It’s about the wireless. The Beats purchase finally makes sense.
I have a pair of Sennheiser Bluetooth headphones. Whenever I wear them, which is nearly every day, someone comments. They’re stunned. I love them. But the sound is limited, in quality and volume. It appears that Apple has solved this problem, with its W1 chip.
I’d love to tell you today’s Apple presentation was a home run. But they’ve lost touch with the fact that it is a presentation, that it is entertainment. The Carpool Karaoke opening was a left field stunner, it humanized Tim Cook, who’s badly in need of being seen as more than a droid. But then it went on too long, with Pharrell in the back seat. There’s a skill in performance. We in Hollywood get pissed on by those up north. But without our content, without our ability to tell a story, their devices are useless. Sometimes you’ve got to leave the best stuff out. But no one at Apple knew where to draw the line.
And the presentation got boringer and boringer, with not only Cook, but a rainbow coalition of women and ethnicities. Is that the nation we’ve become, where we’re so busy being politically correct that it affects our culture? We want to give everybody an opportunity, a leg up, but when it’s the bottom of the ninth and you’re two behind…
You bring out Phil Schiller.
The Watch guy… Didn’t tell us if the Watch itself was improved. It was all about software, there was no mention of charging times, of functionality re the screen staying on. He blew his chance.
But Phil Schiller, the old white guy…
He blew us away!
It’s about keeping our attention. Something Sia is not doing as I write this. The breakthrough would be to have no music, the idea of a star du jour playing at the end of these shows is so stale that it should not be repeated, but, once again, no one left at Apple has a sense of theatre.
So, Phil comes out without any bells and whistles, tells us he’s got a ten point program, and keeps us in rapt attention as he goes through the list. This is the modern paradigm, we don’t have a short attention span, just an incredible detector of b.s., we change the channel if you’re not great, that’s the world we live in, where excellence triumphs and everything else is left in the dust.
The cameras… Those were impressive.
As well as the performance specs.
As for design… To hear Jony Ive testify is to think of an SNL skit, this guy has become a parody of himself, this element should be abandoned too, get someone else to narrate, better to do live.
But, it’s what was left behind which is most interesting. We’ve been hearing for months that Apple is abandoning the headphone port. It’s been lamented, no one has explained the change until yesterday, when David Pogue gave a convincing case. (“Why The Headphone Jack Must Die: yhoo.it/2chNZUU) That’s the nation we now live in, where facts are irrelevant and everybody wants to stay in the past. We need a national explainer, like Walter Cronkite way back when, to keep everybody up to speed on what is really going on. If you watched this presentation you’d be glad the headphone port is gone, and, to boot, they included a lightning adapter for your old phones! Headphones, that is.
But it’s the wireless ones that were intriguing. The pods looked…futuristic and funky, you almost don’t want to be seen wearing them. But when they said the Beats headphones would include the W1 chip and the resulting wireless I was intrigued, that’s what I want, high quality wireless sound, this is a breakthrough.
Will they license the technology? Are the specs really that good?
What is clear is that the star is the product, built by human beings.
The star is the music, built by human beings.
You lead with the product.
People care about the product.
But most people believe they deserve attention when they cannot get out of their own way and cannot deliver something deserving of interest.
We need thinkers. We need pushers of the envelope. We need people who pay their dues who are willing to do it different.
That’s the Steve Jobs way.
P.S. Too many old people in the audience. Makes Android look like a youth movement.
P.P.S. Only 17 million Apple Music subscribers, who skew old too? It’s like Apple Music is spinning off into its own universe that the rest of us can comfortably avoid. Bells and whistles are irrelevant when the underlying infrastructure sucks. You watch this presentation and wonder if this stuff really works, whether you can swim with the Watch, but today we expect everything to work right, right out of the box. Apple Music didn’t and still doesn’t. It needs a rethink and a rewrite. And no exclusive appearance by Sia will push it forward. We’re looking for visceral excitement, the only person who delivered it today was Phil Schiller.
P.P.P.S. I want a date with Toadette!