Leica’s just announced via a YouTube video that it will introduce new Leica cameras on September 9. As if that PR maneuver wasn’t confusing enough, get this: Leica’s event is scheduled for the same day as Apple’s iPod launch gig. Oops.
Leica’s news is big news because…well, it’s Leica. The company is such a big, historic player in the camera game that anything it does is important. And the upcoming camera looks like a doozy: It’s hotly-rumored to be the M9, a successor to its entry to the digital camera market. And though the PR video teaser for the upcoming Leica event (see it below) is big on teasing “Ground-Breaking New Products” the company’s S2 medium-format/DSLR mashup device, scheduled for an October launch, is also likely to get an outing.
Or, just maybe, Leica’s got something hidden up its sleeve–a hot, genuinely ground-breaking new camera that avoided the series of leaks that revealed the S2’s existence, launch date and price well ahead of time. In fact, we hope that’s the case because Leica has timed this big news for the same day that some even bigger photography news hits. September 9th is widely expected to be the day Apple unveils its refreshed iPod line-up, with digital cameras now embedded in the iPod Nano, Touch and even the Classic. Since the iPod is the best-selling MP3 player, this move would instantly establish Apple as a force in the digital camera market, and refresh the whole world of low-end digital photography.
September 9 is going to be an Apple day. And Leica’s news is going to be a relegated to a footnote. Now, we’re not naive enough to think Leica’s and Apple’s markets overlap to any great extent–a $300 iPod is a totally different kettle of fish to a $10,000 luxury digital camera. Leica’s news is mainly going to appeal to pro photographers, and Apple’s news to the millions of potential iPod owners. But it does seem an unfortunate piece of planning by Leica, all the same. And it leaves room for one very interesting, but highly improbable rumor: Is there some mystical Leica Apple tie-up we haven’t heard about?