As the world wakes up to another Wednesday, the tech sphere is rife with excitement and speculation about tonight’s Apple event – another press conference from the brand which consistently achieves pull like no other. The media has been bustling with conjecture about the announcements to be made and live blogs of the build-up to another in the series of the best managed PR events in the world.
But how does Apple achieve such unswerving and widespread anticipation ahead of its new releases, and the level of appraisal and meticulous analysis in the days and even weeks afterwards?
Of course, there are a number of quite obvious reasons why Apple manages to drum up such wild anticipation ahead of its launch events.
First is their focused scheme of cleverly-planned leaks, rumours and teases which keep us hanging on, privately and publicly wondering what could be next. It’s then a somewhat self-perpetuating cycle of fuss being made and the rest of us speculating what all the fuss is about.
But hype must have sturdy pegs on which to hang itself.
Aside from the technological capacities of their devices, Apple’s hysteria is in large part due to its enviable ‘cool factor’ or ‘think different’ motto.
Vital to this is their focus on design. The iPhone wasn’t the first smartphone to market, but it was the first with an interface that was not only user-friendly but also entirely surpassed its competitors aesthetically. Minimalism is key: last summer it was reported that Apple University – the internal scheme set up by Steve Jobs in 2008 to educate Apple employees in the company’s culture and approach – uses Picasso’s ‘Bull’ to demonstrate the company’s style aspirations. The famous series, in which the artist deconstructs a bull to its simplest form – leaving merely a handful of lines – sets the tone for Apple’s design ethos: if it could be simpler, it’s not simple enough.
Their ‘cool factor’ is further strengthened by the fact that Apple’s products are on the whole portrayed as being semi-affordable luxury – attainable for young professionals and aspirational enough for younger users. Their status in this regard is in no small part to their marketing and PR efforts – reports have claimed that Apple has a dedicated Momentum and Buzz division of its in-house press team, focused on integrating the products into popular culture, using celebrities and public figures as vehicles in their promotion of Apple’s desirability.
Above all, however, the excitement is born from their track record of brilliant product capabilities, which are clearly top of the range when it comes to the majority of meaningful and popular attributes, and Apple’s integration of devices is unparalleled.
However, the majority of tech commentators would agree that the releases of the Tim Cook era haven’t yet matched up to the revolutionary developments under Steve Jobs. The iPod, iPhone and iPad were all huge leaps. Apple is, perhaps, still riding the wave of its legacy successes.
The iPhone, for example, was marketed when first released as being able to do a few important and desirable things exceptionally well. Fast forward to the present day and the Apple Watch, on the other hand, accomplishes countless generally trivial tasks.
But the hype surrounding the Apple Watch appears to be more about what it could do and how it might be used. The excitement is in the mystery and anticipation, the potential that such a device could hold. The value proposition isn’t fully there yet – but the prospect for greatness is.
It is precisely this potential for Apple to create revolutionary and unparalleled innovations that keeps us so interested, even if the last release event or the one before didn’t fully satisfy our appetite. Smartphones and tablets have become so important to our daily lives that Apple’s pivotal role in the transformation of these markets has made them a focal point for our excitement around – and dependency on – such innovations. If anyone is going to make a substantial leap in these so very central technologies, it will be Apple. And if it’s announced this time around, wouldn’t you want to hear about it first?
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