Consumer Electronics

Apple: What Happens When Everyone Knows About a Product Release?

During the Steve Jobs era, outsiders speculated about each new release of a major product, trying to read the founder’s public comments. But he was notoriously stingy with the press. Analysts had to spy on suppliers and the carriers that eventually would market the devices. Now the world has changed. Everyone knows what Apple Inc.’s (NASDAQ: AAPL) new iPhones will look like and do. Nearly everyone knows what their eventual markets will be. Among the things that have made Apple ordinary, one of the most significant is its product releases.

One of Apple’s problems has been widely identified. Other companies can release exciting products, too. The most commented up new consumer electronics gadget that will reach the market soon is Google Inc.’s (NASDAQ: GOOG) Glass. The search company recently bragged about demand at the Glass website:

Thank you so much to everyone who applied to be a Glass Explorer.

We have been overwhelmed, entertained and inspired by your responses. #ifihadglass is now closed and we will be notifying successful applicants soon. If you don’t hear from us, don’t despair! There will be more chances to get Glass at a later date.

If you would like to stay informed about Glass, you can sign up here.

Put another way, “please send us your name and address, and we may get back to you when we can.”

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Add to the peak in interest about Glass all the excitement about Samsung’s Galaxy, and Apple’s announcements are barely ordinary.

One of Apple’s problems may be that its development time for products could be longer than in the past. Many people have pointed out that the extension is because Apple’s products are no longer revolutionary. It has to squeeze each tiny piece of innovation out of smartphones, which in tech years are already aged. Breakthrough features are in short supply, if they are in any supply at all.

Apple will release two products. The world can count on that. The press already has released the size and dimensions of the iPhone. The more expensive version of the iPhone 5 will get a new processor and better camera. It has become like the latest versions of PCs, which get a somewhat better Intel Corp. (NASDAQ: INTC) chip and sometimes an upgraded version of Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT) Windows. Maybe one reason PC sales have tapered off is that each new version is so extraordinarily ordinary.

The more anticipated iPhone is called the 5C. The C stands for cheap. The smartphone is priced for the emerging market, led by China. Almost everyone knows that its largest marketer will be China’s gigantic China Mobile Ltd. (NASDAQ: CHL), the biggest carrier in the world.

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Apple might as well skip its new iPhone launch event and just ship the products. Consumers already know what they have the opportunity to buy, even if they live in the People’s Republic.

Even the observations made here are redundant.

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