Author(s): Raghu Gopal
Wowing an audience is a tough task nowadays. It's not often that a new high-profile product pops up completely out of the blue.
The charm of witnessing a new device being introduced to the world isn't lost on customers. However, mega launch events have started to feel a lot less magical, thanks to the constant flow of leaked details.
These days it takes the equivalent of the population of a small village to pull together a product like a flagship smartphone or an innovative new laptop. Device makers work with external designers and other consultants to complete a design. They then deal with contract manufacturers on the other side of the globe. E-mails float around, mock-ups can get misplaced, and test devices end up in the hands of mobile operators. Employees along the chain can make mistakes, or worse.
Widespread connectivity and cameras mean that leaks have become an aspect of the modern tech marketing ecosystem. Occasionally, they can even be a tactical part of a manufacturer's marketing strategy; disclosing certain information whets the appetite for more details and can help manage expectations. Journalists and bloggers pick up on this and feed their audience what they can: fuzzy photos, vague feature sets, rumoured launch dates and more. More generally, however, leaks are motivated by individuals looking for their 15 minutes of fame, or worse, see them as a cynical revenue opportunity to boost Web traffic and revenue.
Most device makers truly hate leaks, employing experienced teams to investigate them and to try and find the culprits — usually without success.
However, the bottom line is that a brilliant design and top-of-the-line hardware makes for the biggest success story and creates the strongest impact. In recent times, leaks have become so revealing that they leave little to the imagination about the device by the time it's officially announced to the world. It's a sad state of affairs that seems unlikely to go away.
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