There’s a lot of excitement about two management-level Best Buy missive that reference the October iPhone 5 launch. But does everything on these documents add up to a confirmation?
For as much as Apple’s Worldwide Loyalty Team may (or may not, considering yet another lost iPhone prototype) be adept at keeping a lid on new Apple products, their draconian presence only extends so far. (No farther than the SFPD, apparently.) Components suppliers have proven to be much more porous than Cupertino in leaking information, and U.S. retailers and mobile carriers even moreso.
That’s why so many eager iPhone 5 users are heralding the BGR release of a leaked Best Buy document that purports to frame the launch date in week one of October. BGR‘s excitement is palpable, particularly with respect to the Sprint announcement: “What’s a tad bit more interesting, however, is the mention (and further anticipation) that Sprint will be carrying the iPhone 5 at launch. Best Buy makes sure to note that Apple product introduction and launch dates are subject to change, but a preorder date changing is pretty different from a new carrier getting a phone for the first time.”
An early October launch of the iPhone 5 still represents the best educated guess of when the iPhone 5 may be launched. As a result, the BGR document at face value seems plausible, and in the end, it may prove to be a true prophesy for when the next iPhone gets released.
That being said, it cannot be ignored that the Best Buy document isn’t giving BBYM managers — or us — anything even close to a confirmation on the iPhone 5 being announced during the Labor Day week. The document is simply giving managers a heads-up on the same expectation that all of us have had up until late last week: that the iPhone 5 maybe would have been announced this week.
The thing is, it’s looking less and less likely that it will be.
In the article that we published a couple of days ago giving some alternatives to the seemingly failed September 7th launch, we talk about how difficult it would be at this juncture to mobilize the media for an effective iPhone product announcement this week. Considering that this is a shortened week in the U.S., with virtually no one in the media (myself excluded) working, the only realistic media event could take place this Friday — a typically poor choice for any press conference, as far as days of the week go.
And considering that BGR released this purported Best Buy document yesterday, it’s sort of old news: most of the tech media had written off a Labor Day week iPhone 5 media event last Friday, when no media invites were sent out by Apple.
One fact still remains: while Best Buy executives most definitely know the whats and whens of the next iPhone, that information will continue to be redacted from store manager-level missives like the BGR document until the iPhone 5 announcement is complete. These directives, after all, are far from being classified, secure documents. Anyone who has ever worked at a McDonalds, Blockbuster video, supermarket, or other major retailer has seen documents like these splayed out on a manager’s desk or table in pain sight of employees, usually in an unkempt, coffee-stained condition.
With all due respect to Best Buy store managers: while I’m sure you do great work, Best Buy would never trust you with information like the iPhone 5′s announcement date.
And when you think about it, the managers at Best Buy, Target, Radio Shack, and all of the other retailers who carry the iPhone don’t even need to know when the iPhone 5 gets announced. Since Apple typically puts a buffer of time between their product announcements and actual launches, there will be ample time to send out marching orders to store-level managers once the iPhone 5 takes the stage at Cupertino.
Post Script: BGR Gets Their Own Report Wrong
Whenever there are inconsistencies between a leaked iPhone 5 photo or document and the report itself, it always makes me wary. And there is a major inconsistency in the BGR report that is worth noting.
The Best Buy document says: “iPhone 5 product introduction expected, pre-sales begin for expected October week 1 launch . . .” This simply means that Best Buy is telling its managers to keep a heads-up for the iPhone 5 announcement this week, since, once it happens, pre-orders will begin in earnest. After all, the page we’re looking at is for “Week 9/4.” That means that everything that we’re seeing listed on this page pertains directly to the Labor Day week.
But BGR gets this wrong.
In their report, they state: “Thanks to a leaked document from a Best Buy source, we have discovered that Best Buy and Best Buy Mobile stores are anticipating taking preorders for the iPhone 5 starting in the first week of October.” Um, no. The document clearly says that pre-orders would begin this week, should the iPhone 5 get announced, ahead of an October week 1 launch. Did BGR actually read this document more than once?
Now, everyone makes mistakes, and the great thing about a blog is that it’s much easier to correct them than it is to deal with errata in a print document. But BGR doesn’t even get their correction completely right. Their update states: “Our source clarified that it’s actually possible presales will be starting this week with the phone arriving in the first week of October, not preorders starting in October.” It isn’t “possible” that pre-orders could start this week if the iPhone 5 is announced; if it is announced, pre-orders would start this week.
In light of these inconsistencies, I call for BGR to make every page of that purported document available to the media. It would also be helpful to unearth other examples of similar Best Buy documents to compare the voracity of this one. Again: while the possibility of an early October release is very plausible, it still doesn’t make this story — or document — either truthful or accurate in and of itself.
By Michael Nace