I sat through Apple’s two hour, and somewhat torturous, keynote presentation, because, well, I had to for work. If you missed it, here are the highlights:
Apple is still selling shedloads of iPhones, but not as many as before. It’s investing in education, Mario’s coming to the iPhone and Pokémon Go is coming to the Apple Watch.
The new Apple Watch was unveiled with the same form factor, packing the features it really should’ve launched with first time round (GPS and a processor that can actually handle the watch). Plus, there’s now a big focus on health and exercise.
The iPhone 7 was also launched, but no amount of velvety Jonathan Ive narrative could disguise the fact that this is pretty much a 6S with some new colours and enhanced features. Oh, and they’ve killed the headphone jack too.
It’s the first time I’ve sat through one of these things and I have to admit, it’ll probably be my last. So I’m going to do something unthinkable and impudent and ridiculous, I’m going to give Apple some advice on how to do a product launch.
First off, Apple should get a professional presenter. Steve Jobs was a natural, but not everybody is. Despite the training and rehearsal, it’s obvious that these guys, from Tim Cook to Phil Schiller, just aren’t comfortable on stage.
The rehearsed body language, the slightly stilted jokes – it’s tough to watch. And that’s fine, because these guys are unqualified geniuses and successes at their chosen careers. It’s not their fault that these presentations have become a big deal because Steve was so compelling. But they don’t enjoy being up there and they don’t have the stage presence. That’s the simple brutal truth. Employ someone who owns a stage that you can’t keep your eyes off of.
Next, have an overarching theme. This was the most disconnected Apple launch I’ve seen in years. Yes, it was packed with the usual product launches and news, but none of it was connected to each other.
When Phil Schiller said that eliminating the headphone jack took courage, I thought ‘Yes!’. This is what Apple does: Apple got rid of the CD drive before anybody else and, although everyone kicked off, it was right.
It’s the same with Apple’s refusal to include Flash on the iPhone. Ditching the headphone jack is another smart move and this bravery is one of Apple’s most admirable qualities. It could’ve built its entire presentation around the courage to push forward. A theme that’s supported and dramatised with compelling, human stories would make for a more cohesive, engaging presentation.
That’s it, just two suggestions to the most successful company in the world that has pioneered product launches. Should I wait by my iPhone Tim?
Martin Flavin is creative director of marketing agency and launch specialist Five by Five.