Of all the things Apple do well, creating a hullabaloo is one of the best. Despite ongoing wars and Scotland’s bid for independence, the launch of a new product still performed well in the news agenda on Tuesday. Live from Cupertino, the world’s hippest tech company put on a show to rival the biggest movie premiere, presidential inauguration or royal wedding. In terms of global audience, it was an unrivalled success.
But strip away the fripperies and rock bands (U2 played some songs, as if you hadn’t noticed), and was all the fuss and bluster worth the candle? Well, almost but not quite.
Bono and the boys weren’t the headline act, because this was all about the iPhone 6. Just as owners of the iPhone 5 had adopted sneering at owners of the iPhone 4 as a rather neat lifestyle, suddenly we’re all archaic twerps, thanks to our lack of the new futuristic oblong.
There’ll always be a hardcore of Apple addicts who will welcome the arrival of a new iPhone as if greeting golden beings from Venus. The rest of us are free to view new product a bit more objectively. From what I’ve seen, tremors of excitement may well be a terrible overreaction. Without the honour of actually operating an iPhone 6, my opinion must be based on appearances – and the most noticeable feature is the larger screen. This is long overdue. I believe Apple allowed Android (particularly the Samsung Galaxy) to grab a hefty slice of market-share by sticking with the relatively small ‘framed’ screen. So, while a more sizeable frontage on the iPhone is welcome, it now looks as though Apple is playing catch-up. Which is not really in keeping with their brand position.
I don’t know how much it costs to develop an iPhone with an extended screen, but if I were running the iPhone project, I’d have gone for battery life. Obviously, I’m no technology entrepreneur, but I am still convinced that any company introducing a smart phone with a five day battery capacity, will do very nicely indeed. I’m sure there’s a very good scientific reason why this hasn’t been done, but it’s a prize for the taking.
And still, U2 had to wait for their moment of glory, because next came a proper surprise. Well, I say that, there had been rumours for months, but nobody was really betting on an iWatch. However, that’s what we got (actually, we’re supposed to call it an Apple watch; the whole ‘i’ thing seems to be dead or dying). To date, Apple have excelled at rectangles. The iPad, iPod, various laptops and the iPhone have all followed those basic dimensions. This is something different. It’s round and you wear it.
Again, Apple aren’t first to market with this. A Galaxy watch appeared earlier this year – and seeing its clunky profile left me very sceptical about such objects. The Apple watch, though, does look quite attractive. That is, it looks like a proper watch. It’s going to be available in various shapes, with various straps, so I can just about see people wearing them without fear of being called an ostentatious idiot. Sadly, I’m afraid I can’t comment on the functionality until Apple send me one to review. Don’t hold your breath for that.
Finally, the band had their shot. And Apple, being what they are, weren’t content to simply have a megagroup perform. Oh, no. U2 also had new product to push, which comes in the form of a new album called ‘Songs Of Innocence’. Handily, you can pick up a copy on iTunes – for free. That’s right, U2’s new collection has been paid for by Apple. Indeed, some subscribers have found it sitting in their libraries unrequested. I’ve yet to find anybody pleased about this, funnily enough. Perhaps, these days, U2 can’t even give their music away.
And there you have it. Two new iPhones, an Apple watch and a free U2 album. That’s how you create a hullabaloo; that’s how you create a market. Moreover, the real beauty lies in Apple’s ability to do it all over again when the Apple watch 2.0 is launched. Just imagine how inadequate we’ll feel about our mark-one models then.