iPhone 12 range launch

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Apple announced a four phone iPhone 12 range:

  • iPhone 12 Mini
  • iPhone 12
  • iPhone 12 Pro
  • iPhone 12 Pro Max

I looked at the event using a social listening tool and the thing that really struck me was where the people commenting on it where commenting from.

iPhone 12 event languages used in 1000s of mentions
Languages versus 1,000s of mentions

Thinking about key Apple markets; at least some of the buzz seems geographically misplaced. There was a distinct lack of discussions happening in Japan and mainland Europe for example. I watched it with a couple of friends based in Hong Kong; but I realise the launch itself would be at an inconvenient time in Japan.

Where was the Japanese pre-event buzz though? Why didn’t Apple do more to build buzz in Japan? Apple has a sizeable market share in Japan and this 5G range of handsets are strategically important to retain that market share.

As for mainland Europe, if social discussions are a proxy for a lack of interest; Apple has a serious problem on its hands. The silence hints a wider question around brand and product relevance. Yes 5G rollout is less advanced than in Asia, but there is also the improved camera and improved 4G reception that the handsets provide. Apple has arguably the best 4G antennas currently available on a handset which would benefit real world performance.

At this time, Apple should be on the up, given that Huawei is no longer a serious contender in the market. Instead there is the silence of one hand clapping.

Here’s what the social discussions looked like during the live event.

iPhone 12 event social mentions over time
Social mentions over time.

As a brand marketer I would be concerned. The fan boys didn’t show, neither did the critics. Yes this launch is happening in a pandemic, but that should help due to the lack of distractions and the break from doom scrolling on social to do something else.

More Apple related posts here and rewatch the iPhone 12 launch online.