Just Wait ‘Til You See the Microsoft Phune … in Brown
Man: What’s for afters?
Woman: Well there’s iPhone cake … iPhone sorbet… iPhone pudding … or strawberry tart.
Man: Strawberry tart?!
Woman: Well it’s got some iPhone in it.
Man: How much?
Woman: Three, rather a lot really.
Man: … well, I’ll have a slice without so much iPhone in it.
—Monty Python’s “Rat Desserts/Salvation Fuzz” sketch (updated for 2007)
Between 9:45 a.m. EDT yesterday and 9:45 a.m. EDT today, Google News indexed 10,100 stories containing mention of Apple’s iPhone. This according to Blackfriars’ Marketing, which has been charting the effects of Apple’s masterful orchestration of the media frenzy over its forthcoming iPhone – which is a bit of a departure from the norm. The company typically keeps its products under wraps until the day they arrive at market. Apple CEO Steve Jobs is notoriously sensitive about premature elaboration. “Steve’s perspective is that you launch a product on Sunday and sell it on Monday,” Ron Garriques, president of Motorola’s mobile phone division, said back around the time Motorola’s first iTunes phone was nearing launch.
But that perspective seems to have changed in the ensuing years. Because the iPhone was announced six months before it was to ship and since that time has been cleverly promoted in a marketing striptease worthy of Minsky’s Burlesque. And equally as effective. iPhone-hopefuls have been camping outside Apple stores since Monday, and Apple blogs have been religiously analyzing iPhone minutiae and feeding it to their audience in near-overdose levels (a Technorati search for “iPhone” returns 311,609 blog posts). As Comedy Central’s Stephen Colbert once said, “The iPhone has given the nerd community its hardest collective wood since Princess Leia wore a bronze bikini.“
Question is, will that wood persist in the face of cheaper devices with capabilities similar to the iPhone’s? Harvard Business School professor Clayton Christensen says it probably won’t, because consumers typically choose cheap over flashy. “The world always ends up thanking innovators for their cool products—but won’t pay for them,” he told BusinessWeek. “There are forces of gravity at work.”