What’s Wrong With Apple’s Product Announcements?

boringapple

Apple’s product announcements used to be the most exciting events in technology. Nowadays they’re boring, awkward and cringeworthy.

What happened? 

Apple’s Event This Week: Tucked or Untucked? 

Much of the social media chatter during Apple’s iPad announcement this week was about the fact that Apple executives on stage were going “untucked” with their shirts hanging out. Nothing new there, but the mind wanders in an excitement vacuum. Another topic was speculation about “what’s wrong?” — with CEO Tim Cook, Phil Schiller and Eddy Cue lacking energy and stumbling over their words. Craig Federighi was the only presenter with any life in him.

It’s hard to understand how far Apple announcements have sunk unless you revisit the old ones. Here’s Steve Jobs introducing the iPhone in 2007. There’s so much excitement in the room, it feels like the audience will explode. This week’s audience struggled to stay awake.

I believe the problem is that the Apple announcement format evolved into its present form as a showcase for Steve Jobs, the best introducer of products ever produced by American capitalism.

Apple doesn’t want its iconic announcement theater to make a sudden change because that would lead the public to believe that Apple is a radically different company without Steve Jobs.

However, the ugly truth is that the format doesn’t work with the personalities (or lack thereof) Apple is currently putting on stage.

Here are the 4 things Apple should do in order to maintain its reputation as the Gold Standard in product announcements.

1. Introduce new people

The format worked in part because Steve Jobs a major creative force behind the products being announced. Tim Cook is a good CEO, as far as I can tell, but he’s an organization guy with all the charisma of a piece of wood. His role as the main announcer needs to be scaled back. He should open the event, talk for couple of minutes about how excited he is and how successful Apple is, then hand it over with somebody with a personality.

Then, Apple needs to dig deeper into the organization and bring key people out on stage and introduce them to the world.

Every. Single. Announcement. Over-exposes Tim Cook, Craig Federighi, Phil Schiller and Eddy Cue, and plays the old standard video of Jony Ive in that white dungeon they apparently keep him locked in. I can barely look at poor Jony Ive anymore trying to muster enthusiasm to wax genius yet again, telling us over and over how every detail has been carefully considered and so on.

Apple needs to open the kimono. Show us Apple designers designing. Give us a video of the manufacturing process. Something new!

2. Be more playful

Apple execs spend all their energy trying not to screw up. You can smell the fear. That’s no fun.

If you look back at Steve Jobs’ iPhone unveiling, you’ll see that much of it was just Jobs trolling the audience. First he said Apple was announcing three devices, only later to point out they were all three the same, single device. They he said, “And here it is” only to show a gag photo showing an old iPod with a rotary dial.

He messed with the audience and had fun with the announcement. Nobody else can be Steve Jobs. But Apple can at least try to make it fun like Jobs did.

3. Cut the boring, repetitive ‘crappy stuff’

Steve Jobs once advised Nike’s CEO: “Nike makes some of the best products in the world. Products that you lust after. But you also make a lot of crap. Just get rid of the crappy stuff and focus on the good stuff.”

That’s what Apple needs to do with its presentations. Droning on and on about products announced previously just kills the excitement. Apple announcements like this week’s should be done in 40 minutes, max.

4. Never even schedule an announcement unless you can surprise everyone

The biggest problem with this week’s announcement is that Apple didn’t surprise anyone in a good way.

We were surprised, yes. We were surprised that the iPad didn’t grow Touch ID. We were surprised that Apple would still sell the iPad 2. We were surprised that Apple’s invitation come-on of “we still have a lot to cover” referenced…. iPad covers? (“Wow, really?”)

Most of all, we were surprised by the near-total lack of surprises. What, no iWatch? No iTV? Not even a new Apple TV? Nothing?

Apple just had an announcement in June and another one last month. That makes three announcements in four months, which is 2.5 too many.

Apple should max out at two announcements per year. Scarcity makes it more interesting and exciting.

But most importantly, don’t even schedule an Apple event unless you plan to drop some jaws.

Apple’s product announcements have gone from Christmas to Columbus Day in terms of excitement. Sure, part of it is that Steve Jobs is gone and there’s no replacing him.

But instead of soldiering on with a format custom-tailored for Jobs, Apple needs to adapt and find a new way to excite the world with its product announcements.

  • jasondearing

    Great points Mike. I think a bunch of the issues stems from the fact that everyone knew what was coming and it wasn’t a surprise. In fact the only real surprise this year was that iOS 7 was changed radically and the Mac Pro. Perhaps this stems from the fact that the Mac Pro and all of the Apple software is made in the USA. The Asian supply partners leak just about everything to over seas blogs who have money to buy the parts. It is possible that the new full size iPad was named the Air just to make it seem different to your average consumer. Apple made a great marketing move here, everyone was hammering for the Retina iPad Mini. Now people might actually consider the Air, reality distortion field 2.0.

  • Taojones_1

    lets face it it’s hard to remember how cool our motarola razor phones were and how our sony portable cd players skipped every time we hit a bump . when apple changed all that it was as if a light went on in a totally dark room . we have gotten jaded as apple changed the light from a candle to an oil lamp to an incandescent bulb to a floressent to a led each improvement was a difference of degree not a difference of kind. we had light as soon as it was turned on we will never miss it again because the cat is out of the bag .Apple created the light. The truth of the original idea is that it was a change of kind .to ask apple to find a better truth and to yawn at them fir refining what they originally made is rude and ungrateful and only points out the true ignorance of the true issues here of the author of this piece . I think i did see all of your suggestions in my 10th grade public speaking course.

  • Adrayven

    Great points Mike. I think a bunch of the issues stems from the fact that everyone knew what was coming and it wasn’t a surprise. In fact the only real surprise this year was that iOS 7 was changed radically and the Mac Pro. Perhaps this stems from the fact that the Mac Pro and all of the Apple software is made in the USA. The Asian supply partners leak just about everything to over seas blogs who have money to buy the parts. It is possible that the new full size iPad was named the Air just to make it seem different to your average consumer. Apple made a great marketing move here, everyone was hammering for the Retina iPad Mini. Now people might actually consider the Air, reality distortion field 2.0.

    @Jason, So on the mark.

    @Mike, Want to be surprised Mike? Don’t do your job. It’s those such as yourselves that practically suck the life out of the product announcements.. Seriously? You complain about it when you’re part of the problem? There are bloggers literally paying people for supplier parts to new products from Apple

    We literally had most of the parts of these things by time Oct 22 came around.

    TRUE: Want to be surprised? Don’t read blogs.. hell, don’t browse the internet.. This isn’t 2007, to many are looking to Apple now, they are literally Apple Tech Pastorates now stalking Apple suppliers!

  • Taojones_1

    if theres a reality distortion field it is the one that makes you guys think these two products can be compared with one another , as if a mazarati and a hugo could be equivalent because they are both cars.
    incremental improvements on the design is not a consumer trick any more than a 98 kia is the same as a 2014. designs evolve good design is changed in subtile ways (the tuxedo comes to mind) these posters are numb to nuance. like the color blind it is a handycap and it is a pity they will never see what i am talking about

  • coffeebot

    What with products being leaked months in advance, it’s impossible to be surprised now.

    And I agree that the current execs who get up on stage are damn boring. Tim Cook is the epitome of boardroom presenter. Very dry and factual. But he’s the boss. If he wants to be up there presenting, no ones gonna stop him.

    If you want entertaining presentations, just go watch old ones on YouTube.

  • jebworks

    Get over it people! Steve Jobs was the best presenter there ever was and Tim Cook is not him.
    As for the rest, they are much better than this article gives them credit. Go find me better ones in any other major Apple competitor!

    As for the surprise factor, when Jobs kept an extremely tight lid on anything prior to announcements he was criticized for it by the same pundits who now whine about there being no longer a surprise factor! No wonder when details are leaking out in the weeks ahead.

    Just quit the whining!

  • papi

    I’m an Apple hard core fan for over two decades and could not agree more with this article. This is the first time, as far as I can remember, that I responded to any kind of article that I read online, but I felt your points were so dead on that I had to let you know. I also wish there was a poll at the end of your article, so that not only your readers could see how others feel about this issue, but hopefully some of the Apple executives would see the results of the poll as well and perhaps they would realize that its time to change this boring routine, before its too late!!!

  • SOMISxBRAVES

    Its simple. There’s no Steve Jobs. That’s it!!! If Steve were still with us today, he would have knocked it out the park at this weeks event. Come people, Steve made attenna-gate worth watching.

  • Gregory Wright

    Author, keep your eyes on the ball. Its the product that matters.

  • barleymcgrew

    Of course, we really could do with extravaganza’s of bad taste like the Samsung Galaxy S4 announcement. Now that brightened the day up/

    To be honest, it’s just not the same without Steve Jobs who made people feel that the product, regardless of it being an incremental upgrade, seem like it was the latest and greatest. There was something about how he portrayed it.

    It seems that the Announcements these days are scripted using an analysis of an old Job’s era product launch and it just had that deflated flat feeling.

    For example, with the iPad launch, they should have left that to the very end, then just when they were finishing up they could have done the Classic Steve Jobs “Just one more thing…” and then said The iPad mini is being upgraded to match the iPad Air Specs with Retina display just like everyone wants.

    It would have lifted the end instead of it being part of a formal list.

    Really the current method of launching their products that is cookie cutter style production could be done on a sheet of paper and mailed out and it would have as much panache and excitement as their drab lacklustre launch format.

  • boblevel

    Every single point you made is exactly what I thought while watching the latest announcement. Might as well put up one of Honda’s robots up there introducing, for all the life that Tim and his cronies have. When will the Board of Directors finally wake up and make a change at the helm of the company that is loved by so many?

  • MrsCleaver

    “What’s Wrong With Apple’s Product Announcements?”

    Nothing is wrong with Apple’s product announcements. Not one thing. It’s simply that Cult of Mac is joining in the chorus of people who want more, more, more, flashier, flashier, flashier, now, now, now.

    Here’s the truth: Apple designs and makes great software and hardware. They always have. They execute with style, and with more integrity than most companies. They are wildly successful because people love their products. Unfortunately, some people can never be satisfied. Give them a new iOS, and they’ll poke holes in it within seconds. Give them a new iPhone 5S, and they want an iPhone 6 within hours. And give them a cool, fast, powerful new computer, and they can’t wait to find out how hard it will be to repair, or how cheaply it was produced.

    In my opinion—which I freely admit is not that humble—users and buyers are becoming increasingly jaded and hard to satisfy. We want what we want, when we want it, with little regard for the effort that goes into the entire process. And as for Tim Cook, he will never be Steve Jobs, so get over it. His presentations are his own, and his leadership is his own. It’s enough that Jobs thought highly enough of Cook to hand him the reins. That alone should be enough “for the rest of us.”

    End of rant.

  • OneHungLow

    Here’s my take.

    1. We miss Steve. Plain and simple.
    2. Tim Cook is an administrator, not a charismatic presenter.
    3. They can’t release certain technology just because we want it, so for some of the cool next generation stuff, we kind of have to wait. IGZO, large screen iPhones, 4K Monitors, etc.
    4. I think they should have done some impressive demos of the MacPro to show people just how fast it is by comparing real world scenarios using last gen MacPro or maybe even the fastest Windows or Linux box. But they had a lot of product to go through in a short time and if they drag these presentations, people eye’s glaze over.
    5. I think Phil Shiller is getting tired and burn out in many ways.
    6. There is too much leaking of new product information so it does seem like a new product by the they they do the final announcement because we’ve already peaked inside the present before it being handed to us.
    7. Flat out, Apple should have announced a larger screen iPhone sooner, but I’m sure there are reasons why they haven’t. So I hope it’s worth the wait.
    8. Tim may need to have Jony Ive do the majority of the presentations, but for some reason, he’s camera shy at events, but not for videos. I think someone that’s in his position should get on stage and take charge from a head of technology point of view. Craig is great, but he needs to stick to doing OS X and iOS because that’s what he’s in charge.
    9. I think people tend to be overly critical and it makes these guys a little nervous. I would.
    10. It’s hard being Apple and unless we’ve been in THEIR position, we sometimes whine just a little too much about silly things.
    11. I think the computer industry in general is kind of waiting for something big and it just hasn’t happened yet and all eyes are on Apple. Yeah, obviously too many BS rumors about the iWatch, HDTV, etc. and it gets us riled up and then when they don’t announce it, we get pissed.
    12. The problem is that I don’t know what Apple is ready to announce that will make people’s jaws drop. The MacPro was already announced at WWDC, we were just waiting for pricing/configurations and for the product to ship. Again, I think they should have showed people REAL demo comparisons of what it takes for a variety of high end apps to do something on these new systems vs last year’s model.
    13. Apple might need to break out a 17inch Retina display.
    14. IGZO isn’t ready…………………. YET.

    I think they might need to rehire that guy that used to do Steve’s presentations and get someone to help them write their presentations better.

    Tim just doesn’t make a good presenter. He’s better behind the scenes managing the operations side of the house.

    There aren’t too many people that can fill Steve’s shoes. Let’s face it. But I’m not buying Apple products just because Steve was there, I buy the products because I find them better.

    Get Woz more involved? Coin Flip.

  • TheArchon

    I think the cast of characters at Apple are solid. The presentations are interesting and well put together and they show a variety of items from new hardware, software and OS changes, to updates in fundamentals of the workings of their ecosystem.
    Each presenter operates a different segment and tells a story of the product with their own style, and the progression through the content is fairly dynamic.
    From the Mac Pro design unveil, to the free software, and updates for existing popular products, I’m surprised that people aren’t entertained with Apple.
    If you don’t think Apple is doing a good job you should subscribe to another brands ecosystem and take a break. From my perspective, looking at the grand scheme of brands on the world stage, Apple is doing a pretty good job educating and entertaining the human population.

  • OneHungLow

    We’ve been too exposed to the next product before it gets released and when they finally announce it, it’s not news, it’s old news.

    I though the new iPhone announcement was decent. I just am waiting patiently for the larger screen model.

    I really thought IGZO would have surfaced by now, but I guess we are going to have to wait until next quarter. Hopefully sooner than later. I’m surprised they didn’t announce 4K monitors, but I’m sure that’s eminent.

    I think Tim Cook just needs to get some kind of motivation lessons from someone. He’s doing a little better, but not by leaps and bounds.

    I think if the announce some cool things next quarter then it might be better. I certainly hope they don’t go another 2 quarters before major announcements like they did earlier this year. They really do need to have major announcements once a quarter.

    I think Jony needs to change his attire a little, I seem to have seen him in another video where he wore the same shirt. :-)

    I think they need to do an announcement with the same pizzaz as ASUS’s PadFone announcement. At least make everyone in the building roll on the floor laughing at completely cheesy magic acts, but at least with a product that isn’t a POS like the PadFone. This announcement was probably one of the cheesiest in high tech history and it’s STILL makes me laugh.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sqjoRMHyYQc

  • ChadGleaves

    Mike Elgan is the one locked in a white room with alot of tech journalists. I like the direction Apple is taking where EVERY device works as part of a whole. This last event was by far Apples biggest step forward making my life/work easier. A new itv or iwatch would not help me get work done but the majority of what Apple announced does.

    What you seem to want is a KO product that invigorates a tech junky that has seen it all, good luck but please stop your tech gossip columns and write where your talents can shine. Write about Miley, she’s currently shocking…. Sorta…..

  • Angeluskarl

    Apple cannot keep things secret anymore because EVERYONE wants to break the latest Apple secrets/stories because its Apple. Samsung, LG etc do not have the same level of interest as they flood the market with so many products. The reliance on external manufacturers makes it hard to keep secrecy and the employees probably get offered small amounts of cash for tips about what Apple are working on.

  • techwarrior

    Most do not attempt to create fanfare to announce products. It worked for Steve because he had a unique blend of charisma, admiration for his counter-culture personality, and showmanship backed by his personal connection with the products and roadmaps at Apple.

    Tim lacks all of these unique characteristics, and should not attempt to recreate them, it makes him appear to be a cheap imitator, like Samsung.

    So, perhaps Apple should stand down on the practice unless, or until they come up with something truly magical lest the market continue to become less impressed with the magic of Apple’s past. Perhaps the apathy we see in Phil, Tim and Eddy are the realization that they are merely introducing evolutionary advances in a style more conducive to revolutionary advances…

    Revolutionary game changing products are, and will continue to be the exception…even for Apple. iPod, iPhone and iPad were truly revolutionary because the entire experience was radically changed, yet they were all related and thus it was only the iPod that was truly revolutionary, the iPhone/iPad were simply building on the vision iPod began. Everything else is incremental change which is OK. If revolutionary changes were the norm rather than exception, then they too would lack the wow factor, but they remain rare indeed.

    Apple may never again introduce us to revolutionary products. It is ok. It is ok that they continue to bring outstanding products with incremental innovations. If we come to expect magic at every event, we will be disappointed.

    We should be happy that there is a bold leader in the industry that is challenging the conventional wisdom and bringing improvements like free OS and software. It challenges the horizontal business model of MS.

    Apple can uniquely compete by offering vertical solutions. Nobody else out there has this unique combo of devices, OS, and solid (if not outstanding) applications. As history has demonstrated, this will not always be the most effective combination of business elements. There was a time when Apple’s business model was not the most favorable mix, and MS excelled in that era. A new idea will undoubtedly occur to challenge Apple’s model, and Apple has not demonstrated the ability to change their vision and would therefore be challenged to compete when such events occur.

    Right now, device makers are challenged because Apple offers a complete package. And the SW makers are challenged because their existence is dependent on selling what Apple gives away. That Apple understands this is good business acumen, not magic. But will they be able to recognize when the next brilliant mix of circumstances comes together to challenge their position? The most promising prospect is that with Steve no longer in the picture to demand the model remain intact, Apple may be able to adopt a different model when the markets do change. Until then, they should continue to deliver on the unique vision of being an outstanding vertical solution company.

  • tobi

    Here’s my take.

    1. We miss Steve. Plain and simple.
    2. Tim Cook is an administrator, not a charismatic presenter.
    3. They can’t release certain technology just because we want it, so for some of the cool next generation stuff, we kind of have to wait. IGZO, large screen iPhones, 4K Monitors, etc.
    4. I think they should have done some impressive demos of the MacPro to show people just how fast it is by comparing real world scenarios using last gen MacPro or maybe even the fastest Windows or Linux box. But they had a lot of product to go through in a short time and if they drag these presentations, people eye’s glaze over.
    5. I think Phil Shiller is getting tired and burn out in many ways.
    6. There is too much leaking of new product information so it does seem like a new product by the they they do the final announcement because we’ve already peaked inside the present before it being handed to us.
    7. Flat out, Apple should have announced a larger screen iPhone sooner, but I’m sure there are reasons why they haven’t. So I hope it’s worth the wait.
    8. Tim may need to have Jony Ive do the majority of the presentations, but for some reason, he’s camera shy at events, but not for videos. I think someone that’s in his position should get on stage and take charge from a head of technology point of view. Craig is great, but he needs to stick to doing OS X and iOS because that’s what he’s in charge.
    9. I think people tend to be overly critical and it makes these guys a little nervous. I would.
    10. It’s hard being Apple and unless we’ve been in THEIR position, we sometimes whine just a little too much about silly things.
    11. I think the computer industry in general is kind of waiting for something big and it just hasn’t happened yet and all eyes are on Apple. Yeah, obviously too many BS rumors about the iWatch, HDTV, etc. and it gets us riled up and then when they don’t announce it, we get pissed.
    12. The problem is that I don’t know what Apple is ready to announce that will make people’s jaws drop. The MacPro was already announced at WWDC, we were just waiting for pricing/configurations and for the product to ship. Again, I think they should have showed people REAL demo comparisons of what it takes for a variety of high end apps to do something on these new systems vs last year’s model.
    13. Apple might need to break out a 17inch Retina display.
    14. IGZO isn’t ready…………………. YET.

    I think they might need to rehire that guy that used to do Steve’s presentations and get someone to help them write their presentations better.

    Tim just doesn’t make a good presenter. He’s better behind the scenes managing the operations side of the house.

    There aren’t too many people that can fill Steve’s shoes. Let’s face it. But I’m not buying Apple products just because Steve was there, I buy the products because I find them better.

    Get Woz more involved? Coin Flip.

    1. true
    2. true
    3. apple should never release what people want, just because they want it.
    4. true
    5. very true. im kind of concerned for him, maybe it’s also because of 9.
    6. true
    7. wrong (for me and because of 3.)
    8. true. jobs seems to have respected this. iphone 2007 had ive and schiller assisting in the first phone conference call.
    9. very true.
    10. very true. being the underdog suited them more. hell, it even suited steve more. you could see that the idea of making the best products for every one collides with being an underdog. however, steve never wanted to push companies from the market like e.g. bill.
    11. true. i don’t get pissed. the years 2001 to 2010 were great in technology. maybe innovation will now slow down for some years. for me, no problem.
    12. apple’s main hardware products have something in common. at first view, there only mutations from already known devices. macintosh. ipod. iphone. ipad. it deludes microsofties to say “well, it’s just another pc? it’s just another music player? it’s just another phone? it’s just a tablet?” but then.. it changes society. i would put my money if on anything on iTV. it’s hardware that has been there for years, it’s entertainment, it fits. IF anything with an impact comparable to the iDevices is coming the next three years from apple, it will be iTV.
    13. maybe.
    14. apple proved to stun technology experts by improving and perfecting industrial processing. r&d still is big on them. it will be ready before we expect it to be.

    “But I’m not buying Apple products just because Steve was there, I buy the products because I find them better.” – this.

  • Market_Mayhem

    Are these events even necessary for Apple to sell their products? Why not just do away with them completely? Because there are so many tech critics and pundits hating on Apple, Apple should skip making announcements and go directly to selling the products. These events are just another reason for Apple’s stock to fluctuate based on whether some jaded idiots get excited over a product or not. Does Apple even think that the news media appreciates these events? I say, screw the media. If they’re not happy or satisfied with what Apple is doing at the events then they shouldn’t even bother to show up. If they’re just going to the events to criticize how boring they are, then why bother to go. Is anyone being forced to attend the events? Steve Jobs is dead and never coming back, so if no one compares to him, then why even bother?

    It’s not supposed to be a three-ring circus. It’s merely a product introduction. The average consumer doesn’t follow that stuff. Apple is wasting its time trying to please journalists and critics. Drop the events and simply sell the products to consumers who appreciate them. As a shareholder, I’m in favor of Apple dropping the events completely because I feel they are of no value whatsoever now that Steve Jobs is gone. It was his personality that excited people, not just some new products.

  • aardman

    We’re all a bunch of 5 year olds and we need to be constantly entertained or we stop paying attention. That’s my take on the complaints about Apple’s product presentations.

    Be a grown up and focus on the information. Was it useful, was it informative? You guys (running these tech sites) are supposed to be journalists, get past the fluff, or lack thereof.

  • Hawk_Ky

    Apple didn’t surprise anyone in a good way? Speak for yourself. Sure, we knew pretty much everything about what the hardware would look like, but we had no clue the upgrades and changes to the software, especially with it all being free. Me personally, I’m not in the market for a new iPad, but it was still a fantastic presentation because of all the new software.

  • bdkennedy

    Apple can’t keep anything secret because they can’t sue Chinese factories for leaking parts. This is one of the reasons the Mac Pro is made in the U.S. and why Apple was able to keep that a secret.

    Apple cannot keep things secret anymore because EVERYONE wants to break the latest Apple secrets/stories because its Apple. Samsung, LG etc do not have the same level of interest as they flood the market with so many products. The reliance on external manufacturers makes it hard to keep secrecy and the employees probably get offered small amounts of cash for tips about what Apple are working on.

  • PedroGordinho

    I don’t like Tim Cook, Apple should invite steve wozniak. Also with these kind of prices, it will be hard for Apple to keep up with the rest of the giants.

  • Jonathan Ober

    I don’t like Tim Cook, Apple should invite steve wozniak. Also with these kind of prices, it will be hard for Apple to keep up with the rest of the giants.

    Except Woz hasn’t had excitement for iProducts in a long while as many of the news reports state. And it may just be me, but his voice is somewhat annoying.

  • markymac

    I agree with some of the points but most of them are completely unfounded and unwarranted. If not for all the leaks and inside reports sites like Cult of Mac, 9to5Mac and Tuaw would probably shut down because there’d be almost nothing to talk about.

    Let’s face it: there was only one Steve Jobs and we’ll likely never see another presenter like him for a long, long time. I also think the current Apple formula works for them. If they stray too far from the current setup they’ll get even more flak than they’re already getting.

    I do agree, however, that the untucked shirt thing was way out of hand, Eddy Cue being the worst offender with his huge beer gut and unnecessary colorful folded-over cuffs.

    If nothing else Cue and Schiller need to hit the gym. They don’t look good on stage at all.

  • Faslane

    I kinda agree but I also think technology for the most part is slightly at a stand still. Sure there are nicer resolutions, faster CPUs better graphics etc. but the overall base model is and has been set for a couple years. Retina, or no retina, hard drive or SSD and that’s about it. There hasn’t been much in the “One More Thing” category” for a while. At the time of the iPhones’ appearance they were the latest and newest stuff on the market at first launch. No one had heard of it nor what it could do and now they’re ALL touchscreen. Now we are seeing simply updates to existing products just with better battery, displays, faster storage etc. etc. etc. Until something that really changes the game comes along this is all we’ll see from any product announcement. I don’t know what will be the next “OOOO” “AHHHHH” gadget/device or whatever but I think hitting the “wearable” and “wireless” markets will create a new buzz. iWatch (or “Smart Watch” if you’re not an apple fan) for instance. Tech, at least affordable is kind of at a stand still as far as launching products that completely change the game like the first iPhone, first retina display, first flash storage etc. etc. that were available to consumers at a somewhat affordable price. My 2 cents.

  • Faslane
    I don’t like Tim Cook, Apple should invite steve wozniak. Also with these kind of prices, it will be hard for Apple to keep up with the rest of the giants.

    Except Woz hasn’t had excitement for iProducts in a long while as many of the news reports state. And it may just be me, but his voice is somewhat annoying.

    AGREED! He doesn’t even like Apple anymore although I’ve seen pics of several iPhones he “owned” but they were probably all free from promos and Execs themselves
    …Plus, he’s “old hat” Apple needs someone that is already based as an entertainer of sorts that’ll REALLY get the crowds moving and shaking. Not saying a movie star per-se just someone unique and exciting. +1

  • bdkennedy

    Has anyone counted how many times the word “stunning” was used during the keynote?

    I remember when the MacBook Pro’s came out with Thunderbolt ports and Phil called them Firewire every single time.

  • Eitot

    First things first, when you know what is going to be announced beforehand, then you should not complain about the lack of surprises, especially if the keynote is expected to centre around hardware. Rumour coverage has spread from dedicated blogs and the like to mainstream media. I even see it on the front page of the IHT or Guardian websites. I always thought I was a bit geeky for reading Apple rumours, but I think that many people now are.

    Personally, I think you are basing your views too much on the last keynote. I thought that this year’s WWDC keynote was actually very exciting and every presenter had his own style. Cook as the more paternal CEO, Federighi with his quirky enthusiasm, Schiller with his reliable, mature and sometimes a bit cool attitude and Cue as the door-stop seller. They all poured their own personality into the keynote, just as Jobs had done. Compared with presentations of other big companies, Apple still has that edge. The last keynote was, however, a bit of letdown for the reasons you’ve mentioned. Bad rehearsals, many noticeable mistakes, lack of jokes (and the one with Cue was just too forced, I’m afraid). It wasn’t their best effort and we know they can do better.

    That being said, I think there are two problems with the keynotes. One, the overuse of cheesy taglines and the almost predictable scripts. Cook is by far the worst, his entire script could have been written by a salesman (‘the best …’, ‘the greatest …’, ‘the most amazing …’, ‘gorgeous …’ and so on). The videos showing Ive and his design principles are also overused. They were good when used sparingly and for new and incredible products, like the unibody MacBook, the iPhone 4. Now it seems that every hardware update comes with his own designer prattle. I always go for a cup of tea when they show such a video, it is completely uninteresting once you’ve seen a couple of them. Second, Cook himself. Since he is not announcing any products himself, it falls to him to stage a good beginning and bring the keynote to a close. You want people to get excited and you want people to leave excited and inspired. This is what Jobs did very well. Scripted taglines and quotes are not going to cut it. But more importantly, Cook brings no soul into the keynote. Everytime he says something like ‘This is the best …’, I always take it with a pinch of salt. Jobs sounded more improvised and he was excited for his products, this is something Cook just does not do. Cook is not a bad presenter, he just does not have the extra thing that Jobs had. That’s why we remember mostly Jobs’ moments, because he represented the very soul of Apple. When Cook speaks, we see him as a CEO, when Jobs spoke, we saw a man and his lifework, his passion.

  • MrsCleaver

    I don’t like Tim Cook, Apple should invite steve wozniak. Also with these kind of prices, it will be hard for Apple to keep up with the rest of the giants.

    You don’t like Tim Cook? Are you a teenager? CEO, designers, software engineers, hardware engineers… all the people who do their jobs are not doing it to be liked. They do it for remuneration, to achieve something or a combination or other reasons we’re not privy to. In any case, it’s immaterial and unimportant that you or anyone else likes them. Shareholders will love a company that makes them money, and end-users will love the products that bring them pleasure, productivity or both. With respect, if you don’t like Tim Cook, the man, then don’t watch him.

    With regards to Apple’s pricing, they’ve always been more expensive than the competition, and with good reason. Their products are typically better designed, easier to work, last longer, more powerful and possess that quality you are trying to ascribe to an individual… they’re likable. To achieve that, Apple spends more, and charges more. “Keeping up with the giants” has never been too important to Apple. In fact, it’s usually vice versa.

  • technochick

    Once again Mike Elgan has confused his personal opinion with fact. He believes, IN HIS OPINION, there is something wrong with Apple’s announcements.

    That is neither fact nor universal opinion.

    IN MY OPINION, the real issue is the folks that leak shit, especially false shit, and the sites that whore themselves for posting the crap for page hits. Perhaps if sites like CoM stopped printing the rumors there would be actual surprises and Mike wouldn’t have to spew crap about whether Tim’s shirt is tucked in to make his weekly word quota

  • PedroGordinho

    (I don’t know on how to answer back to comments, so this is for MrsCleaver).
    First Im not a teenager, probably Im older than you by some decades. Second I can give my opinion and I can like or dislike anyone I want.Third, you say that shareholders will love a company that makes them money, well, I don’t know if its true but Apple is selling less and less ipads and iphones. Maybe one day the shareolders will think that the CEO is not the correct one. I just don’t like Tim Cook, Its nothing personnel, I just don’t like him. I rather see Craig Federighi on the keynotes than the CEO.
    Regarding prices, sure Apple products are great, I have two iphones, one ipad, one imac but for example I think they missed an excellent opportunity to sell trucks of iphone 5c if the damed phone was cheap and its not, its even more expensive than my iphone 4s. I think, and probably Im not alone on this, that Apple could and should have a cheaper phone, one made of plastic, with a medium range chip and memory and screen. This should be the iphone 5c. I don’t mind plastic products, I don’t mind less powerful specs, as long as they run Apple OS. Im thinking on buying a portable computer and probably Im going to buy a cheap pc and try to run MAC OS on it.

  • Howie Isaacks

    TOTALLY AGREE! You just hit this on the head perfectly. Tim Cook seems like a good guy, but he’s not suited for this. He sounds scripted and false when he talks about how excited he is. What the heck was all that B.S. about the tucked vs. untucked shirts crap? Totally lame. Apple makes great stuff, but these presentations are a big snoozefest.

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Mike ElganMike Elgan writes about technology and culture for a wide variety of publications. Follow Mike on Google+, Facebook and Twitter.

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