The way in which we got today's information and "information" regarding Microsoft and Apple's respective tablet projects teaches us something about each of these company's attempts to be secretive. One one hand, we have Microsoft, which announced, or rather let slip, via a Security and Exchange Commission filing that its Surface tablet will come out alongside Windows 8 on October 26, reports Supersite for Window's Paul Thurrott. Apple, on the other hand, hasn't confirmed anything, but "sources who have proven accurate in the past" told iMore's Rene Ritchie Apple will make its iPad Mini and iPhone 5 announcements will happen on Wednesday, September 12, with the devices hitting stores September 21. These news (and "news") items might read as similar illuminations: Tech Company to Announce new Product Soon. But, really, we get two distinct attempts at keeping hype up before the actual release date, with seasoned Apple having mastered the mystery game by saying little and getting loud results more than noobie Microsoft's loud attempts to say nothing.
Since the week leading up to the event where it introduced its first ever own tablet, Microsoft has attempted Apple's game with a cryptic invitation for a secretive, yet hyped Los Angeles announcement. That worked out fine, since it created a ton of buzz for a deserved product launch. But, it decided to keep the secret thing going, failing to mention price, availability, battery life, and data for the device. That strategy, compared to the way Apple does it, however, hasn't turned out as well. Let's take a look.
How it's working out for Apple: Hype heightened. Apple says nothing until it puts out an event invitation, which generally gives a clue to what reporters and Apple fanboys should expect. Per usual, this patterns has given the fanboys something to talk about, without giving anything away. This rumor has gotten picked apart for its accuracy, leading the techies to believe it accurate because Apple is expected to release new things this fall. Plus the tech company often uses Wednesdays. And, finally, iMore has proven itself in this category before, getting the iPad release date right. Even with all the evidence, however, Apple hasn't confirmed anything, giving tech whisperers an actual invitation to look forward to.
How it's working out for Microsoft: Hype squashed. Microsoft, too, decided to keep mum on its release date, looking for the same speculative hype as Apple. It worked, until today. Instead of making us wait until the date, Microsoft slipped this bit of information into an SEC filing. Perhaps the company thought nobody would notice? At the very least, it could have put out a press release. But, now, we just know. And, it's so far off that we can't even get excited for an announcement next week. It is just coming in a few far months.
How it's working out for Apple: Hype heightened. Again, Apple says nothing. But going off of previous tablet pricing scales, users know what to expect. But, some believable rumormongering says that Apple will release a mini-tablet that will cost less than the standard $500.
How it's working out for Microsoft: Hype deflated, deflated even more, then elevated a bit. After the event, Microsoft said nothing about pricing, which had people angry and worried because the company has never released a tablet before. What can we expect? That only left speculators to put the price tag at either $799 or over $1,000 dollars. A very expensive bummer. But then, the "downcast fanboys," as The Next Web put it had their spirits lifted when a new, new rumor said the tablet will "not cost $1,000." Phew.
How it's working out for Apple: Hype neutral. We know what to expect from Apple's tablets. On WiFi the latest model boasts 10 hours. It will only get better than that. Or, more powerful.
How it's working out for Microsoft: Hype comparatively bad. Without any information on battery life, the rumorers could only compare the Surface to the iPad. One estimate found that the Surface would get 7.5 to 12.5 hours, with the Surface Pro only getting 6 hours.
How it's working out for Apple: Hype neutral. We already know that Apple partners with AT&T and Verizon for 4G LTE. The rumorers don't expect new carriers to jump on. But that meets expectations.
How it's working out for Microsoft: Hype neutral to bad. Microsoft didn't mention any wireless carrier partnerships during the event. The speculation that followed said it would be WiFi only, a medium sized disappointment. Though, if Microsoft does announced some data availability, it would surprise the crowd.
This is Microsoft's first go at the secret thing, so we'll give it some credit for trying. But, this time around, Apple has won.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.