Before 7:00 AM (EST) this morning, popular Gawker Media tech blog Gizmodo posted a story: “Apple Store Down.“
That was it. That was the whole “story.” Gizmodo wasn’t the only blog to post this development. Its competitor blog Engadget posted the story “Apple Store down globally, let the speculation begin.” Geek.com, SlashGear, and Electronista were just a few other tech blogs that followed suit with the same news. Mashable’s “Apple Store Down” announcement was retweeted nearly 900 times.
Within a few hours, the Apple Store was back up. The reason for the outage was a refresh of Apple’s Appeture software suite. Of course, as one reader correctly noted: “In case this wasn’t obvious to people – a web page and online store doesn’t have to be shut down to update it.” [more]
The Apple Store “goes down” on a rather regular basis. In March and then later in July of last year, Gizmodo posted similar “Apple Store Down” notices. Speculation ensued in both cases. However, as the aforementioned reader pointed out, this is actually unnecessary. It appears that announcing “We’ll be back soon” is just one more ingenious Apple branding tactic. Boy, does it ever work.
In the time between the post and the store coming back online, the Gizmodo post alone produced over 100 comments with users speculating about what the service outage could mean: iPad pre-orders? New line of MacBooks with i5 and i7 chips? New iWord/iLife suite? iMac line refresh?
Commenters voiced their individual wishes. User xyzzy01 wrote, “I’m hoping for new Macbook Pros, as I need a new one and I’ve been holding out for the new version since October.” User Mike asked, “I wish [for] a new MacBook Pro and Mac Pro. Core i7 anyone?”
It is almost certain that Apple has no technical reason to take down major pages of its store to refresh or add stocks. It appears the brand has found one more element of its day-to-day business to leverage for brand building.
Apple uses simple store updates to manipulate the media and create free buzz and excitement around the brand in the same way that its annual product releases have become national news events.