As I watch the selling of M9 s and now s2 bodies in anticipation ...thought it might be worth putting my forecast out for 5/10 in Berlin.
The product with be a special edition Black and white M9 . It will be sold in a kit and will include a new 50/2 asph summicron. The new camera will incorporate some of the future M10 features (maybe viewfinder, maestro mini processor ,battery, new cards etc) . The key feature though will be a sensor/processor thats turned specifically for Black and White . It will cost about $15K or more in a kit and leica will produce a few thousand.
Ok now the logic .....
1. Leica can internally not produce any more lenses per month before the new factory opens . Because the start up strategy for the new factory is to close the old and bring up the new on the same day (this is what we used to call the big bang strategy) ....there will be significant drop in lens capacity in the first quarter of 2013 .
2. M capacity is fixed at about 1000 per month . Dealers are reporting lost sales due to lack of availability of lenses and have you seen the used as new sales of the M9P from the dealers . Plus new cameras like the Fuji x pro 1 and new 7 and now the Nikon s are stripping many of the new Leica buyers . So go back to the established base .....M9/M8 owners that want the newest . Most buyers of a black and white M9 would have their lenses . This allows the production capacity to be used for a possibly higher priced unit (or maybe higher margin) .
3. Leica is moving hard to a new distribution and retail strategy that is based on the LEICA STORE . The key to the Leica Store is to create traffic that can experience the products (like the Apple Store to some extent). Leica stores will have small galleries and some will be able to handle some small group instruction. Think of the special events you could have with the MAGNUM photographers and the link into the Leica Akademie . This is a great time to build the network of stores ..almost one at a time with grand openings etc.
4. The Portugal factory will (again)play a key part in Leica s production strategy but its not ready . My guess is that Leica will produce an EVF camera made from many outsourced components . Assembled in Portugal and tested in Solms . This will be a world sourcing approach with significant outside content. Not sure if they will try to make the lenses for the LEVIL here .
This would allow Leica to make a big splash .....especially if the M/BW has best in class IQ . I can see 3 Magnum greats on the stage telling about the new camera in Berlin. The marketing guys would have a field day with special events based on classic BW photography and it would draw significant crowds to the Leica Stores . The first book from Leica publishing would be taken with the M/BW by Magnum photographers in Berlin.
Does this make sense ? Stop ditching your M9 s and S2 s nothing until Photokina and no availability until this time next year .