Why are Apple keynotes no longer hitting the right notes?

27th Oct 2013 | 11:01

Why are Apple keynotes no longer hitting the right notes?

Tim Cook and co need more fire in their bellies, reckons the web

The half-life of excitement levels surrounding Apple events is now measured in minutes. People go from joyous sobbing to complete disinterest in the time it takes to compose and edit a cynical tweet.

The latest Apple launch followed the format we've come to know and expect of big technology showcases, with months of leaks telling us exactly what to expect, before, about three minutes after the event, the world shrugs and gets on with its business.

This week saw Apple use its latest gathering to reveal the new, slightly thinner iPad Air, about which Apple seemed most keen to talk about the reduction in bezel size. Men in shirts also droned on about Haswell-powered MacBook Pros, plus, in a pretty brave move for the money-loving tech giant, it announced plans to take its Garageband music software into the "freemium" world and release the actually-really-free OS X Mavericks update.

But, after the usual bit of teatime live-tweeting excitement, everyone soon got back to discussing more important matters, like when Kyle and Gavin's GarageBand album will be released. Apple hardware may still sell like the clappers to the mainstream buyer, but the cynical internet population seems to be over its Apple keynote obsession.

Royal Gala

The apathy toward Apple's latest software launch was summarised in a rather vicious manner by TechCrunch commenter IlikeIT, who scoffed: "Do people not realize Apple has been pawning off the same OSX on us since 2001? Every named 'newest version' has only been a slight upgrade from the last. Basically we have been using the same OS for over 12 years. They did the same to us with iOS for the past 6 years also."

You could complain about that, but then you could also complain that they haven't changed the recipe used to make bourbon biscuits for decades, and that's actually a good thing because everyone likes them already and hates it when things change needlessly.

Cash crunch

Mr Resetti over on The Verge posed the question many ask of the Apple hardcore, saying: "Who the hell buys the new version of their $2000 computer every year in the first place?" People who sell their old ones to buy the new ones was the answer, plus, we suspect, self-employed artists who can buy them for work as tax dodges are also keen annual upgraders.

Further down The Verge's list of reader indifference, reader Lkthog asked of the disappointed masses: "In an era of 24-7 coverage of everything Apple does, fuelled by copious Apple supply chain leaks, what could possibly be surprising about an Apple event? Were you expecting the teleporter nobody knew was coming? What?"

Jobless total

Over on the New York Times Bits Blog, the writer led the commenters down the path of fury by suggesting the keynote was a rather boring affair. This ensured it all kicked off and a large number of page views were generated, meaning someone somewhere is considered a winner on the internet.

However, this attempt at rousing the rabble mostly failed, with the sensible likes of Lionz pointing out that there are bound to be some calm spells between the new tech storms, saying: "Because Apple has created so many revolutionary products, some consumers and bloggers are primed to expect a revolutionary product every year, and are disappointed when they don't get one every year. Relax, and enjoy products that are more advanced than those anyone else is making."

And as tends to happen when people dissect Apple's present-day performances, the workmanlike nature of the streamed presentation naturally had many yearning for some hot Steve action. DavGreg summarised the Jobs-for-sainthood feeling with his comment: "The millionaires we saw on stage the other day are all smart guys with many talents, but I think not one has the fire in the belly and clarity of vision of Steve Jobs."

Religious conversion

One bizarre winner emerged in the commentary beneath BGR's hatchet job on the new iPad Air that focused on Apple's continued lack of multi-user support - Microsoft. Reader Malia Obama came out with some words we never thought we'd see in this specific order, saying: "That's why I love Windows 8 tablets and expect them to get better and better. There are so many limitations to tablet operating systems that OSX and Windows already figured out."

And two people agreed with that out-there thought. Apple's iPad events are now so boring and predictable that even Microsoft hardware seems more appealing.

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