We live in the information age. We want info instantaneously. We certainly do have the necessary channels to get that kind of information, up to the very hour in the latest news. There’s even efforts being made to have this need for “being connected” into a psychological disorder. That’s neither here nor there.
Apple has always had the same culture within it’s organization since Steve Jobs has been CEO. Secrecy has been it’s primary weapon, and they arguably do it better than any other company out there. Why is it working so well now? I think mainly because of two things: Apple’s move to Intel and the aforementioned information age.
The Intel move gave more performance throughout the board on OS X, a welcome update. It also gave those who weren’t quite ready to move to OS X “cold turkey” the change to keep Windows around for a bit longer while they get used to an entirely new environment.
As for the information age theory, Apple’s culture of secrecy is the perfect marketing strategy. It leaves those interested in technology, a group that’s growing by the minute, constantly hitting their refresh buttons every time the Apple Store website goes down. When it comes back up, they scour the entire site to find out what’s changed, then convince themselves that they must have it, whether or not they actually need it. Of course, the fact Apple doesn’t offer much and what they do offer is top of the line makes it hard to say no.
Then of course there’s Steve Jobs, with his “Reality Distortion Field”. The secrecy is a part of that. He is arguably one of the best CEOs to ever walk this earth. I don’t say that as a true devotee… I say that because it’s true. Sure, he’s an asshole and makes it easy for people not to like him. Lots of great CEOs are the same, or similar. Look at Phil Knight of Nike. He also led a very private corporate life. He has what Steve Jobs has… a brilliant business mind and that’s all that matters. Everyone knows Mr. Jobs isn’t necessarily the kind of person you’d want to invite over for dinner, but that doesn’t stop them from buying his products. What he sells, works… and works extremely well.
That’s my theory.