We pretty much knew what to expect for Apple's October media event. So then, how does having good hunches about what to expect affect our judgment about the products and technologies presented? It's an important question, and I want to pursue it.
It wasn't too hard to put together a picture of what Apple would and need to present on October 16. Our Kelly Guimont did that, and scored big. "Six Things Apple Will Announce October 16th."
I think that many observers will get the feeling that because the technologies and products have been leaked and/or previously discussed that the event was not as big a blockbuster event that it might have been.
For me, sizing up this kind of event has to be based on more fundamental metrics.
- Has Apple effectively communicated its family of products? And how they work together?
- Has Apple created a spectrum of iPads that allows customers to get the features they need in the size and price points they want? It's no coincidence that Apple is retaining the iPad mini and iPad mini 2 and iPad Air.
- Are we excited about the prospects of using the new products and services?
- Has Apple adequately explained the features of iOS 8 and Yosemite that customers will want to use?
This full line of iPads is no accident.
This kind of presentation is not a Christmas morning event in which some may be disappointed that they didn't get the toy they wanted. Rather, it's all about Apple putting together a story. That story has to be effectively communicated to the media attending the event in such a way that they don't miss the important points. (It happens.) What can we do with all this technology, so elegantly working together?
Perhaps the signature graphic of the event, shown many times, was the silhouette of the product line. This graphic has more power than showing the products face on. Face on, we're lost in what's on the display. However, from the side, we instantly grasp that Apple is building a family of products, each with its own beautiful design, that both interoperate and leverage from the Apple ecosphere.
An unexpectedly powerful graphic. It was used often during the event.
For example, let's say one is sitting in a coffee shop with an iPad Air 2 and wants to buy something with Apple Pay. It's not necessary to pull out the iPhone with Touch ID. One can view Touch ID on an iPad as a silly addition that mimics the iPhone or one can see it as fleshing out the capabilities of the product line. Touch ID wasn't the most requested feature for the iPad for idle reasons. Customers understand.
In the end, Apple fulfilled the hidden promise of its theme quote: "It's been way too long." Important things that we needed were attended to. In addition, new technologies like the A8X in the iPad Air 2 opens doors. The iMac with a 5K Retina display fills us us with anticipation and excitement for future prospects. Apple drags us, willingly, into the future.
It's not about the hardware you drool for. It's where your passion carries you.
All this is why Apple always shows images of people doing fabulous things with their Apple products. It's that excitement for possibilities that lights up within us. If we don't have that, then no Apple event will ever completely satisfy.
All images via Apple.