Welcome to Apple, Tim Cook’s Apple
It was only yesterday when Steve Jobs stood on the stage playing with our hearts and mind teasing that he had come up with the best mobile phone, an internet browser and an iPod and miraculously combined them into one device, calling it the iPhone. Steve took the air away from the room. It was a revolution. With the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus and the Apple Watch being announced yesterday, literally, you cannot help but feel, its not the same anymore, it really is not. This is no more Steve Job’s Apple, this is Tim Cook’s Apple. I wish we could say, just as good, but not even bringing back the ‘One more thing’ segment will do.
PR. Web strategy. B2B. Branding. Typography. Integrated hw/sw design. Product category. All (re)launched today. #Apple
— Noah Kravitz (@noahkravitz) September 9, 2014
So, what has changed, how is Apple different or what has Tim Cook done, that Steve would not, at least broadly speaking, lets quickly run through.
Beauty used to matter, no more
Apple products, under Steve Jobs, were marvellous, they were exquisite, they were the most beautiful gadgets, you would know of. The iPhone 4 was a classic case. The design was simply incredible. You could argue that the iPhone 5 was in initial planning stages when Steve was around and fair enough, it was a fine looking piece of hardware. The iPhone 6 was perhaps the first iPhone which Steve Jobs did not see in his lifetime, and maybe he is glad about it.
the new gold iphone 6 looks so bad sigh! — Varun (@varunkrish) September 9, 2014
Having read several reports online, not one has claimed that the iPhone 6 or 6 Plus are stunning or gorgeous, to look at or to hold, a characteristic, you really associate with Apple.
Listening to @JordanOplinger describe the new iPhones is amazing. “There’s a really big one, and… a kinda big one.”
— David Pierce (@piercedavid) September 10, 2014
Those white running contacts in the metallic chassis of gold iPhones look just odd and what is it with the exposed camera module?
And let’s not even get into sizes. Wasn’t it just last year where Apple was moaning how phones are getting larger and larger and not practical as we simply do not have hands that are large enough to operate them with one hand?
I’m shocked the response is 50/50 since I was expecting more like 70/30 for the 6/6+. — Stefan Constantine (@WhatTheBit) September 9, 2014
What happened, did the average size of the human race magically multiplied several times? I am still struggling to see the sense in two iPhones, we could well have done with the 4.7 inches one alone, so why the bigger one? No, no explanations offered.
The death of iDevices and iServices
Lower case i died today — Noah Kravitz (@noahkravitz) September 9, 2014
The two new Apple services and products announced last night were Apple Pay and Apple Watch. Did you notice something? Yes, there is no legendary ‘i’ in there. As a pure branding exercise, Apple had become synonymous with iGadgets. Even somebody with no sense of tech know about could tell you, that the iMac was a computer, the iPhone was an Apple phone, that iMessage was a message service.
I’m going to call it the iWatch forever and you can’t stop me — David Pierce (@piercedavid) September 9, 2014
It was all so subtle yet profound. Moving away from that to everything labelled Apple sounds painfully ordinary, like even a class 10th kid could do. It is mainstream, it is what you would expect a Samsung to do, where they label their products with branding so shiny, that it just feels into your face. iPay or the iWatch, still sounds so much sexier and smarter than the Apple Watch.
Painfully practiced, rehearsed and cheesy celebrity interactions
If Apple offered a $1 credit to download the new U2 album I still wouldn’t download it.
— Todd Haselton (@robotodd) September 10, 2014
Remember how Steve did his keynotes? Yes they were rehearsed, apparently the man used to get super nervous before them too by all accounts, but they were all about Apple and it was the Apple show.
Tim wants to talk about Apple’s love of music. That’s weird that never happens during these events! — Joshua Topolsky (@joshuatopolsky) September 9, 2014
The show last night featured a U2 video concert. Since when did a launch of an iPhone have anything to do with Bono and his cool shades look? Never. And to top that, the scripted interaction, which perhaps the cheesiest of script writer could have come up with.
Did I miss the announcement of the iPhone 6 U2 Plus? — Joanna Stern (@JoannaStern) September 9, 2014
What happened to the elegance, the grace and bold stature of Apple which screamed, we are too big to let anyone steal our thunder? Could you imagine Steve ever inviting Bono to his keynote, never mind holding a scripted chat with him in aid of a music album release?
That horrible horrible live stream
If you saw the keynote live, you would definitely know what I am going to say here. And yes, it would not have happened under Steve. The livestream of the event literally killed all the excitement for those who were sitting at home and following. Countless refreshes, and countless dropouts with occasionally a Chinese or Korean translator talking over Phil Schiller or Tim Cook formed what was generally a terrible experience, taken to a new height by an ‘Apple Truck’ visual.
The internet is not designed for Apple days — Joshua Topolsky (@joshuatopolsky) September 9, 2014
Somewhere on the planet, the Youtube Team was literally laughing their backsides off, and rightly so, Apple had dropped a clanger here as it redirected all the traffic from their main website to the live stream, servers were bound to crash.
Since when did Apple start doing Hashtags?
It was alarming when Tim Cook tweeted with #AppleLive. Few others followed, and you knew the Twitter bug had bitten them hard and left an impression. Since when did Apple propagate hashtags? Yes, Social Media is big, yes hashtags are everywhere, but wasn’t Apple bigger? Wasn’t Apple bolder in approach? It was sad to see last night that #AppleLive trended worldwide on number one, while iPhone 6 was tottering somewhere in third to sixth place. Until recently, iPhone would have been your top global trend, and no, nobody could care about a hashtag. Maybe next up, we will see Apple set up a Twitter account just like every other gadget brand.
Yes, one could argue Apple is practicing new age marketing techniques and making their presence felt at places like Twitter which is where everyone is present and may take the platform more seriously after recently acquiring Radian 6. WHat will be interesting to see is if this was a one off or simply will Apple do more with Twitter.
The Apple Watch is still prettier in my head
iWatch is the new iTouch. Sigh. — Dieter Bohn (@backlon) September 9, 2014
One of the things Steve was a pioneer at was that under his guidance, Apple came up with products, that we just could not imagine. The iPad take for example. Nobody could have thought about a better internet surfing device, semi replacement for a laptop, when an iPad came out. It made a lot of sense. It was one of the charms of owning an Apple device as you could see the sense in it. The Apple watch in comparison, is still prettier in our minds than in reality.
Yes, it is a beautifully designed product and does what it does well, apparently. But, have the standards really fallen to that level? Since when was good acceptable? The Apple Watch just does too much at the moments. That navigation using the digital crown, can you imagine doing that in public? People will think you have serious issues with your watch and that is why fiddling with the poor lever and clearing the crown from your skin to rotate it, it just sounds a bit complicated. The UI in itself? A square watch, with square bezels but round UI elements? Really? Storing songs on a watch? Why Apple?
The Apple watch while still keeps consumer experience at the center is a glorified Gear. Yes it has incredible build quality, but its a regtangular watch and it will divide opinion, just watch what happened with the Android Wear.
I’m gonna judge you if you drop $350 on the Apple Watch. — Dhruv (@DhruvBhutani) September 9, 2014
Everyone was looking at the Apple Watch or the iWatch to lead the wearable revolution, I am not so sure if it succeeded in that.
Whichever way you look at, and maybe I am being overly critical because of the standards Apple set, but Apple has changed, and expectedly, no two men can be alike and we saw this coming. But what was billed as the biggest and the most important keynote, since the original iPhone, we went to sleep a bit sad. Sad because the memories have spoilt us, sad because it was hard to see a giant come down a level and take human steps.
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