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9/21/2011
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Eric Zeman
Eric Zeman
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iPhone 5: Apple And The Art Of Product Launches

Apple is preparing to announce the next-generation iPhone on October 4, reports AllThingsD.

Love 'em or hate 'em, you have to give credit to Apple's brilliant marketing and press machine. It has mastered the art of controlling product announcements and the news cycle like no other company. The latest report coming from AllThingsD, pegging the introduction of the iPhone 5 for Tuesday, October 4, is just the latest example. Let's look at why.

Most probably don't know this, but October is going to be a heck of a month for the wireless industry. Here's a quick rundown of the events already on tap for October:

October 7: Sprint "strategy update." Sprint's senior management is expected to discuss future network plans and answer press questions. We could see news of Sprint switching to LTE, or learn about Clearwire's fate. Either way, Sprint's 4G plans are in the balance.

October 11-13: CTIA: Enterprise and Applications. This is the annual fall event held by the wireless industry's lobbying organization. Phones and new services are generally announced at this event.

October 18-20: BlackBerry Devcon Americas. This is Research In Motion's annual developers conference. Last year, RIM introduced the PlayBook at Devcon.

October 24-27: 4GWorld. This event, held in Chicago, highlights growth and change in the telecommunications industry. It now encompasses WiMax, LTE, and other networking technologies being deployed in the United States.

October 26-27: Nokia World. Nokia's annual event is expected to hold more weight this year as many believe the Finnish phone giant will show off the first build of its Windows Phone 7 software--if not its first Windows Phone 7 device(s).

[Apple has new leadership, but the company can be expected to continue the path defined by its former CEO. See Jobs's Legacy: 8 Reasons Apple Will Dominate The Decade.]

Take all these events together, and it leaves Apple with very little room throughout the month of October. Timing an iPhone 5 launch for the early part of the week of October 3 is the Cupertino company's best chance to hog the spotlight before other news erodes all the media chatter about its latest smartphone.

Not that Apple has been above stepping on its peers' toes in the past...

Earlier this year, Apple and Verizon Wireless sent out invitations on the second day of the Consumer Electronics Show to what would eventually be their announcement of the Verizon iPhone. That invite notification was enough to override the news coming out of Las Vegas for the remainder of CES.

Of course, we all remember how Apple held its own media event in San Francisco in January 2007--on the first day of CES 2007--to announce the original iPhone. That single announcement nearly blanked out all the news generated in Las Vegas that year.

Bottom line, AllThingsD's report of an October 4 debut is right on target for the iPhone 5. Even so, AllThingsD contends, "While Apple could certainly change its plans anytime, sources said that the Oct. 4 date has been selected by the company to showcase the iPhone 5. Sources added that the plan is now to make the new device available for purchase within a few weeks after the announcement."

The announcement and imminent arrival of the iPhone 5 will certainly hang over all the mobile news generated in the month to come, no matter how you slice the Apple.

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