the phone unlocked with no contract. i'll happily drop in my pre-paid SIM and be on my way.
      donpdonp
  • Getting out of contracts

    The Consumerist has a lot of information about getting out of your current cel phone contract:

    http://tags.consumerist.com/consumer/cellphones/
    tic swayback
  • Iam a Mac User but I have zero interest in ...

    the iPhone until it is available from another carrier and if it also has voice dialing. So now you know a mac user who wont wait.

    It virtually freezes the market. I don't know of a single Mac user that would buy a smartphone, or any phone for that matter, until June. It would be like buying a fully loaded new Mac the month before Macworld Expo. In fact, almost anyone looking to buy a smartphone will probably wait.

    PS I am buying a phone today.
    mrlinux
    • subjective

      Well, that's your opinion. There have been a few insightful folks that have noted (Walt Mossberg for one) that not all of the functions in the phone he was allowed to handle were fully working. I forget which he noted, but apparently some apps were placeholders pending full release.

      I will agree tho, that voice dialing for any phone is what I consider a basic function. If it's in my pocket with the included bluetooth earpiece in my ear, it would make no sense for me to have to remove the phone from my pocket to make a 911 call to report a traffic accident.

      That is why I feel that we should wait on the criticism to see what the phone will in fact include in it's features. I would be VERY surprised if that basic function is not included.
      rwahrens1952
      • Well I responding one of the authors reason's

        He didnt know any mac owner that wouldnt wait for iPhone.
        And the CINGULAR deal was announced, as for the voice dialing I placed an if in front the statement because I dont know one way or the other. But for me the CINGULAR Carrier is a deal breaker, so for ME(not anyone else) I will not be getting a iPhone until it is available through another carrier.
        mrlinux
  • Of course it wasn't a mistake

    Look at every Palm smartphone for the last several years, plus any number of
    other "secret" products that required FCC approval. They leaked, because the
    details of the product had to be submitted to the FCC. This was the only
    alternative.

    However, let me add one more collateral benefit: testing. So many of Apple's
    super-secret products ship poorly tested these days because they're kept locked
    in a vault. Consider, for example, the iPod Nano. Do you think it would have
    been so scratch-prone had anybody actually been allowed to use one realistically
    for a week?

    Now that the iPhone is public knowledge, hopefully certain key testers within
    Apple will actually be able to take the phone off campus and use it in the "real
    world" to make sure that it works as expected.
    mjkobb
    • from your mouth

      to Steve's ear!
      rwahrens1952
  • Goodbye Zune...

    Well with Steve Ballmer's apparent shock at the sticker price...what he failed to comment on was the iPhone just showed us the next iPod design. We'll see an iPod based on this case without all the phone gear...but possibly with the Wi-Fi...and longer battery life. Who would now buy a Zune? People keep saying the iPhone will cannibalize iPod sales...but so what? Even if that is the case...tehre is a bigger margin on the phone than the iPod. And we all know people will likely buy the new iPod over the phone.
    agraham999
    • So true

      I have never had any interest in any smartphone but if Apple were to release a full size iPod based on the iPhone design with...say a 100 GB hard drive, I would buy it in a minute.
      JohnM865
    • It's their typical response to many things...

      They laugh at things first then realize it gains momentum then come in and ride the coattails.

      You know.. Kind of like the internet. :)
      ju1ce
    • It's their typical response to many things...

      They laugh at things first then realize it gains momentum then come in and ride the coattails.

      You know..
      ju1ce
      • So very true . . .

        both of em!
        999ad@...
  • Significant Other - Spot On!

    My wife heard the news about the iPhone and already started dropping hints about how my current phone is good enough, brand new (well 14 months actually), etc. Now I've got 6 months to sell it, destroy it, or otherwise demonstrate my need for the iPhone. I suppose I could go for the low-blow and tell her it's the guy version of the female handbag/shoe thing. She can't say much if I point at her closet full of shoes. Heck, it's tax-deductible (for me, YMMV), what more excuse should I need?
    willhoyt
    • No excuses

      You do bring in income into the household, correct? If so, you should not need an excuse at all, neither should she.
      I'm 49 and in most cases have noticed that women do numerous small item purchases a year while men tend to buy fewer but more expensive items. When all is said and done we usually have something to show for our money but the women can't quite figure out where all that money went.
      observer1959
  • Pre-announcing is NOT new

    Jason - remember how the iMac was introduced at the WWDC in 1998, but didn't ship
    until August or September of that year? In addition, Apple frequently unveils
    products at MacWorld that can't be purchased for anywhere from one to three
    months following, because of supply constraints.
    filipiak
  • 11. It might give Apple time to do adequate testing...

    and fix those problems that commonly plague their first-gen products.
    jackchengdotcom
  • Did Jobs have a choice - doesn't FCC reg force pre-announcing?

    Did Jobs really have a choice about pre-announcing. To
    get approval to sell the phone in the US, doesn't he have
    to submit to US Govt (FCC ?). And the FCC publicly
    publishes all submissions -- thereby pre-announcing the
    product. So Jobs really had no choice. Either launch it the
    iPhone at MacWorld, or let the press do it 5-minutes after
    it appears on the FCC site?
    macuser1