Apple’s Curious PR Cycle

Posted on December 20, 2016 by Brad Sams in Hardware with 19 Comments

Mac Nears 10 Percent Usage Share

If you haven’t been paying close attention the last twenty-four hours or so, it has been a weird ride of Apple related content circling the web. The information posted to sites like Bloomberg and TechCrunch paints an interesting story about how the company is reacting to the recent hardware release cycle from both themselves and competitors.

Late yesterday, Tim Cook posted to an internal message board that the company is still dedicated to the Mac and has new products in the pipeline. It’s not hard to justify why many are thinking that Apple has given up on its desktop PCs considering that Apple hasn’t updated the design of the Mac mini since 2010 or the design of the iMac since 2012 and the Mac Pro hasn’t been refreshed since it was introduced in 2013.

So, when what seems like a random message gets leaked (or intentionally sent out) saying the company is still committed to the Mac and has new products coming, it felt odd considering it’s late December and why would a company issue a statement like this during the crucial holiday shopping season?

Specifically, Cook wrote (via TechCrunch) “If there’s any doubt about that with our teams, let me be very clear: we have great desktops in our roadmap. Nobody should worry about that.”

This morning, Bloomberg posted up a story about internal frustration about Mac development at Apple and how the company is giving the product less attention than in prior years. It’s a great read, you can find it here; what this story did was explain why Tim Cook posted a message explaining that the Mac is not going away and that new products are in the pipeline.

For those not familiar with how journalism works, typically when you are writing a story that has insider information that paints a picture like Bloomberg has done, you ask the company for a comment. What I believe happened here is that Bloomberg reached out to Apple before publishing their post (they noted they asked Apple for comment) and Apple, wanting to try and head-off the post which they knew was coming, created their own press cycle by saying new products are in the pipeline.

It’s a classic case of PR trying to downplay an upcoming news post and it’s interesting to see which publications fell for Apple’s pseudo release. It’s also a bit crappy on Apple’s part, journalists asking for comment before publishing a post is a way to communicate with those who you cover and by Apple shoving out a release (even if internally to a company-wide message board, they knew it would ‘leak’) was their attempt to squash an authentic post about their products.

Apple’s MacBook Pro has received a mixed bag of reviews with the press being a bit more positive about the new laptop but in the hands of professionals (especially the creative-types who Apple historically catered to) the feedback hasn’t been as positive. And while I don’t want to turn this into yet another Microsoft is stealing Apple’s base, it’s hard to ignore that the Studio, while expensive, is attacking the former core of Apple’s user-base.



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