Apple has shown us a lot of new, sleek technology on Tuesday. Starting from facial recognition in the iPhone, through 4K Apple TV with HDR, up to a smartphone built into a wrist watch! They proved an amazing ability to design and produce high quality products again. But this time something was off…
iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus are regular, seasonal upgrades. More power, more battery, better camera, more of everything. The same for AppleTV - more pixels & colors. Even the Apple Watch 3 is just another step on the same path. Yeah, it’s incredible you can have - what essentially is a smartphone - on your wrist. A piece of jewellery, a watch, a health tracker and a smartphone in such a small form factor. This is the design and engineering power of Apple at it’s best!
The thing that was off was the messaging around the announcements. Why?
iPhone X vs. The First iPhone
The “one more thing” was supposed to be reserved for the really important things only. Apple says iPhone X will put them in the leader position for the next decade. They said it’s a breakthrough in smartphones. They compared iPhone X launch to the introduction of the first iPhone. When in essence it’s just more of the same.
What they said about being a breakthrough is clearly a lie and they know it. Original iPhone genuinely defined the dominant design of smartphones for the next decade. iPhone X is nowhere near that level of innovation. Yes, there’s great new features. What stays the same with iPhone X is how we use the smartphone, how we carry it, how we interact with it. We stay with the same iOS, the same ecosystem and apps, the same touchscreen interface. Sales channels, price range, target customers. It all stays the same! iPhone X is just an incremental change.
Eating Apple’s Own Marketing BS
Apple decided to use the most powerful tools in their “keynote arsenal”. The “one more thing…”, the Steve Jobs quotes, the comparisons to the first iPhone.
It seems that Apple has become a victim of their own marketing. They seem to believe that just by saying that something is groundbreaking, it will become reality. (I know Apple critics said it forever, but most of that was misaddressed.)
The event on Tuesday also felt awkward at times. Kind of like a funeral service!? This level of marketing hysteria happened for first time since Jobs died. And it doesn’t have any support in the presented products. This in turn creates a suspicion that they don’t have much more in the pipeline. This marketing frenzy may be caused by panic for future profits or fear of overblown expectations of both clients and the stock market.
Repeating The Same
So Apple pulled out the biggest marketing guns to show some improved versions of existing products. I’m sure they will sell tons of stuff in the upcoming years. Heck, I’ll probably remain their customer. But it’s clear that however amazing Apple’s execution is, it seems to only be suited to the current generation of technology. They’re masters in building smartphones, laptops, tablets. But they do it in the same way for years: the same keynote format, the same people on stage, the same products. The only interesting foray into the unknown land by Apple recently, is the AR Kit.