Underwhelmed by Apple’s Latest Event

Have you noticed that Apple’s events aren’t nearly as exciting today as in the old days. Back then, Steve Jobs would employ his fabled “reality distortion field” while pitching Apple’s latest and greatest to adoring Apple enthusiasts live at Macworld Expo. Fans camped out for days just to get a good seat for one of Jobs’ fabled keynotes.

In the years since Jobs and Macworld Expo shuffled off this mortal coil and COVID became a thing, Apple product announcements have become slick, scripted television extravaganzas featuring Apple CEO Tim Cook and his minions. At first, I found Apple’s new way of revealing new products somewhat entertaining. But, as the years have passed, these events have become more predictable and annoying.

WWDC: Slickly Produced

Last week’s Worldwide Developer Conference event was no exception; predictable and annoying. Still, I watched most of it because it’s my job, but I didn’t enjoy it. You can watch the keynote at www.apple.com/apple-events if you care to. But, if you don’t care to spend an hour and 48 minutes watching it, here are some highlights for Mac users.

The next rendition of macOS, dubbed “Ventura,” includes several promising new features such as Stage Manager, “a new way to stay focused on the task in front of you while seamlessly switching between apps and windows.” Stage Manager looks less confusing than Mission Control, and more powerful and customizable than the Dock. I eagerly await its arrival.

Another Ventura feature I think you’ll love is Continuity Camera, which now lets you use your iPhone as your video camera instead of the mediocre built-in camera in your notebook Mac. If your iPhone has an Ultra Wide camera (iPhone 11 or later) you can invoke Desk View, which shows your face alongside an overhead view of your desk, which looks both cool and useful.

For what it’s worth, if you want to use your iPhone camera with your Mac now (and you should), remember ReincubateCamo, an iPhone app I raved about in April 2021. It works beautifully with macOS Monterey so you can start using your iPhone camera with your Mac today.

Then Came M2 and Freeform

Apple’s new M2 processors deliver more performance and better power efficiency than previous iterations and are slated for the completely redesigned Macbook Air and the updated 13-inch Macbook Pro.

Finally, a new Apple productivity app called Freeform will ship later this year. It looks like a whiteboard and Apple says it is “where you and your collaborators can bring ideas to life. Plan projects, collect inspiration, brainstorm with your team, or draw with a friend. Share files and insert web links, documents, video, and audio.” As a productivity enthusiast, I look forward to trying it.

One last thing: There will soon be public betas of Apple’s next operating system releases. My advice is not to install them on any device you depend upon to work properly.

2 thoughts on “Underwhelmed by Apple’s Latest Event

  • Bob:

    Point well taken. 

    However, I’m old enough to remember SJ2’s presentations in particular, and not only the notorious RDF, but the popular lampooning of both the RDF and the Apple user community who were so mercilessly lambasted for their alleged swooning adoration over all things Apple that they were labelled ‘Macheads’ and consigned to cult status (which BTW was defiantly if not proudly embraced by the user community). Mind you, this at a time when the predominant opinion was that the Wintel world was superior in every way, with a more serious and enterprise-ready OS and faster, better machines. Apple products were not considered serious, professional grade, machines outside of selected use cases, like graphic arts and desktop publishing. 

    I don’t know that there has ever been a time when Apple, their leadership, their products, their ‘walled garden’ ecosystem, their whole widget model, their commitment to reducing their carbon footprint, or even the design of their headquarters were not subject to disapproval if not derision from some or other quarter, including the power user community. For yours truly, I do not now, nor have I ever, cared less about such criticism. Indeed, criticism and differing opinions are a healthy and necessary stimulus towards perfection. 

    Regarding SJ, while a foresighted innovator and tech visionary who appreciated and exploited the interplay of art and technology, I have never lost sight of his being, like the rest of us, a flawed and mortal human being whose leadership style could be as stifling as it was industrially disruptive. I also recognise that it has been post SJ that Apple’s ecosystem and platform alike have ballooned under TC well-beyond what they were under SJ, and that these changes conform to SJ’s parting counsel to TC, not to think about what he, SJ, would do, but for TC to do things his own way. And yes, that TC’s style is less flamboyant and entertaining than SJ’s is a fact that few, if anyone, would deny. 

    Apple is not the same company that it was under SJ. Nor should we wish it to be. It’s bigger, broader and expanding at a faster rate in every respect. The place it occupies on the world stage thus compels a change in delivery style, as every word will scrutinised by discerning and critical reviewers from every quarter. Apple could not have got here without SJ and the culture he created, but, as with all living things, it must grow beyond him if it is to survive and thrive. And that includes growing beyond the Mac with new innovations, a fact that SJ himself understood and embraced. 

    But for those of us who feel that we are at our best when playing and working in the Apple ecosystem, and feel that their products and services have a better fit with our sense of aesthetic and world view, our focus is less on presentation style for these products and services than it is on their substance and how these will affect our productivity and well-being. 

    As a professional who has to present in international fora, I do appreciate that delivery of information is important, but that style is individual and of lesser importance than content, clarity and narrative coherence. If anything, I would argue that having a team approach to the delivery as opposed to it being dominated by a flamboyant personality and his accompanying RDF renders these presentations less distracting and more credible to a world audience, and the follow-on uptake from the user community being perceived as less a function of an involuntary Pavlovian response by cult members to RDF sensory overload than it being one of informed value proposition and performance.  

    As the end of the day, what I desire from a presentation is the reductionist, minimalist preference of Sgt Joe Friday; ‘Just the facts, ma’am’. 

    Be well.

  • Thanks Dr. Mac for going against the lame bought/paid for corporate narrative. The pre-taped can marketing drivel with its PC delivery honed by the same “fake hand gesture—to be ‘relatable’” consulting firm delivery is like watching a report from Willy wonky delivered by tax accountants that are so sociopathic they believe bursts of the same fake hand gestures give them the thin veneer of acting like humans do. Unwatchable.

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