Hard Candy bet on iPhone 5 goes south

Hard Candy Cases decided to make iPhone 5 cases based on an educated guess that didn't turn out to be right.

The Bubble Shell cases for the iPhone 5 from Hard Candy that could have been.
The Bubble Shell cases for the iPhone 5 from Hard Candy that could have been. Hard Candy Cases

There you go; there's no iPhone 5, at least not yet. For most of us, this is a typical case of much ado about nothing, a huge hype followed by a letdown. For Tim Hickman, the CEO of Hard Candy Cases, it's also a business gamble that didn't work out. The company sent out an embargoed press release to the press a couple of days ago about its new cases for the iPhone 5, information that was leaked earlier today by the Cult of Mac.

It turned out Hard Candy wasn't sure that there would be an iPhone 5, nor did it know the actual design of the product. Just a few minutes ago, like the rest of us, Hickman was watching the live event from his home, but with much greater trepidation...

Talking to CNET as the event was unfolding, Hickman revealed that he had decided to make the mold for the new cases just two weeks ago based on different sources of information, including some manufacturers in China. While some of the sources were generally reliable, none were official.

"Finally we had to make the decision based on an educated guess. Apple has created a system in which only top players know their secrets, putting the rest in a very disadvantaged situation. But I sort of like this dynamic environment and it's exciting if we get it right. We'll see," Hickman said.

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Closer to the end of the event, Hickman was still positive that the iPhone 5 would be announced. When this turned out not to be the case, he was hit with a big disappointment that seemed more personal than the fact that he just lost a few thousand dollars invested in the molds. "This is very disappointing about Apple," he said. "I was hoping that would be at least some completely new products, like a new iPod Touch."

There's a silver lining for Hard Candy Cases, however, according to Hickman. Since the iPhone 4Gs will also be available with Sprint, the company now can sell existing cases to a larger group of users. About those iPhone 5 case molds, he said he'll keep them in place as maybe the much-anticipated phone will be made in the near future. "I don't regret my decision. It's our job to make sure that consumers will get what they want when they want it and this is just part of doing business." According to him, all is not lost.

About the author

CNET editor Dong Ngo has been involved with technology since 2000, starting with testing gadgets and writing code for CNET Labs' benchmarks. He now manages CNET San Francisco Labs, reviews networking and storage products, and also writes about other topics from online security to new gadgets and how technology impacts the life of people around the world.

 

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