After Apple announced their new iPhone 4S at their press event today in Cupertino, they not only surprised us with no iPhone 5, but they also surprised us by not allowing the traditional hands-on access period post announcement. After each of their previous announcements Apple had a separate room set up with devices on hand for press and other attendees to get a look at the new product. This time? Nada! Why the change?
I can think of a few reasons. Giving Apple the benefit of the doubt, I thought it might be that they don’t have the room for it. I’ve been told by those who have been there this is not the case – there is a demo room nearby.
Another possibility is that they just don’t want the press sharing the news. They want to control the information through their own website forcing people to get their first look through Apple produced videos and from the carefully chosen press allies who have a history of giving them glowing coverage. Are your ears burning, David Pogue and Walt Mossberg? Both reports (from New York Times and Wall Street Journal/All Things Digital) have been known for being Apple fanboys who often get news before other press people.
Evidence for this conspiracy theory includes the fact that as soon as a press person begins to speak negatively about their products they stop receiving invitation. Fans of the Twit.tv network know that after Leo LaPorte famously streamed a private press event using his MacBook’s iChat camera held up in the audience, he stopped receiving them. After Andy Ihnatko of the Chicago Sun Times and Twit’s show MacBreak Weekly streamed to the network from the post announcement hands-on after iPad 2 earlier this year, he didn’t get an invite for the first time in years.
A less pernicious theory offered by one of our editors posits that Siri cannot be demoed effectively in a crowded and noise-filled room. If so, it doesn’t bode well for people who would like to use one of the few new features of the iPhone 4S in loud environments.
Finally, it could just be that Apple didn’t have enough ready for press to play with. Siri was called ‘beta’ and they might not want to demo Siri until its 100% ready to go.