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:
- 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."
- 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.)
- 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.
- 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.
- It gives accessory manufactures six months to come up with cases, skins, lanyards and 30-pin dock connector accessories that will work with iPhone.
- It gives you six months to save up the US$500-$600 needed to buy an iPhone.
- It gives you six months to sell your current rubbish phone (or donate it to WillItBlend.com).
- It gives you six months to swap your existing mobile phone contract with some unsuspecting nincompoop.
- It gives you six months to justify iPhone to your boss or significant other.
- It gives you six months to adopt Apple's Reality Distortion Field.