iPhone Hype Hits Pre-Launch Frenzy
As has been the case before just about every Apple product announcement since Steve Jobs first donned a black mock turtleneck and jeans, the hype leading up to Wednesday's launch event is working its way up to hysteria. While no one has yet predicted that it will usher in world peace or cure disease, one analyst went so far as to quantify the iPhone's expected impact on the US economy.
Apple is no stranger to much-hyped product releases, but Wednesday's press event, where the company is expected to unveil the latest iPhone, has been the subject of some of the biggest buzz in the Apple's recent history.
Mobile analyst predictions are mostly very bullish on the newest iPhone, stopping just short of saying the upgrade will singlehandedly lift the United States out of its financial crisis. J.P Morgan analysts have expressed the belief that strong sales could lift the national GDP. Other analysts believe Apple could sell 10 million new phones by the end of the month, as long as the supply chain can keep up with those heavy numbers, and that the company could add another 50 million iPhones by the end of the year.
Though rumors of a slimmer, more high-resolution display, an upgraded Siri and a new dock design are rampant, it's unknown exactly how innovative a new iPhone can be, or if it will live up the hype. But even after early lackluster reactions to the press event for the 4S about a year ago, iPhones flew off shelves, setting up record sales numbers and quarterly profits along with stock market highs for the company.
That Apple enthusiasm could wane eventually in the crowded mobile marketplace, said Jeff Kagan, tech analyst and consultant, noting that Research In Motion's BlackBerry and product offerings from Nokia and Motorola were once the belles of the ball.
"Until then, we can expect Apple and iPhone to continue being the hit of the party," he told MacNewsWorld.
Leader in Enterprise?
Before the iPhone, though were Apple's tried and true personal computers. The Mac has been a popular consumer device for years now, but has slowly been making its way into office and corporate settings, as well, which could be hurting its competitors in the industry.
One recent report from Forrester had a relatively dismal look of PC growth, expecting just a 2 percent rise in 2012. Apple is the company that is keeping even that 2 percent going, though, with Windows PCs expected to fall overall. Macs are expected to bring in US$7 billion in sales for 2012. The iPad, which is increasingly being used in corporate settings, is expected to bring in another $10 million on the year.
Under Steve Jobs, the company made it clear it would not cater to the business community, to the extent that Jobs could be negative or uncooperative in meetings with corporate leaders. However, in an enterprise environment in which personal computing devices are now an essential part of everyday business, combined with a more open attitude towards the corporate community from Tim Cook, Apple has made significant inroads in the market.
Innovative Outside the Office
That altered approach from the company isn't going to change the way it interacts with consumers, but it is opening up new possibilities for the maker of Macs and iPads, said Andrew Bartels, research analyst at Forrester.
"Tim Cook and other Apple executives certainly recognize the importance of the enterprise market," Bartels told MacNewsWorld. "But they will not be dictated by the market. They will continue to design for the person, but they're finding a significant uptick and interest in buying Apple products from senior executives pushing their enterprises to purchase them. That, in turn, is changing the dynamics that usually apply to class Mac products."
Part of that changing tune is largely because of the iPad, said Bartels, which is why he and many other research firms include the tablet when calculating research numbers. He noted that more companies are integrating iPads into non-traditional enterprise uses, such as for work in oil field surface workers, integrated learning in the classroom, or as additions to automobiles.
"Usually tablets are thought of as a complement to a Mac, but there are also a fair number of companies that buy iPads specifically to prepare them in various scenarios in lieu of PCs and for much different purposes than traditional PC office use," he said. "It's going to be awhile before there is a tablet that runs on Windows that can do that, or that can compete with the iPad."