Disclaimer: I know this is unfair since I’ve seen the reactions, but since I prefer solutions to plain bitching, this is what I think would have helped.
The product side of the company decided to pursue the very high end monitor market. The business side decided on $4,999 for the display with options for a stand or VESA mount sold separately. I’m just handling the announcement of this product so I can’t change any of that.
Got it, here’s what we do:
We present the monitor’s specs, compare it to other high end products on the market, and why this is really a monitor without peers (basically what they did anyway).
When the product overview is done, mention the $20,000+ monitors this is meant to displace and then do one of those “price drops in from the sky and smashes the old price in a puff of smoke” transitions to show “Starting at $4,999.”
The crowd will love it, as you’ve shown this screen does everything those $20…$30…$40,000 monitors do and then some.
Then talk about how different environments have different needs and there are a few custom configuration options, letting each buyer get exactly the display they need for their workspace.
Show the stand…make it rotate…tilt it all over.
Show the VESA mount.
Show the anti-reflective version.
“This is not a one-size-fits-all product, and we think our pro customers are going to love that. This also means you don’t have to pay for anything you don’t need. And at a starting price of $4,999 we know our customers are going to get an amazing value no matter what.”
Move onto the next segment, pricing will be displayed on Apple.com after the keynote is over.
Hindsight is 20/20 and it’s not fair to suggest I’m better at marketing than the people working at Apple, but seeing how people from average Joes to professionals who would buy this product have reacted, I think that this sort of introduction would remove some of the drama around this product.
I’ll also clarify that I don’t think that this drama is a disaster, nor is it going to sink this product, but I do think that this was a blunder, and good products are not immune from criticism for PR mistakes.
And finally, before you tell me this is crazy talk, I'll remind you this is precisely how they debuted the Mac Pro at the same event. The Mac Pro starts at $5,999 and has tons of upgrade options that have not been priced out yet, nor were mentioned on stage at all.