It will matter in 2 months or at E3, when Microsoft show their hand. If their unveiling has a price and a case, good for them, but they also need to put together a showing which can match the stuff which Sony showed off, and if they don't surpass it, then the press will be just as gleefully telling everyone that MS missed the ball as they are now, ripping Sony a new one for not showing a box.
But you're right, who is going to care in 11 months? So what does it matter if Sony don't show a box right now?
Well, for one thing, it will double if not triple their presence in the press at a point where they need to start the ball rolling with getting public awareness. February launch, April comparisons with MS' showing, and a big showdown at E3. They have the spotlight to themselves right now, something which MS don't get anymore, and that's something that really does matter.
Comparisons to Apple are moot. The last time Apple unveiled a wholly new platform, which had nothing in common to anything that went before it was with the iPhone. The iPad used the same software libraries and the same chips, and developers could easily react in 2 months, whilst hype was building.
The console business is so utterly different in terms of timescales, that the kinds of rumours, leaks and speculation which build up for Apple would have already been and gone, were Sony to announce hardware in June. We had such a frenzy in the lead up to PSM that there was already almost nothing new to see. Imagine if we had all of that, and then still had 4 months until E3 for an unveiling?
Anyway, if you're talking about it now, and know what it's about, then Sony's PR has done its job.