Why no one freaked out over the HD3.
There were many rumors in the lead-up to Apple's big day. People speculated on everything from the significance of a leaked Nano case to the possibility of a 3G iPod. When the actual event came around, we were still fairly surprised about several features/products (Ping!) despite the fact that a decent amount of info had leaked out ahead of time.
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Compare that to the HTC HD3. First concept renders leak out, followed by a huge detailed spread of leaks that were then confirmed by multiple sources. Now the HD3 is due out on September 15 and interest for the phone, while respectable, is hardly what you'd see for the launch of a new iPhone. Or even a new iPod.
There are five reasons why.
1. Trickle leaks draw more interest.
When your first major leak is a detailed spec list it tends to draw a great deal of initial interest, and then very little until the product hits shelves. On the other hand, when a very anticipated product leaks out in little chunks, here and there, it builds anticipation and gives tech bloggers more to write about.
Trickle leaks also serve to keep your product in the news consistently until launch day rolls around. They give the fanboys something to speculate and debate endlessly over, and give the rest of us constant reminders of your gadget's existence.
2. Multiple "leaks" increase mystery.
Any Apple launch is inevitably met with a bunch of blogs debating over why their pet rumors didn't pan out. Even the most leaked Apple gadgets are followed into this world by a cloud of BS rumors, both obvious and well-hidden. This protective cloud makes it difficult to vet out rumors as "true" or "false" before launch day.
3. Mystery enhances the product.
It also makes big exciting live events like the Apple keynote much more important. If there's still an element of surprise when Steve Jobs takes the stage, the audience (and the customers) are going to react better. Remember the shock when the iPad got its $500 price-tag? Was there even a broadly analogous moment during Samsung's Tab event?
4. Persistent rumors build steam.
By the time the iPad launched, we'd been expecting an Apple tablet off-and-on for years. Rumors of an Apple slate predate the actual product by years. Which is one of the reasons journalists were so eager to cover every drip of info that preceded its launch. On a smaller scale, the same thing was true of video-chatting on the iPhone.
The new iPhone's front-facing camera made big waves, while similar cameras on a galaxy of other devices (some of which preceded the iPhone 4) made little impact at all. The same thing is probably true of the 3G iPod touch. When it finally hits, customers will be all the more excited by the fact that we've been expecting it for years.
5. Secrecy separates you from the herd.
In fairness; there are many reasons Apple products get so much more buzz than everything else. Jobs is a master of PR and his company has been putting out revolutionary, fashionable products for a LONG time now. Customers know and love the brand. But, it is just as true that secrecy is a major part of the Apple brand.
It keeps them separate from the pack. Remember all the play the first leaked iPhone 4 got? What other leaked smartphones have been covered by major national TV news networks? Sure, Apple was pissed-but that didn't stop the leak from vindicating them. People treat Apple leaks differently because an Apple leak is an altogether more precious thing.
Apple is very much about the spectacle. That extends to the hipster texting on his iPhone 4 in the bus stop where everyone can see his shiny new phone, to the geek who brings his iPad to the airport for some light reading on his 10-hour flight to bizarre, paranoid security measures that make us think of Bond-villains.
It's all part of Apple's act, and all calculated to drive maximum consumer interest in their products. Secrecy is just one more thing that makes Apple special. Just another way in which they think different.