What if Apple Holds a Launch Event and Nobody Cares?
Aug 12, 2013 3:03 PM PT
Sept. 10 is the day Apple will unveil its latest iPhone, according to a report in All Things D citing unnamed sources.
Although there have been some apparently well-founded leaks, Apple has not confirmed anything. It hasn't said whether it will be launching an iPhone 5S or a 5C, as rumored. It has not even confirmed the Sept. 10 launch date.
Apple did not respond to our request to comment for this story.
Despite the radio silence on Apple's part, there's been no shortage of speculation. There is talk, for example, of an iPhone 5S with a fingerprint reader -- something that Apple's acquisition of Authentec would support.
There will be a new budget-class iPhone offered with colorful plastic cases, suggest other rumors, which perhaps will represent a new way for Apple to target the mid- to low-tier market.
The iPhone 5C, as it may or may not be called, is also expected to come equipped with new security features and to run iOS 7.
A Busy Time
Apple will launch the new device or devices -- assuming the date is correct -- during a busy period when it could be easy for a lackluster launch to quickly fade from sight.
It will be following Samsung's week earlier launch of its Galaxy Note III, which is expected to be a high-profile event. The new iPhone(s) will debut during the week of the IFA consumer electronics show, when presumably many other products will be unveiled.
Following the relatively quiet summer vacation month of August, September is usually a busy time for product launches and conferences. A few years ago, it would have been easy to regard the launch date as simply a convenient month for the company and industry.
However, Apple has been battling the perception that it has lost its innovation chops, and this slot on the calendar adds to that narrative. In short, a cynic's viewpoint might be that Apple wants to get lost in the crowd.
"The hard truth is that if this was the iPhone 6 or another completely new product, they would not be announcing it a week after the Note III," Dan Roche, VP of marketing at TalkPoint, told MacNewsWorld. "Apple recognizes that the playing field is even enough that everything they do isn't monumental."
A Morsel at a Time?
For that reason, Apple is not likely going to save all of its marketing oomph for one product or one announcement, N. Venkat Venkatraman, a professor at Boston University, told MacNewsWorld.
"I think Apple realizes that it needs to position its message as part of a stream of new products that would be introduced by many companies over the next few months," he noted.
If the Sept. 10 date is indeed correct, it will be the iPhone 5S that is released, according to Venkatraman. "That is predictable, and iOS 7 is already announced and needs a new device -- albeit a minor hardware refresh."
That doesn't discount entirely the possible launch of an iPhone 5C for China and emerging markets, he continued.
That would be big news for many reasons, Venkatraman said, if only because it deviates from the Jobsian view of one product for the world, instead of separate products for different regions.
More likely, though, Apple will be focusing on more mundane offerings, Venkatraman said.
What Apple needs to do, he suggested, is emphasize useful features such as fingerprint ID for security and convenience, and perhaps aggressive pricing.