Friday, May 02, 2014

if you could only attend one of the two?

The 2014 Apple Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) opens June 2nd, in San Francisco, at which the company is widely expected to have something more to say about its reportedly health-related 'iWatch' product. Arch-competitor Samsung just announced its own health-related event five days earlier, also in San Francisco.

I have to wonder just who Samsung thinks is going to attend their event. Local tech journalists with nothing better to do, obviously, but what if you were a tech journalist based somewhere further away than San Jose or Sacramento, and weren't already planning to spend the week leading up to WWDC seeing the sights of San Francisco, and had invitations to both events, but could only reasonably attend one of them, which one would you choose? For most, the choice would be obvious, and it wouldn't be Samsung.

We can presume the coverage of the Samsung event will come from 1) locals, 2) junior staffers sent by their editors, and perhaps 3) a vacationing pundit or two.

So why is Samsung going to the trouble when the most likely outcome is that their event will serve as a set, which merely lofts the ball for Apple's spike?

I see three ways in which Samsung stands to benefit.

If Apple makes no mention of anything resembling an 'iWatch' in the public keynote which opens WWDC, then, for a few weeks or months, Samsung looks like the company that's actually doing something about health, and gains a degree of credibility for being in the market from the beginning, when in fact they are very late entrants.

If, on the other hand, Apple does introduce the 'iWatch', Samsung's event will serve to focus even more attention on it than would have otherwise been the case, drumming up even more hype, and, presumably, expanding the size of the potential market for health-related devices in general, of which Samsung might reasonably expect to eventually inherit a sizable chunk.

However, the real coup for Samsung would be if the state of readiness of the 'iWatch' project is such that Apple would prefer to delay its announcement, but, having been thus challenged by Samsung, opt to go ahead with a pre-announcement, even though product availability is still months away, thus providing Samsung with both a clear target and time enough to pull off one of their rapid cloning acts.

Very clever, actually.

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