Apple CEO Steve Jobs’ Macworld Expo keynote address ‘a colossal mistake’

“Steve Jobs’ blockbuster keynote address at last week’s Macworld was brilliantly and powerfully delivered — one of his best ever. It was also a colossal mistake,” Mike Elgan writes for Computerworld.

Elgan writes, “The keynote certainly looked familiar — the famous jeans and black turtleneck, the black background and giant screen. But Jobs did something unique with this speech: He announced, in detail, a major new product six months before its expected availability. Apple’s famous formula, successfully applied to dozens of iPod models, Macs and operating system rollouts, keeps details secret until products are ready to ship.”

“Sure, Jobs did the same thing — sort of — when he preannounced Apple TV back in September. But that speech lacked product details or even the correct brand name. Last week’s iPhone keynote was the first in Apple’s history in which a major new product line was unveiled in detail long before its actual ship date,” Elgan writes. “I think Jobs blew it.”

Elgan six reasons why:
1. Jobs raised buyer expectations too high
2. Jobs raised Wall Street expectations too high
3. Jobs gave competitors a head start
4. Jobs undermined Apple TV hype
5. Jobs put iPod sales at risk
6. Jobs wrecked Cisco talks

Full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “RadDoc” for the heads up.]

1. Debatable, but really a non-factor. Apple will initially sell as many as they can produce regardless and word of mouth/seeing the device in action will smooth out any out-of-whack expectations (too high or too low).
2. No. Apple’s goal of 10 million iPhones by 2008 is conservative and easily doable.
3. Patents.
4. Apple TV sits at #1 on Apple Store’s Best Sellers list.
5. Until the new multi-touch iPods debut, that is.
6. Who cares?

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  1. Steve did the right thing! I have no worries and MDN is exactly right with their take.

    Magic Word: “figures” as in It figures some people wouldn’t see the brilliance in Steve’s move.

  2. Does ANYONE listen? My goodness, how often does Steve have to say it?

    The iPhone keynote WAS too early, and there are disadvantages to that. It was, however, unacceptable to let the FCC handle the initial iPhone publicity in the PUBLIC application for a license.


  3. Elgan!!! You are a knuklehead! Who says we have seen everything that the new iPhone is going to do. Apple still has months to add software and make even more improvements. Everyone I know wants one and can’t wait to get their hands on it!

  4. A mistake? Apple has had countless millions of publicity for iPhone and it hasn’t been leaked by the FCC. What’s that worth Elgan?

    And when it starts selling we’ll have him eating a large portion of humble pie.

    Remember Mike Elgan will say anything in the hope it rubs some dirt on Steve Jobs and Apple because when you’ve failed yourself, it becomes harder to give the other guy the credit.

  5. I’m unsure about whether it was a good thing or a bad thing. Yes, he did let the cat out of the bag to his competitors, but it took Apple almost three years to develop it, and they’ve got the patents to protect it.

    It will also give people six months to start saving their money for the phone, and start trying to get out of their contracts with other carriers, or let them expire.

    Of course, damned if I’ll get a iPod 5G now. But I’ve been hearing so many rumors about the 6G during the last year, that I wouldn’t have gotten one anyway.

    I’m just thankful that I don’t have to listen to another six months of iPod speculation, innuendo and rumors. Now, they’ll finally have something else to talk about on TWIT…

  6. this guy is an idiot:

    1. Jobs raised buyer expectations too high
    2. Jobs raised Wall Street expectations too high
    3. Jobs gave competitors a head start
    4. Jobs undermined Apple TV hype
    5. Jobs put iPod sales at risk
    6. Jobs wrecked Cisco talks

    1. All he did was demo the product. He didnt talk about features that arent in the phone, they are all working features now. Any hype created was merely by people getting excited over the devices current working features. How will he dash their hopes? Remove feattures?
    2. Apple ALWAYS sets low guidance for their upcoming fiscal quarters. This quarter was no different.
    3. Those competitors will have to undergo a LOOONG development cycle to get anything even similar out the door. This notion that compaies can whip something like this out in a month shows vast ignorance. Plus they will also have to get FCC approval on any device that answers the iPhone.
    4 Yeah thats why the AppleTV is the number one selling electronic product on Amazon right now.
    5 most people dont buy $500 ipods. Most people who buy high end ipods want their entire collections on one ipod, which the iPhone doesnt do.
    6 who gives a crap. Theres no proof that Cisco even holds the trademark anyway.

  7. The “Big Mistake” in here is that Elgan did not make his homework, May be Macworld was a big mistake for an Ignorant that does not know how sales works (there is a book called “Sales for dummies”, could be alittle complicated for Elgan, but may work), but for Real People, the iPod and iTV was one of the latest big hit of apple.

  8. It would have been leaked by the FCC in any case, there’s no way the iPhone would have sneaked through unnoticed. Cingular would need more access and information closer to launch and I can’t see them not leaking.

    Pre-announcing phone’s is common practise in the industry. It also gives Apple plenty of time to negotiate the international deals and get features like the voice mail implemented in time.

  9. He had to show it. Otherwise, details would have been leaked for sure during the FCC certification period and pre-launch production. Also, he did it in the past, too. Remember the iPod mini? The G5 Powermac? They were all presented as working prototypes, yet it took several months for them to appear on the shelves in quantities.
    As for the competitors, that’s a toss-up. Sure, they know what they’ll have to compete with, but they will also be shell-shocked. There’s an avalanche of patent applications by Apple looming over everybody who plans anything similar.
    Also, by giving consumers a glimpse of what the immediate future holds, he gave them a reason to postpone the next cell phone purchase, creating a pent-up demand for this summer that will soak up the first iPhone shipments.
    Mike Elgan is a tech journalist with no clue about marketing. What does he know!

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