Smart Move Apple.
Soft releasing the iPad Mini Retina like this was a brilliant move.
Even Apple has ackowledged the retina iPad mini is going to be supply constrained for the holidays. (If Apple says supply constrained, history tells us they are as scarse as hens teeth)
In recent launches, in particular the iPhone 5s, the front of the lines at stores were not dominated by Apple fans. They were dominated by people who were paid to be there to buy the supply constrained (understatement of the year) Gold iPhone 5s.
I watched as Apple staff had to deal with MAJOR frustration from Apple’s biggest fans who had arrived at the line at a time, for every other launch, they would have got their choice of phone.
If you thought this was bad, iPad mini Retina would have been way worse. Having just traveled back from Asia and speaking to grey market vendors – it was in their view, going to be the most requested Apple product they had seen!
By soft releasing the iPad Mini Retina, Apple achieved three crucial things.
- Apple’s biggest fans got theirs first. Who knew about this first? The people who follow the Apple blogs and digerati. Judging by Twitter, this worked perfectly.
- The grey market queing for the iPad Mini Retina was going to be immense. By going online the incredibly poor optics (The front of Apple lines, which attracts a lot of media, was full of people who were not fans but paid to be there) are mitigated.
- The last thing Apple wants is 100’s of customers turning up everyday to be dissapointed in a store which is meant to be a happy place – Apple does not want their stores to be associated with disappointment and frustration!!
I know family friends who were going to line up for the ipad mini retina (who have never lined up for any product!!) who were going to line up because the mini retina was going to be THE Christmas present this year. I hit the phones and they have all ordered online and happy.
By going online and launching very softly, Apple has given their greatest fans an early Christmas present.
Imagine a Black Friday launch where half the people in line missed out on the hero Christmas gift for the year. It would have been a PR disaster for Apple.
By launching this way Apple have done the right thing by their most important customers.