Apple Store“Steve Jobs’ blockbuster keynote address at… 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.”

Elgan writes, “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. Here are my 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.

“I think Apple’s CEO made a big mistake. A June unveiling that coincided with the actual product launch would have kept customers’ and Wall Street expectations in line; concealed product details from competitors; given Apple TV the full spotlight when it ships; kept iPod sales robust; and helped Apple gracefully negotiate the rights to use the iPhone name. In short, it would have been the traditional Apple home run,” Elgan writes. “Steve Jobs blew it.”

Full article here.
1. Buyer expectations are not too high. Everyone can see the iPhone features online. Everyone knows more, currently unknown features are coming.
2. If anything, Wall Street has so far greatly underestimated iPhone’s impact: Morgan Stanley reiterates Apple ‘buy’ – says market is underestimating iPhone demand – March 01, 2007
3. Job’s gave competitors no head start. He gave them heart attacks. Jobs has all of his patent apps submitted. Competitors would need years to catch up, not a few months.
4. No evidence that Apple TV has been negatively affected. If anything, there is at least some evidence to the contrary:
Deutsche Bank: Apple TV could take 30% of set-top box market within a few years – February 21, 2007
RUMOR: Apple TV sales blowing away Apple’s internal expectations – January 25, 2007
ZDNet’s Graham: Apple TV hits a number of sweet spots, poised to make a big impact – January 25, 2007
5. Not according to channel checks: Briefly: NPD data indicates Apple iPod units tracking above Street – February 28, 2007
6. Who cares? Totally meaningless point by Elgan.

iPhone’s early announcement was necessitated by the need for the long and public FCC approval process. With early announcement, iPhone benefits from months of hype and free publicity. Elgan’s article is meaningless meandering poppycock that ignores reality, offers no final assessment of the supposed negative impact on Apple by pre-announcing iPhone (since there will be no negative impact), and is generally and consistently wrong.