My day job is in client facing sales and service, so I spend a great deal of time making sure I present my message correctly. First, we establish the basic facts. Then there’s a discussion of what they mean, implications, risks, etc. Finally, these all lead to the conclusion and (ideally) the implementation of whatever solution we think is best. While my presentations are far, far less flashy than a big tech announcement, I still like to see how companies hype up their products, especially since that showmanship does overlap with my own skills and job needs.
Normally, Apple announcement day is a big one. It’s exciting, there’s lots of buzz around the products, and there is always a polished, well designed presentation that builds excitement until it peaks with a big flashy product launch…and then, of course, there’s the thrill of the “And one more thing…” that Steve Jobs was so famous for tossing out there. I remember following the original iPhone announcement, where it started with a discussion of making a great music player. Then the discussion turned to a great web browsing device. Then to a great phone. And of course, the end result is that you can have all three in one package, and everyone is practically frothing at the mouth with excitement.
That’s why today was so intensely disappointing for me. There was no attempt to build excitement; Apple simply had a utilitarian rundown of new products. By starting with the most hyped one, the iPhone 5, the momentum died off quickly. By the time it got to a revamped iTunes, then faded out with a musical performance, it just felt like this wasn’t up to Apple’s usual standards. It felt more like a very hyped corporate board meeting. Top of the agenda was the flagship item, and then they worked their way down to the minor stuff, and wrapped up to go have coffee and pastries.
Now, let’s go back and compare that to what Amazon’s announcements were like. They started with new Kindles with backlights. Exciting, but exactly what was expected. Then they moved into a revamped and cheaper Kindle Fire. Okay, getting a bit more intriguing. At that point, you know something better is coming…and Amazon didn’t disappoint with the Kindle Fire HD, the Kindle Fire 8.9in, and then right when it looked like that was already an exciting lineup, they dropped in the Fire 4G. They went from the expected to the totally unexpected, and they did it with style and showmanship.
Today Apple just seemed to lack that same vigor. They could have opened with new iTunes, the yawner of the announcements. Then move into the Nano refresh, followed by the iPod Touch…which would have teed up the iPhone 5 perfectly. Once the iPhone 5 was announced and demoed, and it was the very last thing everyone had heard about, then queue up the band and close up the day. That would have made it a far more exciting presentation, where the expectations are on what’s coming. Instead, I know my coworkers and I spent the whole presentation debating, “iPhone 5 up front? Is the iPad Mini coming today?”
I feel as thought I have an Apple announcement day hangover; it seemed like it would be such a fun party but it left me with a bad headache and a sense that mistakes were made.
Am I being too harsh on Apple? Were you bored to tears as well? Let us know in the comments!