Those who forget history: Apple's events haven't always been magic


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How does that saying go? “Those who forget history are doomed to write incorrectly about it”?

Writing for Mashable, Chris Taylor laments:

”Apple Magic Wears Thin at Underwhelming Launch” (tip o’ the antlers to @JonyIveParody)

“It’s been way too long,” read the press invites for Apple’s iPad Air 2 launch event Thursday. Presumably this was an attempt at a pun on the fact that the new tablet is ... thinner?

The Macalope has pondered this issue was well and concluded it was most likely a tongue-in-cheek nod to it only having been a handful of weeks since the last event. Either that or a reference to how long it had been since the Mac mini was updated.

Nope, that pun doesn’t quite work, and neither did the event—which was easily the most underwhelming example of Apple stagecraft since Gil Amelio was CEO in 1997.

Not really. Not at all, actually. We’ll get to that later.

Far from giving the impression that it had been too long since it had seen us, this famously guarded, introverted company seemed almost fatigued, like it was welcoming guests back in a dressing gown the morning after a very heavy party.

There was something oddly subdued about the event. Phil Schiller seemed particularly staid and, let’s face it, many of the jokes fell flat. When you have Stephen Colbert on and get one really funny line out of him, well...

So, was Apple’s October event less spectacular than its September event? No question.

Having the biggest iPhone launch ever isn’t hard given the scale of this simultaneous international launch, or the fact that Apple was launching two distinctly new iPhones at the same time.

Or the fact that Apple sold more phones. That also makes it easier.

Without even a single number, why even bother mentioning it?

Dunno. Maybe you should ask Jeff Bezos. He’s never given a single Kindle or Kindle Fire or Kindle Phone sales figure ever.

Schiller hardly seemed to believe his own spiel, which largely revolved around the iPad being a great device to take photos with. (I can buy the notion of consumers wanting a large viewfinder—but wouldn’t an iPad Mini, or an iPhone 6 Plus, suit that role better?)

Um, no? Since the iPad Air has the largest screen? How do you get the point and also not actually get the point at the same time? It’s like Taylor is Schrödinger’s event watcher.

Now we get into the “not remembering history” phase of the article.

But perhaps a day like this was inevitable. Apple has become both complacent and cautious.

Sure, the whole Watch and Apple Pay and what are you talking about?

By the time the Apple Watch comes out next year, it’ll be half a decade since Apple last entered a new product category.

And? It was 6 years from the launch of the iPod to the launch of the iPhone. Events do not compress in time as they move into the past, you know.

It’s no surprise that the launch event, a formula Steve Jobs invented and restlessly tinkered with from 1997 until he perfected it in 2007, should start to look staid and old too, bereft of ideas or enthusiasm.

OK, stop. Just... stop. It is utterly, fabulously false to imply that every Apple keynote in the last decade was aces until this one. Here’s how The Register described Jobs’s 2008 Macworld Expo keynote where he introduced the MacBook Air:

”Mojo-free Jobs delivers Macworld goods”

Is Steve Jobs losing his mojo? Almost speechless by the end of his Macworld keynote, the Apple chief executive’s “to-do-list” left little by way of the surprises or thrills legions of Jobs-loving fanboys have come to expect.

Don’t even get the horny one started on how people reacted to Phil Schiller’s keynote the following year which featured a video about a battery.

Apple needs to reinvent this show soon, because it’s been way too long.

You know what’s really tired? Pieces that come out lamenting how each Apple event after a big one shows that the company has lost its “magic” and “mojo.”

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