Boeing Dreamliner Nightmare

January 11, 2013

Any company is worried when it launches a new product.  There are concerns over sales and performance.  One example is when new car model is offered.  People often shy away from the first year of a new car because there are “bugs” in the system that need to fixed.  The people buying the new product become beta testers and often have to endure recalls to correct the flaws that are expected to appear.  Now when your new product costs over $200 million and flies through the air, there is even greater concerns when bugs appear.  However, any new product has minor problems, even airplanes.

Boeings new 787 “Dreamliner” has been having its share of minor problems in January of 2013.  Early on there was a braking problem then a fuel leak that brought out emergency crews at Logan International Airport in Boston.  Here is part of the story about the fuel leak:

A Boeing Co. 787 Dreamliner jet operated by Japan Airlines Co. is towed back to the gate at Logan International Airport in Boston, Massachusetts, U.S., on Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2013. The plane leaked fuel while taxiing for departure today in Boston, in the second incident involving the Boeing Co. aircraft in two days. Photographer: Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Bloomberg

“I am 100 percent convinced the airplane is safe to fly,” Mike Sinnett, chief 787 project engineer, said on a conference call with reporters yesterday. “I fly on it myself all the time.”

Thus far, the airlines that have ordered the planes have expressed confidence in the new plane.

More recently, there was an oil leak and problem with the cockpit.  These problems were experienced by All Nippon Airways.  Japan has been the largest purchaser of the Dreamliner but you also have airlines in Qatar, India, Ethiopia, Poland, and the U.S. who have purchased and/or are using the planes.

The Dreamliner is revolutionary in its use of composites and fuel savings generated by using these new materials.  The minor problems have caught the attention of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in the U.S.   The FAA has ordered a comprehensive review of the critical systems on the Dreamliner. This could further eroded airline and passenger confidence in the new airplane.

Here is the response from Boeing:

EVERETT, Wash., Jan. 11, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — Boeing [NYSE:BA] is confident in the design and performance of the 787. It is a safe and efficient airplane that brings tremendous value to our customers and an improved flying experience to their passengers.

The airplane has logged 50,000 hours of flight and there are more than 150 flights occurring daily. Its in-service performance is on par with the industry’s best-ever introduction into service – the Boeing 777. Like the 777, at 15 months of service, we are seeing the 787’s fleet wide dispatch reliability well above 90 percent.

More than a year ago, the 787 completed the most robust and rigorous certification process in the history of the FAA. We remain fully confident in the airplane’s design and production system.

Regular reviews of program and technical progress are an important part of the validation and oversight process that has created today’s safe and efficient air transportation system. While the 787’s reliability is on par with the best in class, we have experienced in-service issues in recent months and we are never satisfied while there is room for improvement. For that reason, today we jointly announced with the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) the start of a review of the 787’s recent issues and critical systems.

We welcome the opportunity to conduct this joint review. Our standard practice calls on us to apply rigorous and ongoing validation of our tools, processes and systems so that we can always be ensured that our products bring the highest levels of safety and reliability to our customers.

Just as we are confident in the airplane, we are equally confident in the regulatory process that has been applied to the 787 since its design inception. With this airplane, the FAA conducted its most robust certification process ever. We expect that this review will complement that effort.

Contact:
Lori Gunter
787 Communications
+1 206-931-5919
loretta.m.gunter@boeing.com

 

Japan Dreamliner

Questions to Consider

1.  How bad is the situation for Boeing and what leads you to that conclusion?

2.  What role can public relations play in helping to address this problem?

3.  Some media outlets have found experts that say minor problems are common in new airplanes.  Who might this type of information help Boeing?  Hurt Boeing?

4.  Why should the FAA announcement be so significant in this case?

5.  How would you evaluate Boeing’s response and what is the rationale for your evaluation?

6.  What else might Boeing doing and how would those efforts help?

7.  How is publicity working against Boeing in this case?

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The “War” Season: Annual Concern over Christmas Advertising

December 4, 2010

The annual debate of whether or not Christmas appears in a company’s advertising has arrived.  The name for this event:  “The War on Christmas.”  Oddly if you go back a few years you find people complaining about the over-commercialization of Christmas by companies.  So you may not win whatever side you are on.  The War is based on advertising not using Christmas but instead a more generic term like the happy holidays or season’s greetings.  War advocates maintain this is political correctness and is deemed an attack on the faith.  Others feel the more generic terms are more inclusive in a society that is increasing diverse and not everyone is Christian. 

The American Family Association (AFA) leads the charge in the War on Christmas.  The AFA is a Christian based group looking to promote family values—as they define them.  They are very active in using public relations to support their position, which is their right in the US.  Visit their web site if want to see how effectively activist groups can use public relations.  Whether or not you agree with their views, their public relations works is very good. 

Here is how the AFA explains their annual rating of companies in relation to the War on Christmas. 

Based on current advertising, below is a list of companies that avoid, ban, or use the term “Christmas” in their advertising.  We will continually update the list, so check back often.

Criteria – AFA reviewed up to four areas to determine if a company was “Christmas-friendly” in their advertising: print media (newspaper inserts), broadcast media (radio/television), website and/or personal visits to the store. If a company’s ad has references to items associated with Christmas (trees, wreaths, lights, etc.), it was considered as an attempt to reach “Christmas” shoppers.

If a company has items associated with Christmas, but did not use the word “Christmas,” then the company is considered as censoring “Christmas.” http://action.afa.net/Detail.aspx?id=2147486887

It is clever how they create and code the list.  Here are the lists for the three categories:

Companies FOR “Christmas” 

Amazon.com
Bass Pro Shops
Bed Bath & Beyond
Belk
Best Buy
Big Lots
Books-A-Million
Cabella’s
Collective Brands
Costco
Dick’s Sporting Goods
Family Dollar
Dollar General
H.E.B. Stores
Hallmark
Harris Teeter Stores
Hobby Lobby
JC Penney
JoAnn Fabrics & Crafts Stores
Kmart
Kohl’s
Kroger
Lowe’s
Macy’s
Meijer
Menard’s
Michael’s Stores
Neiman Marcus
Nordstrom
Office Max
Petsmart
Pier One Imports
Publix
QVC
Rite Aid
Sears
Scheels Sporting Goods
Super D Drug Stores
Target
Toys R Us
Wal-Mart/Sam’s Club

Companies marginalizing “Christmas” 

Bath & Body Works
Dollar Tree
Hy-Vee Stores
Old Navy
Limited Brands
Safeway
Starbucks
Walgreens
Whole Foods 

Companies against “Christmas” 

Banana Republic (NEW!)
Barnes & Noble
CVS Pharmacy
Gap Stores (NEW!)
Hancock Fabrics
NASCAR
Office Depot
Radio Shack
Staples
SUPERVALU
Victoria’s Secret

But the AFA sees danger in War.  Here is a statement at the end of the list “If you hear of instances of hostility toward Christmas expression, please let us know. AFA is working with the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) to provide resources for government and public school authorities laboring under the misimpression they must censor Christmas. You can contact ADF at (1-800-TELL-ADF ) for a copy of their legal analysis and memo on rights of seasonal expression at Christmas. We want to inform public officials about the law, and then encourage them to take a stand for Christmas.”  

Questions to Consider

1. Why do you think the “War on Christmas” gets so much attention each year?

 2. What is the risk to an organization for appearing on the marginalized or against Christmas lists?

 3. If management asked for your ideas on using Christmas or not in advertising, what would you recommend and why?

 4. What is the difference between being viewed as not using Christmas in advertising and being against or censoring Christmas?

 5.  How does the AFA use public relations to promote its view of the “War on Christmas?”

 6. How important is the Internet for promoting the “War on Christmas?”


Is it ET or Alf? NASA will tell us the next day

December 2, 2010

Below is the full news release from NASA that kick started a wave of Internet speculation about aliens.  Here are some sample Internet headlines from page 1 of a Yahoo search:

  • Extraterrestrial life:  NASA Press Conference Ignites ET Rumors
  • Tomorrow’s NASA Press Conference:  Aliens Exist!
  • Are the Aliens Coming?  NASA to Hold Press Conference

It seems it is time for FBI Special Agent Fox Mulder to come out of retire.  (Search the X-Files or Fox Mulder if you do not get that reference).   Dec. 2, 2010 maybe the day we learn they are hear or out there or not.  Read the news release for yourself.

Full Text of NASA News Release

Dwayne Brown
Headquarters, Washington                               
202-358-1726
dwayne.c.brown@nasa.gov
 
Cathy Weselby
Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif.
650-604-2791
cathy.weselby@nasa.gov

Nov. 29, 2010

MEDIA ADVISORY : M10-167

NASA Sets News Conference on Astrobiology Discovery; Science Journal Has Embargoed Details Until 2 p.m. EST On Dec. 2

WASHINGTON — NASA will hold a news conference at 2 p.m. EST on Thursday, Dec. 2, to discuss an astrobiology finding that will impact the search for evidence of extraterrestrial life. Astrobiology is the study of the origin, evolution, distribution and future of life in the universe.

The news conference will be held at the NASA Headquarters auditorium at 300 E St. SW, in Washington. It will be broadcast live on NASA Television and streamed on the agency’s website at http://www.nasa.gov.

Participants are:
–     Mary Voytek, director, Astrobiology Program, NASA Headquarters, Washington
–     Felisa Wolfe-Simon, NASA astrobiology research fellow, U.S. Geological Survey, Menlo Park, Calif.
–     Pamela Conrad, astrobiologist, NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.
–     Steven Benner, distinguished fellow, Foundation for Applied Molecular Evolution, Gainesville, Fla.
–     James Elser, professor, Arizona State University, Tempe

Media representatives may attend the conference or ask questions by phone or from participating NASA locations. To obtain dial-in information, journalists must send their name, affiliation and telephone number to Steve Cole at stephen.e.cole@nasa.gov or call 202-358-0918 by noon Dec. 2.

For NASA TV streaming video and downlink information, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/ntv

For more information about NASA astrobiology activities, visit:

http://astrobiology.nasa.gov

http://www.nasa.gov/home/hqnews/2010/nov/HQ_M10-167_Astrobiology.html

Here is a sample of a tradition news story about the NASA announcement:

(Washington, DC) — NASA is scheduled to hold a news conference at 2 p.m., Eastern time, today to discuss an astrobiology finding that it says will impact the search for extraterrestrial life.

Space.com reports that’s all that’s been needed to set off a flurry of Internet rumors that extraterrestrial life has actually been discovered.

One rumor is that microbial life has been found on Titan, the largest moon of Saturn.

The press conference will focus on an embargoed study being published at 2 p.m. in the journal “Science.” Some science journalists, who received an advanced look at papers under the agreement not to reveal the findings until they’re published, have thrown a damper on the speculation.

http://arklatexhomepage.com/fulltext/?nxd_id=140306

Part of the mystery is the embargo for the story.  An embargo is no unusual but does fuel speculation.  The core of the excitement is the term astrobiology.  Never had a class in that?  Here is how NASA defines it:

“Astrobiology is the study of the origin, evolution, distribution, and future of life in the universe. This multidisciplinary field encompasses the search for habitable environments in our Solar System and habitable planets outside our Solar System, the search for evidence of prebiotic chemistry and life on Mars and other bodies in our Solar System, laboratory and field research into the origins and early evolution of life on Earth, and studies of the potential for life to adapt to challenges on Earth and in space.

NASA’s Astrobiology Program addresses three fundamental questions: How does life begin and evolve? Is there life beyond Earth and, if so, how can we detect it? What is the future of life on Earth and in the universe? In striving to answer these questions and improve understanding of biological, planetary, and cosmic phenomena and relationships among them, experts in astronomy and astrophysics, Earth and planetary sciences, microbiology and evolutionary biology, cosmochemistry, and other relevant disciplines are participating in astrobiology research and helping to advance the enterprise of space exploration.” http://astrobiology.nasa.gov/about-astrobiology/

At a time when a shuttle has been delayed over a month and there are only two launches remain with future funding in doubt, this is creating excitement and attention for NASA.  

Question to Consider

  1.  What makes the news release “effective” publicity?
  2. Do you have any ethical concerns about how NASA handled the situation?  Why or why not?
  3. How is the Internet acting to amplify a simple news release and build a bigger story?
  4. What is the rationale for using an embargo in a news release and the value to the person or organization issuing the news releases?
  5. What lessons can other organization learn about media (online and traditional) from this case?
  6. What public relations dangers does the anticipation create for NASA?

Here was the announcement:

NASA-Funded Research Discovers Life Built With Toxic Chemical
12.02.10
 

Image of Mono Lake Research area Image of Mono Lake Research area
Click photo for larger image.

Felisa Wolfe-Simon processing mud from Mono Lake to inoculate media to grow microbes on arsenic Felisa Wolfe-Simon processing mud from Mono Lake to inoculate media to grow microbes on arsenic.
Click photo for larger image.

GFAJ-1 grown on arsenic Image of GFAJ-1 grown on arsenic.
Click photo for larger image.

GFAJ-1 grown on phosphorus Image of GFAJ-1 grown on phosphorus.
Click photo for larger image.

NASA-funded astrobiology research has changed the fundamental knowledge about what comprises all known life on Earth.

Researchers conducting tests in the harsh environment of Mono Lake in California have discovered the first known microorganism on Earth able to thrive and reproduce using the toxic chemical arsenic. The microorganism substitutes arsenic for phosphorus in its cell components.

“The definition of life has just expanded,” said Ed Weiler, NASA’s associate administrator for the Science Mission Directorate at the agency’s Headquarters in Washington. “As we pursue our efforts to seek signs of life in the solar system, we have to think more broadly, more diversely and consider life as we do not know it.”

This finding of an alternative biochemistry makeup will alter biology textbooks and expand the scope of the search for life beyond Earth. The research is published in this week’s edition of Science Express.

Carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, phosphorus and sulfur are the six basic building blocks of all known forms of life on Earth. Phosphorus is part of the chemical backbone of DNA and RNA, the structures that carry genetic instructions for life, and is considered an essential element for all living cells.

Phosphorus is a central component of the energy-carrying molecule in all cells (adenosine triphosphate) and also the phospholipids that form all cell membranes. Arsenic, which is chemically similar to phosphorus, is poisonous for most life on Earth. Arsenic disrupts metabolic pathways because chemically it behaves similarly to phosphate.

“We know that some microbes can breathe arsenic, but what we’ve found is a microbe doing something new — building parts of itself out of arsenic,” said Felisa Wolfe-Simon, a NASA Astrobiology Research Fellow in residence at the U.S. Geological Survey in Menlo Park, Calif., and the research team’s lead scientist. “If something here on Earth can do something so unexpected, what else can life do that we haven’t seen yet?”

The newly discovered microbe, strain GFAJ-1, is a member of a common group of bacteria, the Gammaproteobacteria. In the laboratory, the researchers successfully grew microbes from the lake on a diet that was very lean on phosphorus, but included generous helpings of arsenic. When researchers removed the phosphorus and replaced it with arsenic the microbes continued to grow. Subsequent analyses indicated that the arsenic was being used to produce the building blocks of new GFAJ-1 cells.


A New PR Television Show: What Might It Be

December 1, 2010

This week a news report is circulating that a new television based around public relations may be in development.  New York Magazine has reported Shonda Rhimes, the creator of Grey’s Anatomy, was developing a show for ABC centered on public-relations consultant Judy Smith.  Smith has worked with such high profile clients as Bill Clinton, Michael Vick, and New York Governor David.  As you might guess, she was called in to handle the crises for these and other clients.  As the article noted, “now she’s mining the world of crisis management for a new show.”  The article goes on to say  “Per the logline we’ve heard, the currently untitled project (which some development trackers had been calling In Crisis) will revolve around the life and work of a professional fixer and her dysfunctional staff. Rhimes is writing the script for the pilot and will executive produce with her ABC Studios–based Shondaland production company.”(http://nymag.com/daily/entertainment/2010/11/shonda_rhimes_in_crisis_judy_s.html).

It would be great if this would be the first show to reveal to true working of public relations to the masses.  The average person really has little idea what real public relations is about/involves.  People generally know the negative stereotypes that are reported in movies, television, news reports, and even popular press public relations books.  It is commonly assumed public relations is “spin” and the PR person’s job is to generate positive publicity and hide any possible negative information.  Perhaps a public relations show that deals with crises might show how public relations people often try to disclose negative information as part of crisis communication and not hide the negatives.  Of course many people often think that crisis management tries to hide negative information but the opposite is true.  Of course doctors may not think Grey’s Anatomy is an accurate representation of what does on in a hospital so the hope may be misplaced.  Still, it would be nice for a show using public relations beyond “spin” and “hype.”

This hope is based on past spin/publicity based shows that report to be showing the public relations industry.  In recent years we have had PowerR Girls then this year’s SPINdustry (now The Spin Crowd).  The greatest disappointment for these two “reality shows” is that they show people claiming to be practicing public relations.  We see drama, vanity, and looking good as the primary job skill for public relations.  We never hear or see mention of true knowledge and skill sets required for PR.  If you wanted to see how shallow PR can be portrayed, visit The Spin Crowd web site:  http://www.eonline.com/on/shows/spin_crowd/index.html .  Apparently there are no special job skills for PR—anyone with looks can do it—and PR is about party planning and publicity.

Edward Bernays was not stranger to publicity.  But he was very much about the strategy behind these tactics.  The PR reality shows emphasize the mindless application of tactics with strategy rarely making an appearance.  This might make for good television but it only serves to further erode the reputation of the public relations industry. So if the new show does appear and had actors in even one staff meeting where there talk about strategy, it will be a major step forward for PR portrayals on television.  Grey’s Anatomy does show doctors operating and diagnosing patients.  Maybe the PR people meet with clients and discuss how to solve their problems—show critical thinking skills.  Perhaps even a strategy session where the practitioners discuss how to handle a crisis.  They have strategy sessions in medical and legal shows so there is hope, however slim it maybe, for a fictional PR show to actually “show” strategy.

Questions to Consider

1.  How fair is it that the media treats public relations as spin?

2.  What is the harm for the field when public relations becomes equated with spin?

3.  How does spin differ from publicity?  Define both terms.

4.  What are the ethical implications of spin?

5.  Why does matter how television portrays public relations?

6.  What are the dangers of spin approach to crisis communication?


Voluntarily stuck in a Plane: RyanAir Passengers stage sit-in

November 19, 2010

Ryanair flight left Fez, Morocco late.  The passengers were mainly French tourists returning home from their vacations.  The flight delay created problems for the landing.  The plane was to have landed in Beauvais, France. Instead, the flight landed in Liege, Belgium which is over 200 miles away from the original landing place.  Initial reports claimed the flight was too late and the airport had closed.  Later accounts said the airport was closed due to fog and more than this flight has been diverted.  In fact, a four Ryanair flights found themselves in Liege (http://www.startribune.com/business/108681119.html?elr=KArksLckD8EQDUoaEyqyP4O:DW3ckUiD3aPc:_Yyc:aUvDEhiaE3miUsZ)

As Ryanair noted:  “It is standard safety procedure for all airlines to divert to another airport when weather closes a destination airport, and it is standard procedure to coach passengers to their destination” (http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2010-11-17/ryanair-passengers-refuse-to-leave-paris-flight-sent-to-belgium.html).

It happens, planes are forced for some reason to land at a different airport.  The authors have had that happen.  It creates uncertainty such as how will I get to my intended airport and the car I have parked there?  The usual answer is a bus ride.  A ride on a crowded bus is not what people want to add to the end of their trips.   Passengers on three of the planes “accepted” the bus ride to Beauvais.  Some 90 passengers on one plane decided they had had enough and became angry.  When the crew could not get the people off of the plane, they left.  As they left, the crew locked the toilets and turned off the lights.  But the angry passengers stayed on board for four more hours negotiating with a variety of officials including those from the airport and the police.  “,The passengers were unreasonable and refused to follow the advice which would have allowed them to complete their journey,’ Ryanair spokesman Stephen McNamara said in a statement” (http://www.startribune.com/business/108681119.html?elr=KArksLckD8EQDUoaEyqyP4O:DW3ckUiD3aPc:_Yyc:aUvDEhiaE3miUsZ) . 

Ryanair is a low cost airline that keeps costs low being no frills and charging fees for anything resembling a frill including the idea of charging for passengers to use the toilets.  Here is how Ryanair describes itself:

“ Ryanair is the World’s favourite airline and operates more than 1,400 flights per day from 44 bases and 1100+ low fare routes across 27 countries, connecting 160 destinations. Ryanair operates a fleet of 250 new Boeing 737-800 aircraft with firm orders for a further 64 new aircraft (before taking account of planned disposals), which will be delivered over the next 2 years. Ryanair currently has a team of more than 8,000 people and expects to carry approximately 73.5 million passengers in the current fiscal year.

Here is a brief history of Europe’s first and largest low fares airline” http://www.ryanair.com/en/about

Christian Delcourt, the spokesman for the Liege Airport described the situation as follows:  “’It was a very tense situation.Some of these people were very aggressive, very rude.’” 

The BBC story included comments from passengers and the airline.  Here is part of the story:

“’The plane did not land in Beauvais but in Liege without warning. Consequently, we refused to leave the plane,’ Mylene Netange [a passenger] told AFP.

Reda Yahiyaoui, a businessman who was travelling with his wife, a two-month-old baby and a three-year-old, said passengers had been left with no water and the toilets in the plane were locked.

‘The pilot left and he even left the cockpit door open,’ he said.

Mr McNamara denied that the crew had abandoned the passengers, saying that they had stayed in the plane for an hour before leaving and adding that they only disembarked when passengers became ‘disruptive’” http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-11776062

Questions to Consider

1.  How serious of a threat is the incident to Ryanair’s reputation?  Explain your evaluation.

2.  Do you feel the Ryanair comments reported here were effective in handling the situation?  Explain why or why not.

3.  Were the passengers being unreasonable and does affect the evaluation of Ryanair’s efforts?  Explain why or why not.

4.  Why would this story get so much attention in the online and traditional news media?

5.  Ryanair did not post its comments in its web site.  What are the advantages and disadvantages of that communication decision?

6.  What does this situation say about the line “the customer is always right?”


SPINdustry? And we wonder why PR is not taken seriously.

February 24, 2010

Public relation (PR) as an industry has a reputation problem.  The problem stems from stakeholders and other managers not taking PR seriously.  This is due in part to a lack of understanding about what PR can do.  Too often PR is treated as simple publicity and not the larger management function that it can be.  Care publicity can be strategic and valuable but PR is more than publicity and is not simple publicity—doing anything to attract attention.  However, the public face of PR is primarily publicity.  The popular press books on PR emphasize publicity.  Now Kim Kardashian, a person whose claim to fame is wanting to be famous and exposing herself to the world via reality television, produced a documentary/show about the PR industry titled SPINdustry.  Interestingly the show features the celebrity “PR firm” Command PR that created Kim’s fame.  Now she is trying to boost Command PR by sharing them with the world.  All of this has been brought to the public thanks to E televisions.  http://www.gather.com/viewArticle.action?articleId=281474978061279

The show gives us “insights” into the world of celebrity-based PR (not real PR).  We learn about celebrities are book and how a “PR firm” works.  Insights are provided by Command PR founder Jonathan Cheban and his top manager Simon Huck. http://www.gather.com/viewArticle.action?articleId=281474978060489

If the start of the show is any indication, PR is about verbally abusing your staff for putting mustard on your sandwich and swearing profusely for added effect.  This is a formula for reality tv success, not real PR.  On reality tv acting like, pardon the expression but it fits so well, a braying ass is the way to more air time and fame.  If what you do is not that interesting you need to rant and rave.  Give the Kardashians credit, they had interesting lives if you are into following celebrity lives.  The web site for Command PR can be found at http://www.commandpr.com/.  It is only a paragraph about the firm and contact information with music.  The introduction and flashes, however, may induce a seizure.  True to a publicity view of PR is heavy on style and short on substance.

Questions to Consider

  1.  How do shows like SPINdustry help to hold PR back from being taken seriously?
  2. How do you think real PR professionals will react to the show and why?
  3. Is reality tv simply a corruption of publicity?  Why or why not?
  4. Do you see any ethical concerns about this situation?
  5. How would you explain this show if people asked you if that was what PR was like?
  6. How might this show impact the future of public relations?

Is Imagination better than Reality? iPad and Apple Stock drop

January 27, 2010

The Internet buzz for the new Apple tablet has been intense.  See the early blog case about it https://prstrategyandapplication.wordpress.com/2010/01/01/when-a-rumor-is-a-good-thing/.  Or go out online and find any of the thousands of posts and the invention.  It was rumored to do almost anything.  More specifically it would be a huge iPhone (iPod touch if you do not have AT&T) that would be a great book reader, wonderful gaming platform, perfect for on the going video, and change our lives forever.  An investors were excited by the prospect.  Apple stock constantly went up.  There almost seemed to be a correlation between iPad rumors and stock price increases. 

On January 27, 2010, the iPad arrived.  People finally had an official name.  The tablet had been rumored to be called the iSlate or simply called an iPhone on steroids.  Apple CEO Steve Jobs stood before the news media and showed what the iPad could do including a demonstration of its on-screen keyboard.  Finally the Internet had real information, not just rumors or what publishing executives claimed they learned when talking to Apple about creating content for the device.  http://www.ktla.com/business/sns-ap-us-tec-apple,0,3176809.story.  News outlets and bloggers created a second sea of information about the iPad touch.  Now speculation shifted from what it will be and do to how it will impact businesses, society, and individuals. 

We now know the iPad does read books, play video games, show videos, and web browses through the Apple Safari browser.  People speculate that Kindle finally has a rival.  A rival with better features (still speculative) and access to content (a known fact).  So iPad will impact the e-reader market in some way.   Next up is video games.  Smart phones brought mobile gaming to millions through apps.  There are mobile gaming systems such as the DSi but those are for people who want games.  Smart phones drew in another group,  people who were not gaming or mobile gaming but now could and did now.  Will the iPad impact video gaming, especially mobile gaming?  The potential is there with the better screen size reducing eye fatigue and frustration of missing a detail that hurts your game play.  The question will return to price and variety of games.  With apps being plentiful the issue may be more price of the iPad than available content.  http://www.modbee.com/business/story/1023644.html#ixzz0dqE1XIVw

 Video is better with a bigger screen.  High definition is not the same on the iPhone screen compared to a bigger screen.  Also the connectivity of the iPad should make it easier to watch videos, especially streaming videos.  There are application for mobile teleconferencing but more people will watch videos than teleconference.  So changes in how people access video many continue.  Nexflix has direct viewing of films and YouTube will be easier to watch while on the move.   The telconferencing eas was anticipated but, as of now, there is no camera for the iPad.  There is also no Flash capability or USB port.  Here is an article that details what is missing from the iPad http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/blog/2010/jan/28/apple-tablet-computer.  More evidence that our imagination of what the iPad could be does exceed the reality. 

The oddity in all of this is the stock price reaction to the iPad official reveal.  Apple stock prices went down after the announcement.  In early Wednesday trading the share price fell $4.65 or about 2.3% http://www.ktla.com/business/sns-ap-us-tec-apple,0,3176809.story.  Still Apple is well ahead of where share prices began before the iPad buzz.  But we must wonder if the iPad seemed better in our minds than it did in reality?  Yet more disappointment for people wanting to live or visit Pandora.

Questions to Consider

  1.  Was Apple’s publicity build up to the iPad too successful?  Why or why not?
  2. Is it ethical to leak information online to help build interest in a product?  Why or why not?
  3. How did bloggers and the Internet in general help to build interest in the iPad?
  4. How was the iPad build up a type of investor relations?
  5. What is the advantage of Apple making the announcement after the Consumer Electronics Show (CES)?
  6. Why is CES such an important publicity event in the electronics industry?

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