iPad 2 marketing designed to create queues

iPad 2 marketing designed to create queues

Summary: Apple has been turning its product launches into "events" for decades, and this marketing strategy has been extended to include users queuing up outside its stores. In the iPad 2's case, it would be much more efficient to take pre-orders online, but Apple has decided against doing this in the US.

SHARE:
TOPICS: Tech Industry
6

Apple has been turning its product launches into "events" for decades, and this marketing strategy has been extended to include users queuing up outside its stores. In the iPad 2's case, it would be much more efficient to take pre-orders online, but Apple has decided against doing this in the US.

Instead, it will deliberately create unnecessary queues, turning the US on-sale of March 11* into an event that will be reported favourably by America's relatively supine news media, no doubt with a cameo appearance by Apple co-founder The Woz.

As The Orange View blog points out: "It means that all the demand and excitement built up for the second generation iPad will be squeezed into a single day of buying pressure instead of being spread out over a week."

But more than that, it will convert private buying into public buying, and perhaps create something of a herd effect.

Of course, this approach is by no means limited to Apple. By far the biggest multi-continental example was Microsoft's launch of Windows 95. This featured lots of utterly pointless queuing for an operating system that, in its Chicago beta version, vast numbers of people had been using for months. The gratuitous launch queue may still have some value in getting pale-faced gamers out of the house at midnight, but it's really not the best Microsoft idea for Apple to copy.

* The UK launch is on March 25.

@jackschofield

Topic: Tech Industry

Jack Schofield

About Jack Schofield

Jack Schofield spent the 1970s editing photography magazines before becoming editor of an early UK computer magazine, Practical Computing. In 1983, he started writing a weekly computer column for the Guardian, and joined the staff to launch the newspaper's weekly computer supplement in 1985. This section launched the Guardian’s first website and, in 2001, its first real blog. When the printed section was dropped after 25 years and a couple of reincarnations, he felt it was a time for a change....

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Talkback

6 comments
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • ** Also available for pre-order in the UK, from the Apple Online Store, no?

    Sometimes pre-order/queueing has been useful - as stocks have gone pretty quick - If you've wanted a specific Apple iPhone model at launch for instance.

    I don't think queues are the main reason - queues are a by-product of customers waiting to get it!
    t0mt0m-bde2a
  • I'm not sure how you can reach that conclusion with 100% certainty. Could it not just be the case that they know supply will be limited, therefore don't want to be selling out before the product is even on sale? It wouldn't be a good look to have a launch day where those arriving at stores couldn't get their hands on an iPad 2, either.
    jono.russell@...
  • Wait a second.....

    Didn't iPhone 4 went on pre-order and sold around 600.000 on pre-orders?
    Well, did that prevent any queuing up on the day it did hit the stores? I don't think it did.
    How do i know that? Because i saw a never ending long lines of people on Q on the front of apple stores and the phone networks!
    dlog
  • It's far more likely that the launch will be delayed past 25th March in the UK and Europe, to meet demand in the US. Whether this is a marketing ploy, or just a result of unprecedented demand, time will tell.

    Apple's delivery times have been 24 hours for all products recently in the UK, so either they are over producing or just meeting demand, either way - they aren't restricting supply to artificially show demand (based on the online website products) i.e indicating 4-7 days delivery etc.

    Much of the criticism of the ipad's 'control' of user's data, will be addressed eventually too. Apple - will again wrong - foot the competition, with (what I call) 'Drawbridge' - a virtual filing system in the summer. The wrong foot being, Apple will monetise 'piracy' by fingerprinting files uploaded (in a similar way to the way Dropbox fingerprints files, without actually having to upload) to Apple's virtual file system and coercively collect a royalty payment for Artists for media not bought through itunes.

    Apple will justify this, by either exchanging the files for the itunes 'perfect' ones or by giving discount for songs bought through itunes in exchange or offer to give the full fee to Artists, for any uploaded songs. This may be monthly subscription based too, with a premium paid to upload your own. A reverse piracy subscription service to Spotify.

    Selling songs through itunes is one revenue source, getting a fee for each song downloaded from peer to peer / rapidshare etc - is another source of revenue entirely, it's in a different magnitude all together.

    iPad - Love it or Hate it - their ecosystem is being received positively by the masses. Microsoft could only wish for similar hype regarding Windows Phone 7.
    adamjarvis
  • adamjarvis, that sounds absolutely horrific. And given Apple's general 'we will do what we like, bow down and worship us' stance, scarily likely.
    StevoCJ
  • To me it's more likely they're doing instore so they can activate them for the punters without them having to go near a computer and play with iTunes. Kind of like making sure people start happy rather than having to think about all the iTunes thing. Well, I'm presuming that the iPad needs to be activated. Ignore this if that's not the case :P
    zkiwi