Bill Graham Civic hosted Apple’s biggest hyperbole-fest ever


The iPhone 6s Plus might be hard to find on launch day.
All Apple's saying is that the iPhone 6s will be the most amazing, dynamic, life-changing thing you've ever seen.
Photo: Apple

We get that yesterday’s Apple event was a marketing thing, which is why every presentation began with whoever was onstage telling us how “thrilled,” “excited” or “really happy” they were to be there. And the exaggeration just continued from those intros.

Here are some of the most outlandish and enthusiastically subjective lines that came from the stage at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium. We’ve organized them by speaker so you can see who “won” this verbal arms race of canned excitement.

Jony Ive

“With its carefully engineered technology working with our most advanced Multi-Touch display, it delivers something extraordinary: precision that actually gives you the ability to touch a single pixel.”

This line came from the above video, which introduced the Apple Pencil stylus for the iPad Pro, which makes it an Inception-style plug within a plug.

We aren’t saying the new tablet and its accessory don’t look really cool and impressive, but here’s the thing about pixels: They’ve been getting smaller over time. So when Ive promises that we’ll be able to touch one, I think back about the huge, blocky graphics from old Atari games like Combat and just shrug.

Granted, the iPad Pro’s 5.6 million pixels are much smaller than that, and really all the video is saying is that you’ll be able to draw really detailed and intricate things with the new Apple gear. But I highly doubt that “touching a pixel” is on anyone’s “must-have for tech” list, so this boast fell flat for me.

Jen Folse

“Each slow-motion shot reveals the scene in a way that is truly captivating.”

Folse was showing off the new Apple TV and its screen savers, which feature high-resolution videos. Nobody wants a boring screen saver, I guess, but Apple was ostensibly announcing that it had invented The Scenery Channel from Back to the Future, Part II. And if the thing that’s supposed to keep images from burning into your screen has you entranced, I kind of wonder why you even need TV for entertainment.

Craig Federighi

“If I want to go back to the previous app, in a single gesture, I can just swipe across between apps. It’s totally epic.”

Craig Federighi was telling us about how 3D Touch will work with multitasking on the iPhone 6s and misappropriating the word “epic.”

Apple’s charismatic senior vice president of software engineering could have said pretty much any other positive word there, and we wouldn’t have noticed because this feature is really elegant, convenient and cool. It may even be awesome, if you stretch the definition of that adjective. But here’s a test: If playing composer Carl Orff’s O Fortuna under something makes it funnier instead of more awesome, it doesn’t qualify as epic.

The screen

“The only thing that’s changed is everything.”

Mostly, the screen behind the presenters just gave us a look at what they were doing or outlined their talking points so we could follow along and refer to them later. But the new iPhone 6s/6s Plus slogan — “The only thing that’s changed is everything” — just lurked back there being all weird.

Nobody uttered these words aloud; if they had, a wormhole might have opened up.

Phil Schiller

Throughout the event, the presentations by Apple’s senior vice president of worldwide marketing felt like someone beating us in the face with the PR Guidebook. He was probably the most casually bombastic person onstage all day, which is probably part of how he got the job.

He had so many incredible lines that we’re just going to list them here so you can drink them in.

Apple Phil Schiller
Phil Schiller’s name is kind of a pun, too, isn’t it?

“[The iPad is] a magical piece of glass that you hold in your hands.”

“Perhaps the most profound feature iPhone has ever brought to the world is Multi-Touch.”

“This is unlike any experience you’ve ever seen in a smartphone.”

“A beautiful experience unlike any other way of interacting with photos…. These are still photos; they are not videos.”

Let’s look at that last one for a minute. Schiller was talking about the iPhone 6s’ Live Photos feature, which records a second and a half on either side of every snapshot to capture the moment in which you took them. You’ll be able to see the contextual snippet using 3D Touch.

Schiller’s quotation is an example of skilled marketing and controlling the message. Because these are videos, and the still images at their centers are thumbnails. Live Photos are half the length of a Vine, and Apple is focusing more on the still than the bits surrounding it, but Live Photos are, in fact, videos. We don’t know what counts as a video otherwise.

Tim Cook

Like Steve Jobs before him, Apple chief Tim Cook saved all the boldest statements for himself. That’s fine; it’s his job to get people excited and ready to buy things, and he succeeded. But here are some of his greatest hits:

“Today, we have the biggest news in iPad since the iPad.”

“This is the new Apple TV, and we believe it is the future of television.”

“iPhone 6 is the most popular iPhone ever. In fact, these are the most popular phones in the world. But more important to us, they are the most loved phones in the world, with customer satisfaction literally off the charts and far above any other phone.”

Tim Cook, I am applauding you.

Did we miss any of your favorites? Let us know in the comments.


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