Apple’s New Hardware Will Disrupt Samsung And Nokia – Forbes
This week has seen a rising sense of anticipation that Apple is ready to launch a number of new products in early March. From a refresh of the iPad Pro machines to the regeneration of the iPhone SE for new markets, Tim Cook and his team have a number of bullets that can capture the attention of the press and the geekerati.
Even though March has been a traditional time for Apple to launch products, it has never been a locked-in date in the way that September is for the iPhone. Last year saw the arrival of the iPhone SE, in previous years the Apple Watch has been refreshed during March or April events and the iPad range tends to get some love here as well.
But going for a date in early March to launch 2017’s new product lines offers Apple a number of tactical advantages against the competition. The March date has been used before, so the timing is not wholly reactive, but given the opportunity to reduce Samsung’s PR juggernaut and to stop a potential new rival selling Nokia branded smartphones, the date is very convenient.
The March launch comes the week after Mobile World Congress. A number of manufacturers are expected to launch new high-end handsets at the Barcelona-based event including LG, Sony and Huawei. If any of these handsets build up momentum, then the reworked iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus updates using the Product Red branding can be used to re-iterate the status and power of the current flagship iPhone devices one week later.
The return of the Nokia name to the smartphone world is likely to be the biggest story that comes out of MWC. My personal feeling is that HMD Global will not come out with a top of the range flagship and instead promote a mid-range device (much like the Nokia 6 that is selling out in China) and leverage its significant market share in the feature phone market. The iPhone SE set to be refreshed with more internal storage, and Apple’s mid-range device can easily be set up to counter the new threat from Nokia.
While Samsung has confirmed the Galaxy S8 will not be launching at MWC (although it is expected to have a teaser video clip of its upcoming flagship), the primetime Samsung space should be taken up by the Tab Pro S2, a Windows 10 powered tablet. No doubt Apple can use the refresh of the iPad Pro portfolio to counter this launch.
Reminding the world of Apple’s perceived lead will be useful at the start of March, but the real value to Apple may come later in the month. Assuming Apple’s normal schedule of events around a launch, review units of the new hardware will be arriving with the geekerati just as the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus will be lining up for their official launch event. The reviews of the new handsets will take away the digital column inches and a little bit of momentum from the South Korean company.
Apple cannot halt the media interest generated by the competition, but its prospective March event can be used not only to refresh the product line-up and remind the consumer about Apple’s latest success stories, but also weaken the oppositions marketing messages and draw the handsets into direct comparisons with Apple’s preferred match-ups.
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