The Mythical iTV: Steve Jobs’ Marketing Magic Is Still Alive And Well At Apple

From my blog The New Persuaders:

Image representing Steve Jobs as depicted in C...

Image via CrunchBase

Another day, another rumor that an Apple television may be coming.

Another recycled rumor, in fact. The Wall Street Journal reported this morning that China’s Foxconn, a major Apple supplier, is helping Apple test some prototypes for a large-screen television set. That follows similar (OK, identical) rumors a couple of days ago, last August, last May, and last December saying that Apple was enlisting Chinese suppliers to create an Apple TV set.

No surprise here, given that Apple CEO Tim Cook managed to stoke the fires of speculation last week by saying the company has “intense interest” in television. Of course, Cook himself said the very same thing last May, too.

So don’t hold your breath for an Apple TV that goes beyond the current Apple TV hockey puck. Even longtime Apple television forecaster Gene Munster at Piper Jaffray now says it won’t come before next November. And even then, it’s debatable how important a product it will be, since it’s widely assumed that Apple can’t add much to the current TV experience without deals to get access to live TV shows, or at least win the right to revamp the TV user interface to encompass the full range of pay-TV and Internet content available today. And those deals are nowhere in sight just yet.

But the new flurries of interest in the mythical machine point up something that should reassure Apple investors, at least: Apple cofounder Steve Jobs’ famous marketing magic is still at work at the company more than a year after his death.

Some investors have been worried about whether Cook, by all accounts an ace operations guy but not a showman like Jobs (as no one else really is, honestly), can keep Apple’s brand as blindingly shiny as it has been for so many years now. It’s time to give Cook credit for faithfully following Jobs’ playbook: Let fans wax on about how desirable a new Apple product will be, building demand to a fever pitch so that whatever comes out is guaranteed to get unparalleled attention. Indeed, a recent survey says they’re already willing to pay considerably more for an Apple TV–whatever it turns out to be.

No, Cook doesn’t yet deserve to be considered a master marketer like Jobs. But he’s off to a pretty good start.

One thought on “The Mythical iTV: Steve Jobs’ Marketing Magic Is Still Alive And Well At Apple

  1. I disagree.

    First off the post confuses marketing [4Ps] with promotion. It’s a common mistake and the iPhone 5 demonstrates that Tim Cook doesn’t have the marketing talent of his predecessor. Job, I suspect, would never have allowed anything that included the words, ‘we measure product evolution in microns’ to see the light of day.

    Marketing is about product, price, place and promotion – not just making a splash in the media and, I fear, Mr. Cook doesn’t have that critical eye when it comes to product development, nor the promotional skills of Steve Jobs. I’m not suggesting that Apple is in imminent danger, but if they continue the way they started they won’t have it quite as easy as they have in recent years.

    I wrote a piece about why, if Apple is not careful, it will become another RIM [RIM lost sight of its customers, failed to develop products that met their requirements, was unclear exactly who it was selling too, and failed to promote its products well enough.]

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