Apple Store Down Time - Incompetence or Marketing?

Today around Noon European time, those infamous words were spreading through the office like wildfire: The Apple Store is down. Around the world, people pause for a moment. They are holding eachother's digital hands via blogs, news feeds and Twitter hoping for the long awaited update of an existing product (this time: "the new iPhone is coming!") or better yet the suprise of a new product introduction ("the iTouch is here!"). Everyone has his theory and everyone is right.

This time Apple had us wait for 2 hours to release the tension. There is a new iPod shuffle that works without buttons and can read aloud the song names. Everyone at equinux thought this was incredible news. Our sucessful product SongGenie, which corrects missing and incomplete Songtitles, now makes more sense than ever. No one wants a shuffle to read "Track 01" aloud. Just have SongGenie whizz over your library and the shuffle will do it's thing for you. Sweet!

Yet, there was another question still unresolved. Why does Apple allow itself two hours of downtime in the Apple Store, just to incorporate the iPod shuffle? Within minutes, two theories were formed. It is either incompetence, or marketing.

Incompetence places the issue on shoulders of Apple's good ol' WebObjects, which is causing lengthy and tedious update procedures. Things that other online shops like Amazon do in a breeze, Apple still has to do in a cumbersome, manual procedure.

Others are talking about marketing. Apple has the unncanny abililty to put up an immediate Stop sign when deemed necessary. The result is a highly visible traffic jam that causes immidiate and favorable recognition.

I personally support a third theory: It's Christmas. Indeed, mutiple digital Christmases each year. It's the same ritual.

The kids all have to go to bed. Anticipation rises and heartbeats increase with the thoughts of Santa bringing presents at that very moment. All the sudden: The morning is here and the kids rush downstairs to see what is there. What a moment of pleasure and surprise to see those gifts so nicely wrapped. This time it's only the iPod shuffle, next time there will surely be more.


  1. So what's your definition of Marketing if a Christmas-like ritual isn't part of that?

  2. Good Marketing may use these time-honored and well-known elements, feelings and traditions like Christmas. In this case, Apple has done an incredible job in creating a deeper ritual. That's why I think it's not adequate to simply call it "Marketing", it is "Christmas" indeed.