By Hillel Fuld (@Hilzfuld)
Yesterday was the much-anticipated Apple iPhone event. Yes, I am getting the iPhone 7 Plus, no I do not intend on talking about all the announcements and why, iPhone aside, all the other products almost put me to sleep.
However, I do want to talk about yesterday’s event, the language used throughout the keynote, and what Apple means when certain words are said.
You see, it’s become somewhat of a tradition. I set up my gear the morning of the big annual Apple keynote. I charge up my iPad (or sometimes, my Mac), get out my noise canceling headphones, cancel my meetings, and fire up my iPhone to begin the live tweeting of the ridiculousness that is Apple keynotes.
A new black iPhone. “We call it black”. Journalists: “Oooooh. Ahhhh”. #iphone7 #appleevent
— Hillel Fuld (@HilzFuld) September 7, 2016
Don’t get me wrong, no one is better at this game than the world’s most valuable company but that is what this is, a game. And the players? Me, you, and all the geeky tech journalists who spend the whole presentation going “Ooooh” and “Ahhhh”. A game.
Like how many times can you say “And we are so excited about…” in one speech? You know what those words really mean? They mean, “We did not have enough substance to fill this talk because everything we are announcing is either boring or been done before so “We are so excited!”
How about “This is the best iPhone/Macbook/iPad” we ever made”? Oh really, Apple? You mean last year’s model, the one you are now making obsolete wasn’t better than this one? Like why do they even say that??
Sometimes I wish Apple would skip all the “We are so excited”, “This is the best…” stuff and just tell me what’s new. #appleevent
— Hillel Fuld (@HilzFuld) September 7, 2016
Anyway, there are things that Tim Cook and his gang always say and they will continue to say at Apple keynotes.
There is the famous Jony Ive “Aloo-Mee-Nee-Oom”. That’s aluminum by the way.
I mean yesterday’s Ive video might as well have been in Chinese.
What else do we have? Oh yes, yes, “Refined”. Know what that means? The more they say a product is “Refined”, the more it means it basically has not changed since the last version.
Here’s the thing. It’s all a very well planned out manipulation game. The less exciting the product, the more they need to hype it up. Apple knows all too well how insane Apple bloggers are and how on keynote day, every blogger becomes an Apple blogger. The company depends on the Twitter noise and gossip leading up to the big announcement.
So if the iPhone 7 is the primary release, then of course they will leave it for last. But not only will they leave it for last, there is actually a direct correlation between the new iPhone features and the length of the dragging out. They’re not announcing much with the new phone? Then there’s gonna be a whole lot of “We’re so excited”. Why? So everyone can speculate and gossip about the new iPhone prior to the actual announcement. More speculation, more hype.
You can laugh all you want, but it works and Apple knows it works. I follow thousands of people on Twitter and have 5,000 Facebook friends. All I saw during the keynote yesterday, in both feeds, was 100% Apple Apple Apple. It works.
“We think you’re really gonna love this.” Why do they say that? It’s as if they are saying “Stare at the ball. You are going to love this phone… You will tell all your friends how much you love this phone… You will never mention the name Samsung again! Ok wake up!” And the hypnosis is complete.
What those words really mean is “We need you to love this phone so please love this phone.”
My favorite part is when Apple announces features that have been available with their competitors for years but Apple gives it fancy names so the press, once again, swallows it up.
Oh, you added real-time collaboration in iWork? Wow that is so revolutionary. For 2005. Anyone ever hear of Google Docs? No? Office 365? Nada. Ok. Who am I talking to here?
“Real time collaboration”. Wow, Apple. Wow.
Oh and don’t forget every keynote has to have at least one ridiculously obvious spin obvious to me; the press? Not so much.
Apple: “We have killed the floppy disc, the CD, standard USB, and well, music stores. Today we kill the headphone jack.”
“But Tim, I have headphones I paid hundreds for, that need a headphone jack! I paid a thousand dollars for your iPhone last year and bought accessories for it that depend on the headphone jack!”
Tim: “Yes, you did. But be courageous.”
The press: “Hooray, Apple!”
Here we are talking about the things Apple says in its keynotes, when in reality there is something much more important to discuss. What Apple does NOT say.
So they announce a new Apple Watch with built-in GPS. Great! It’s effect on battery life…? Crickets.
Some things Apple is well-known for NOT talking about include specs, price, technology (although this is changing). Many like to explain that Apple doesn’t talk about these things because people don’t care so much about specs, they care about experiences. Ok, I’ll bite.
Although, there may just be another explanation. Or maybe it’s the mixture of the two. In any case, maybe Apple doesn’t generally talk about these points because when it comes to specs, price, and tech, Apple isn’t able to compete against the other players out there? I know, crazy talk. “We’re so excited!”
So what other words do we have in the standard Apple keynote? Oh yes, “Magical”. It means “We can’t compete on specs so we added some new feature no one really understands and more importantly, no one will use in a month for now.”
“Developers love this!” “We have no right to exist without the App Store, which 100% depends on those developers we’ve been mistreating for years so excuse me while we give them a shoutout in our keynote!” Also? “We are so excited!”
Listen, I can go on for hours and literally decipher every word Apple says in every keynote because, I guarantee you, every single word is well thought out and planned for months before the event.
I won’t. I will just say that the keynotes are truly a masterpiece of a presentation and I can ridicule them all I want, but they seem to be working. They always have and they always will.
Now where can I buy the revolutionary, magical iPhone 7 with chamfered edges, that singular shape, and precisely engineered parts? You know, the device with the uninterrupted form, the rotational 3D polishing, and a pristine mirror like surface? Doesn’t ring a bell? The phone that is the most singular, evolved representation of the design? Yea, that one.
Hey Apple, take my money.