After weeks and weeks of speculation, the cat is finally — and I mean finally — out of the bag. The Palm Pre will go on sale in the US on June the 6th, with the Sprint exclusive, for now at least, costing $200 after a $100 mail in rebate with a 2 year contract. If you’re lucky enough to be based in the states, you’ll be able to purchase a Pre at Sprint stores, Best Buy, Radioshack, select Wal-Mart stores and through Sprint’s own website. That’s a pretty decent lineup of distributors and should give the device plenty of shopping mall exposure, presuming of course that Palm can meet the initial demand. And then there’s iPhone.
Apple’s World Wide Developer Conference kicks off just two days after the Pre will go on sale, in which the Cupertino-based company is expected to announcement at least one new model of iPhone running the newly updated iPhone 3.0 OS. That would give Palm just 48 hours without Apple completely hogging the limelight, a strategy that many of my colleagues in the tech media have called out as madness. The argument being that an announcement of a new iPhone will all but knock the Pre completely off the news agenda and make consumers think twice about purchasing Palm’s new device. However, I’m still inclined to think the opposite.
Unannounced Apple products tend to receive so much media and blogosphere hype that they rarely meet expectations and more than often disappoint. Managing expectations is something that Apple has had to become expert at. Under promise and over deliver is one of the company’s core narratives. Unless the next iPhone blows away expectations – it won’t – then it runs a high chance of being compared unfavorably or at least on a par with the Palm Pre, a device that consumers can get their hands on immediately.
The media loves an underdog or at least some kind of competition – conflict is an essential component of any story – and Apple vs Palm fits that need perfectly, guaranteeing that in the days and weeks post-WWDC, Palm will remain part of any iPhone coverage and vice versa.