So the iPhone 3G S is coming, we have heard the announcement, many watched the live blogs and streams coming out of WWDC yesterday. If you were watching any of the live video streams you heard the thunderous applause given to many of the announcements. It was exciting; the fever of a new product announcement was in the air…
But in reality, why were people applauding? At one point I saw people standing up and cheering at the announcement of Copy and Paste being added to the iPhone OS 3.0, I would not be cheering but yelling “It’s about F*(king time!!” After all Windows Mobile and BlackBerry have had it for years. Same thing with the announcement of a 64-bit Kernel for OSX 10.6 Snow Leopard; Microsoft has had a 64-Bit Kernel since 2001 [IA64] for professional users and x86-64 bit kernels since 2005. But when Apple announced it you would have thought it was a brand new technology exclusive to Apple from the audience reaction. Why?
I sat and thought about for some time and came up with what I feel is the reason here; and it is one of the reasons that Apple does so well with all of their products. Presentation; it really is as simple as that.
Apple’s presentations are polished and precise; the timing is immaculate. The speakers are spot on in terms of vocal cadence and dynamic speaking. Apple has gone the extra mile when it comes to WWDC and I am sure the executives and speakers have spent some time with a vocal and speech coach preparing for each event.
If you have watched other events you will know what I am talking about. There is little showmanship, lots of rhetoric and usually the speaking is boring and static. With Apple they could literally announce that each new product will be shipping with a Tootsie Roll and people will get excited. Because of the way they announce it. In terms of showmanship it is nothing short of brilliant.
Let’s take a look at the Psychological warfare going on with Apple Products and how they market to you the consumer.
Apple holds its secrets very close, they create and nurture a sense of mystery and mystique. Of course there are leaks; but have you ever stopped to wonder about those? When I was in the Military as an Intelligence Analyst we talked about deception and Counter Intel measures; one of the best methods for keeping people from finding out what you were doing was to actually leak information. You leak real details and false. As the information gets processed it becomes confusing and can create a sense of anticipation and even excitement. The key is to release just enough to keep people wanting more.
In marketing you allow for pictures, the odd shaky cam video, developer leaks etc. When asked about these you do not deny them you simply make no comment. To deny something is pretty much an admission, but to say nothing gets people’s imagination going like nothing else.
Intel has become a master of this with CPU launches; just enough CPUs get into the hands of the high-end Overclockers to whet your appetite and make you want more. The Conroe and Kentsfield launches are brilliant examples of this as are 99% of Apple product launches.
Like a group of generals going to war Apple plans their marketing attack on the public. The launches [including leaks] are thought out and timed. Each one builds on the other. Features are talked about, wish lists presented; the industry insider contacts begin the dissemination of real and false information to the various media outlets. Apple ignores most and aggressively pursues a very small number [most of these get dropped after launch]. The combination of these strategies make the public hungry for more, when Apple goes after a blog for posting a picture the thought is “wow, they must have hit close to the mark” when they ignore others the thought is, “it must be a fake” it creates a sense of confusion and a desire to know the truth about the product. Apple’s war plans develop an infectious eagerness that is gathered up by the press and spread by bloggers on the internet. By the time the launch arrives the anticipation is at a fever pitch and the practiced and talented showmen from Apple take the stage like rock stars performing in front of adoring fans. Another Apple product is launched.
So the reason for the Thunderous Applause at the announcement of a simple and long overdue feature such as Copy and Paste is down to sheer showmanship and presentation. After all if you look at the features and “new” announcements from WWDC in, text only, list format you find that really there are only about 2 or 3 that truly deserve recognition. The rest… well all I can say is, “it’s about F*(king time Apple!”
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