If you search Apple iSlate on Google it currently returns over 7 million results. There are even websites set up specifically to speculate about rumours such as http://www.islate.org and http://www.tablet-news.com. They are being fuelled by bold claims, such as someone overhearing Steve Jobs say “This will be the most important thing I’ve ever done”.
Any tech blogger worth their salt (techcrunch, mashable, BBC, Gizmodo just to start) has spent the last month working themselves up into a frenzy with wild predictions about what it is and perhaps more importantly whether it will change our reading habits forever. All the while Apple has been fighting hard to prevent any leaks, with baying lawyers ready to pounce on bloggers, who hungry for exclusives, have offered cash for information.
As someone who hasn’t quite been converted to the iPhone yet and who also had a good chuckle over Tanya Gold’s recent column on our national addiction to the iPhone, I’m not eagerly awaiting the announcement with quite the same passion as some. But I am intrigued to see whether the communication strategy used for this launch will work out well for Apple.
As a company that is regularly nominated as one of the most pioneering and disruptive in the market place (as Scott Anthony found when looking at the most disruptive companies of the decade on his HBR post), Apple certainly looks like it could be about to change our habits again, as it has done so successfully in the past. But the excitement is at such a fever pitch, that there is also a risk of a massive deflation if this miracle item doesn’t quite live up to all the speculation.
So is it a good idea for high profile companies like Apple to go for the big reveal option or would they be better advised to launch it more softly allowing news outlets and increasingly important for technology companies, bloggers, pick up on developments as they happen? Apple has to some degree protected itself from pointing fingers by saying absolutely nothing. But that won’t mean that a backlash won’t occur if the iSlate is not all it’s expected to be.
The answer to whether silence is the best communication strategy in this case, will probably be better understood later today when the event finally takes place.