updated 01:40 pm EDT, Thu June 28, 2007
iPhone Highest Buzz Yet
The buzz surrounding the iPhone may be as intense as those for some of the best-known product launches in history without requiring as much effort, according to analysts. An observation by expert Michael Gartenberg of JupiterResearch today notes that while Apple is likely to have spent roughly $100 million promoting the iPhone enroute to its Friday launch, the company's existing reputation and careful management of press should get the device more attention than Microsoft's August 1995 release of Windows 95 despite spending half as much on marketing.
Although Gartenberg has not made a direct link, he also draws attention to the separate Apple and Microsoft launches through their pull on audiences, both of which have convinced some buyers that they wanted the product without knowing if they could actually use it. At least one potential iPhone buyer has wished his phone would support Google Maps without realizing that it already did, the analyst says.
Ries & Ries analyst and co-founder Al Ries also notes that Apple's approach to the iPhone may resemble but also eclipse that of Ford's Mustang, which achieved runaway success in the mid-1960s in part by letting popular culture generate its own desire and creating fewer but more attention-getting ads. Until June, Apple aired only a single ad, releasing an Oscars teaser in March that said little about the phone itself. Many companies don't understand how to achieve this effect, Ries says.
"The PR, the hype, the publicity, it makes the advertising more visible," he adds. "From an advertising and marketing point of view, Apple is head and shoulders above everybody else. It boggles the mind."
Anticipation has reached the point where queues have already formed at multiple Apple and AT&T stores, in one case beginning as early as Monday at Apple's flagship Fifth Avenue store in New York City. Gartenberg warns that the queues for the actual June 29th launch may create a distortion effect where the stores carrying the device will be unable to handle customers for anything else.
"If you're not on the market for an iPhone," he says, "you don't really want to find yourself anywhere near an Apple or AT&T store at 6PM on Friday."