Originally Posted by rain
Why all the secrecy on a product... then unveil it and not have it ship for 2 months?
Is it to test the market reaction before assembling them?
Get some hype going?
Give the competition 2 months to copy it, thereby rushing it to market and sucking so that the iSlate stands above?
The secrecy is so all the companies currently designing and building tablets can make all their glaring mistakes, publicly at CES, before Apple shows the world how to do things the right way. Then everyone else will scramble to figure out how to migrate their products' feature sets toward Apple's faster than the competition.
I think Apple's timing is brilliant: let the rumor mill (ahem) build the Apple tablet hype to such a fever pitch that it might even overshadow actual tablet announcements at CES. Wait for the press to describe all the Kindle-killer-wannabes in excruciating detail as they're released or soft-launched or vaporware-enabled at CES. Then crush them all by announcing the Apple tablet. We'll see many Foleo-ish non-releases after that.
It took more than a year for the cell phone makers to come up with anything near the iPhone. And by then, Apple had a new, improved iPhone. A year from now, the Apple tablet will be so far ahead in sales, mindshare, and apps, that the competitors won't ever be able to catch up. And it too will be a moving target.
So, what to do if you're trying to promote your own tablet in early 2010? Announce it now, at CES, before Apple does. At least you'll get some kind of press coverage. Because after the Apple tablet is announced, the crossfire of all the pro-Apple fanatical hype and all the anti-Apple blind hatred will overwhelm any kind of me-too tablet announcements. So announcing before Apple is absolutely critical this year.
But things could be very different starting in January 2011. If Apple announces new versions of their tablet every January, just after CES, they can torture competitors by forcing them to announce their products first. Competitors won't be able to innovate with confidence because they'll be holding back, waiting for the next Apple tablet's features to be revealed. And yet, they'll feel compelled to announce at CES because, well, everyone else is doing it. Except Apple.
Also, announcing each year's version of the tablet in January would add another event to Apple's quarterly "media event" product release scheme, as far as I can make it out. Summer: new iPhone. Fall: new iPods. Winter: new tablet. Maybe new Macs / MacBooks could be announced in the spring, to give educational buyers plenty of time to plan purchases.
Why quarterly major announcements? To spread things out evenly. Each updated product gets a few months in the spotlight on Apple's home page. It gives the press plenty of time to review and benchmark each of the new products. And it keeps Apple in the news all year around. CES only happens once a year. Fortunately.
So, back on topic, secrecy keeps your competitors even farther behind you. And, if your products are market leaders, secrecy plus regularly scheduled announcements forces them to wait for your announcements before reacting to your next move. They wait for fear of making a fatal mistake.