Equally impressive, however, is the way that Apple marketed this launch, from the day that Steve Jobs introduced the iPhone at MacWorld back in January to the actual debut on June 28th. Every step of the way, it was a textbook marketing effort - all in less than six months.
If you think about it, Apple did their homework, developed a product that people wanted and needed, created a brilliant marketing and advertising campaign (that is ongoing), and fanned the flames of buzz and word of mouth. They even sent a "heads-up" email to members of their database the day before the launch - not taking anything for granted.
But the key to the campaign was the demonstration of how the iPhone looks and works. If you think about the ads you've seen, Apple let the device sell itself. The TV commercials are clever demos that show the iPhone in action. Once you've "experienced" it via the spots, you "get" the concept, and you want one even more.
Contrast that with the HD Radio situation. At the end of the day, HD Radio may be a wonderful product that most people have simply not experienced. As we saw in our Tech Poll III this past February, a key obstacle to purchasing an HD Radio is that many people have never seen or heard one, nor do they know anyone who owns one.
Apple had some of these same challenges prior to the launch of the iPhone. How do you show consumers what this device is all about before it reaches the marketplace? Simple. You develop and create TV commercials that show the product in action.
If HD Radio has any prayer of becoming a player, a plan for marketing the features and benefits of the radio itself, as well as a means for consumers to demo it, is going to need to be developed. And fast.