PR PLAY OF THE WEEK: Media anticipation bears fruit for Apple

CUPERTINO, CA: Few companies can garner heavy media coverage of an announcement for a coming announcement. Apple is one of the few and the proud.

CUPERTINO, CA: Few companies can garner heavy media coverage of an announcement for a coming announcement. Apple is one of the few and the proud.

The company, notorious for keeping news close to the vest and keeping the media guessing, has been coy for several weeks about whether it intends to get into the digital music business. Rumors have swirled that Apple might launch a digital music service, or buy Vivendi's music division. Apple issued a press release April 16 denying it made an offer to invest in, or buy, a music company. A few days later, the company announced an April 28 press conference that "will be music to your ears." So an announcement of an announcement started another round of the tech media's favorite game of speculating what Apple is up to. "The event could serve as a launching point for a new digital music service that Apple has been working on for some time," wrote CNET staff writer Ian Fried. "[It] also may launch new iPods, replacing the current generation of the digital music player which has grown increasingly scarce on store shelves." Similar speculation could be found on CNN, The Wall Street Journal, Slashdot.org, numerous Apple rumor sites, and tech and news websites from England to India to New Zealand. This is par for the course with Apple. When the company introduced the flat-screen iMac last year, Time landed an exclusive cover story, generating huge publicity, leading Salon.com to label CEO Steve Jobs a "marketing magician." "A computer hardware announcement for a product that's not even available yet, a product that represents primarily a design innovation rather than a technical leap forward, sweeps Afghanistan off the cover of the country's largest newsweekly," wrote Katharine Mieszkowski in Salon.com. This could be much ado about nothing, or it could be another giant leap by Apple. Whatever the announcement, at least we know it will be well-covered.

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