Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Buy Apple Iphone - Apple iPhone hype machine in overdrive

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SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — Even for a company that's mastered the art of product-launch hoopla, Apple Inc. appears to have pulled out all the stops to propel iPhone hysteria into the stratosphere.

Technology analysts say Apple started its publicity campaign for the iPhone uncharacteristically early, first showing off the device six months ago and shrewdly stoking the media feeding-frenzy since then with incremental announcements that have kept the sleek cell phone-multimedia player-Internet browser in the news.

It goes on sale this Friday, and die-hard Apple fans are expected to line up overnight or longer outside retail stores to get their hands on an iPhone for either $500 or $600.

But skeptics wonder whether even the most innovative product could live up to the iPhone's lofty expectations — and whether the pre-launch anticipation has spiraled too far out of control. Scrutiny of the product is so great that any small disappointment could send Apple's stock plunging, experts say.

Technology analyst Mike McGuire said Apple fans have elevated the status of the iPhone to unprecedented proportions — "somewhere between electricity and sliced bread."

"The blessing is you've created an amazing amount of demand. The curse is you have a very high level of expectations to meet," said McGuire, a research vice president with Gartner Inc. "If there's a misstep, there will be a lot of gloating people in the industry."

Apple claims the iPhone will be easier to use than other smart phones because of its unique touch screen display and intuitive software that allows for such user-friendly features as scrolling visually through voice mail messages and easy access to the Internet and video and music libraries.

The hype began when Apple CEO Steve Jobs took the wraps off the iPhone at the annual Macworld Conference and Expo in early January. The dramatic introduction — accompanied by thunderous applause and a standing ovation from thousands of Apple aficionados at a San Francisco convention center — was followed up by a public relations blitz and hundreds of articles in blogs, trade publications and the mainstream media.

The iPhone stayed in the news for weeks after the launch, thanks in part to a trademark-infringement lawsuit by Cisco Systems Inc. over rights to the name. Cisco said Apple's use of the iPhone name constituted a "willful and malicious" violation of a trademark that Cisco has owned since 2000.

In late February, San Jose-based Cisco — which sells a line of Linksys iPhones that make free long-distance calls over the Internet — and Cupertino-based Apple agreed to share the name. Click To Continue to page 2

http://www.mlive.com/newsflash/business/index.ssf?/base/business-11/1182808189316660.xml&storylist=mibusiness&thispage=2



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