As MacRumors editor, I read a lot of random articles…. and one of the most frustrating things is finding what sounds like a good relevant article… which at first glance seems fine, in the end, doesn’t quite make sense.
Here’s one I found yesterday:
Why Apple’s secretive approach is so effective – some researchers studied the effects of pre-announcing and not pre-announcing products and how that affected consumer spending.
It’s this pre-release hype makes people much more careful about what they buy. If you tell them that something is coming at some point in the future, they will evaluate everything that’s out there very carefully. But if you just drop something into their laps, all they’ll think about is the brand. And if they like that, ker-ching!
To sum up:
Pre-release announcement = more cautious buying habits
Immediate release = impulse buying
The article presumes that Apple takes advantage of this psychological tendency. The problem lies in the exact definition of “immediate release”. The research article isn’t published yet, so we have to rely on a press release.
If you define “immediate release” as actually available in stores (to see and touch), then Apple’s brand new products rarely fall in this category. Apple TV, Apple TV 2.0, iPhone, MacBook Air all had week to month lead times before they were available. The iPhone, itself, was 6 months from release, and no pre-orders were possible.
So how does this help prove the author’s point? I don’t think it does at all.
Now if you redefine “immediate release” to “can preorder immediately”, then an argument can be made for the MacBook Air. Apple announced the Air, and you could impulsively buy it, without doing research. Ok sure…
But what about Apple TV? The original one (codenamed iTV) was pre-announced months in advance, even before it adopted the “Apple TV” name. So, this would argue that Apple suffered (not benefited) from this pre-announce strategy.
What about the iPhone? Apple pre-announced the iPhone on January 9, 2007. No pre-orders were available and it wasn’t available until June 2007.
It was a nice theory, with some actual research to back it up, but in the end Apple’s “secretive approach” seems to have no correlation with this research.