The power of leaks

In prior days, I would have believed that iPhone 6 rumors and images were true leaks. In other words, someone involved in iPhone 6 design, prototyping or production builds provided unauthorized information to a blog. After reading the Ryan Holiday book, Trust Me I’m Lying, I don’t buy that these are leaks. I believe that Apple coordinates the release of such information.

Why would a company that is supposedly so secretive and protective of their new products do such a thing? I believe there are two valuable reasons that Apple would leak information to the media.

Product feedback

The illusion of secrecy makes any information that might be the least bit credible extremely valuable. Mainstream media and blogs love publishing these kinds of leaks because it drives traffic, which drives revenue for the sites. So any information that gets leaked about upcoming Apple products is guaranteed to get published.

From there, it generates tons of buzz, and more importantly, product feedback. In addition to the writers giving their critique, Apple’s loyal customers eat up any and all news about upcoming products and are quick to give their input. They’ll comment on all elements of the design obsessing over minute details like button size and placement.

For Apple, it’s an inexpensive way to gauge what consumers are thinking, what they like and don’t like about new designs, and what important features might be missing. They get to do this all for free. They don’t have to pay for any field studies or focus groups. Simply coordinate a couple of strategic information leaks, and voila, instant product feedback!

Building suspense

I find it even more interesting that rumors start happening well over six months before the anticipated launch of the new device. Once again, this is not accidental. It gives Apple a chance to react to feedback, and it builds a ton of suspense leading up to the product launch.

Because of all the rumors and conflicting information that Apple releases, people get all wound up wondering what exactly will be announced on launch day. Just look at the tech media activity in the days leading up to an iPhone launch – it’s dominated by iPhone news.

Even after launch, the news lingers for another one or two weeks as people debate over what got left out or what unexpected features made it in. Regardless of the outcome, Apple’s media strategy is a genius way to maximize news coverage while spending minimal dollars and effort.

Masters of media manipulation

Maybe I’m getting more cynical as I age, or maybe I’ve been tarnished by Holiday’s book, but I see Apple as the masters of media manipulation. They know how to control the tech media to generate value product feedback on the cheap and to get massive amounts of promotion and advertising for their product launch events. It’s a formula that other companies have tried to copy, albeit unsuccessfully.

Here’s one such example. On the Mac Rumors site, there is a detailed report of what is expected on the iPhone 6 (see the link here), and we’re still as many as six months away from launch. On the other hand, for the Samsung Galaxy S5, this detailed report from Gizmodo came out just a few days before the launch. Needless to say, the Samsung announcement didn’t generate anywhere near the amount of buzz the next iPhone announcement will.

By the way, if you’re interested in seeing the supposed pictures of the iPhone 6, you can check them out by clicking here.

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