SH Sean Harding/blog
On pre-announcing and impulse buys
Tuesday, February 12th, 2008

The Apple TV Take 2, originally announced at Macworld about a month ago, is finally available. And while I was ready to buy one after I heard the announcement, my eagerness has worn off. The price point is relatively low, so I may still eventually buy one, but I’m not terribly excited about it. And this is the danger with pre-announcing products.

I think there’s a direct relationship between how exciting a product is and the amount of pre-announcement time it can support. A revolutionary product like the iPhone will continue to hold interest even over a six month wait. The iPhone probably even gained interest between its announcement and release. But few products are iPhones. The Apple TV, even in its “Take 2” incarnation, is most certainly not an iPhone. It’s a neat product, but not a superstar.

Excitement about the new Apple TV was likely at its peak in the days (or even hours) after the Jobsnote. If it had been available to buy immediately, I surely would have 1-Clicked™ one without a thought. But as the days wore on, my interest dwindled. I thought more about how much I’d actually use it and how good it would really be. It’s dangerous to pre-announce ordinary or evolutionary products. It’s even more dangerous to then slip the release date, as Apple did with the Apple TV. They killed their opportunity to get impulse buys from people like me. They let the buyer’s remorse set in before I actually bought. Bad plan.

I’ll be reading the reviews, and if I hear great things about the HD rentals, I’ll probably be pushed over the edge. But I can’t help thinking that this was the wrong product to pre-announce.

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