On September 7 at 10 AM, Tim Cook will walk on stage and start the most anticipated tech press conference of the year — the introduction of the new iPhone. In New York, two hours later and right around the time Apple’s conference ends, Sony will also introduce the PlayStation 4 ‘Neo’. These two companies will be fighting for your attention in a sort of press conference face-off.
Sure, you might think that many PlayStation fans don’t care about the iPhone, and many iPhone fans don’t want to buy a PlayStation. But that’s not how news cycles work.
Apple has arguably perfected the product unveiling press conference over the past twenty years. Since then, tech companies have reproduced the same pattern — they ache for the spotlight.
Sony could have unveiled the PlayStation 4 at E3 in June, or during the Gamescom last week. But the company chose to do its own mega-event in New York three months later in the big PlayStation theater in Times Square.
The reason why these conferences exist is that they have become entertainment shows of their own. Millions of people will watch the live streams, talk about them, share the news with their friends. And of course, thousands of journalists will attend them.
While TechCrunch will cover both events, many outlets don’t have the resources to send journalists to both events. They’ll have to make a tough decision. Similarly, newspapers will put one story at the top of the page and the other at the bottom. Tech sites will be uploading Apple hands-on videos during the Sony conference. Newsletters will mention one product before the other.
More importantly, what will you talk about the next day? What are you going to see in your Facebook newsfeed on September 8? The winner won’t just be the company that’s going to unveil the most surprising product. The iPhone is more popular than the PlayStation, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that Apple is going to win this fight. Sony and Apple will try to tell the most compelling story.
All of this might sound like inside baseball, but one of these two companies is going to regret the timing of their press conference the next morning. This scheduling decision could end up costing Apple or Sony millions of dollars.