Tim Cook stated, “it is the next chapter in Apple’s story” as the technology giant revealed their latest batch of high-end consumer technology products, the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus and Apple Watch at the Flint Performing Arts Center in Cupertino, California. The live-streamed event was visible around the world and millions responded almost instantly via social media, speaking along a series of Apple hashtags and social conversation threads all while sharing their unbiased, unrestrained opinions. To get a clear picture of initial consumer response to the new product and new wearable product line, we turned to ForSight to analyze the conversation surrounding the iPhone 6 and the Apple Watch.
When we first looked into the brand’s product line perception among their earliest responders, we used Brightview analysis to understand the social media sentiment. Due the nature of Apple’s topical news value, we knew a majority of the conversation would prove to be “news sharing” and neutral in sentiment. We removed this and off-topic conversation from the launch to focus in on the product discussion. The majority of conversation remains decidedly positive for the iPhone, with positive sentiment at 22% of total conversation.
The main concern in iPhone consumer conversation seems to be centered around the price of the new phone. The next significant iPhone concern was the overall size of the phone; some discussed it being almost too large to pocket. The iPhone Plus was created to offer a competitive edge for Apple in the larger phone markets, where Samsung, Motorola and other android products have built up the market of “bigger screen” phones. Conversation seems decidedly split on the need and demand for the larger product size.
Using our latest technology measuring the time of the day and day of the week of social traffic, we compiled hourly breakdowns of where the author of posts sourced their posts at the time they posted it. It is clear a majority of social media posts were created between 1 pm and 3 pm on Tuesday, September 9th.
This illustrates the significance of the live stream event in garnering customer response and depth of initial emotional reaction. If the press conference had not been streamed via Apple.com and coordinating social media tags shared prior to the event, evaluating the initial consumer response would be wildly reduced. Apple has successfully adapted their real-time and social media marketing efforts for the digital age.
Another excited segment of the Apple consumer base had a great deal of positive response to the higher quality camera lense inserted into the iPhone 6. There is a strong segment of consumers that use their iPhones as their primary photo device; the sentiment over the high quality lense offered positive sentiment for the new phone features.
Initial conversation surrounding the Apple Watch did not have as strong of a positive response. The majority of sentiment centered around the underwhelming qualities of the first Apple wearable product. The conversation does not delve particularly into the specifics of design or features (which is understandable due to the lack of product debut until 2015). The greatest question from consumers seems to reason: why do I need both Apple iPhone and Apple Watch? Apple has made us aware of the need we didn’t know we needed with product debuts in the past.
While it appeared that the #Applepay discussion was talked about, it only garnered less than 1% of overall conversation among Apple fans. While the innovation was a necessity, as some other smart phone manufacturers have had NFC (Near-Field-Communication) capabilities from as early as 2011, it did not offer a great deal of interest either way from Apple followers. Apple managed to slide their late inclusion to their feature field largely under the radar of initial interests.
Despite negative sentiment surrounding the Apple Watch and some critical commentary of the value of Apple’s first wearable technology, Apple continues to impress on their iPhone line and the grandeur of their media presentations. The next chapter for Apple seems decidedly positive. Apple will need to position the new Apple Watch effectively to differentiate between the phone and watch, and bring that “must-have” value that Apple lovers everywhere enjoy for their array of commercially-successful products. We will have to see how the Apple Watch performs in 2015 among the most rapturous of techie fans, but it appears the positive sentiment for the iPhone product line has not faded.