The ghost of CES

What's most remarkable about the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas is not what latest technology is being unveiled and by who, it's really about what technology company isn't at the mega event, but yet still generates the most buzz.

What's most remarkable about the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas is not what latest technology is being unveiled and by who, it's really about what technology company isn't at the mega event, but yet still generates the most buzz.

In fact, considering the hefty dose of hype around the event this year, as of yet no true blockbuster technology has been unveiled to live up to that hype. Instead the audience is getting smartphone and tablet technology, attempted iPhone and iPad killers, which ultimately plays right into the hands of Apple PR.

The catch: Apple isn't even at CES.

A CES anchored on tablet and smartphone technology is a PR victory for Apple even before the event concludes. The legion of tech reporters at CES, after all, will surely want to know how the technology stacks up to Apple's iPhone and iPad. It's a question few tech PR pros want to take.

Expectations that the carrier Verizon would introduce an iPhone compatible to its wireless network didn't happen. But the rumors were enough for Apple to steal headlines, and minimize its competitors at the event.

Rumor has it that Las Vegas bookies even set odds on Verizon unveiling an iPhone for their network.

Meanwhile, rumors of a soon to come iPad 2 circulating on the web, along with Apple officially opening the Mac App store, stole headlines away from CES. Even AT&T boosted the Apple brand by announcing it was slashing the price of the iPhone by 50%

One tech PR pro said a few of the largest tech companies at CES this year may opt out next year, avoiding paying thousands of marketing dollars to showcase or launch new products when so many others are. Apple didn't pay dime to be at CES, but you can bet they will dominate discussion at the event.

The challenge for PR at CES is how to promote clients, without reminding people of the Apple brand.

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