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The New iPhone And Apple's Amazing Hype Machine

While he may have paled in comparison to Steve Jobs in a black turtleneck, Apple’s new CEO Tim Cook still impressed audiences today when he unveiled the new iPhone 4S. Apple fans and the technology media predictably freaked out. (The hot new iPhone feature, if you haven’t yet heard, is integrated voice command, which can pull up the weather, define a word, or play a song.) All in all, the debut seems to have been a solid one for Cook, whose predecessor, Jobs, was a master of PR. Jobs consistently garnered extensive (and fawning) media coverage for his product rollouts. But does all that hype translate into dollars for the company? 

It certainly does, according to a 2010 study by two researchers from the Bank of Finland. The researchers set out to construct an estimate of the iPhone’s market valuation, but they added a twist: in order to determine the driver of the iPhone’s value, the authors tracked stock market reactions to both news announcements about the phone and the publication of new patent applications for its technology. The result: The iPhone’s value is “fairly high, [estimated] at minimum 30 billion U.S. dollars.” But the authors go on to explain that “patentable technologies explain about 25% of the total value,” and the rest—up to $24.2 billion dollars of the iPhone’s value—comes from news announcements. Apparently the black turtleneck and swanky events pay off. “Our evidence,” the authors conclude, “suggests that the value of iPhone primarily stems from Apple’s management and marketing abilities and efforts.”