Programming Note: This site will be on break through the holidays and return in January. Be sure to subscribe or check back for updates!

Snippet: The Last Apple Keynote (Hopefully) ☇

Shared on September 11, 2019

Charlie Warzel for The New York Times:

But what started as a Steve Jobs TED Talk has become a parody — a decadent pageant of Palo Alto executives, clothed in their finest Dad Casual, reading ad copy as lead-ins for vaguely sexual jump-cut videos of brushed aluminum under nightclub lighting. The events are exhausting love letters to consumerism complete with rounds of applause from the laptop-lit faces of the tech blogging audience when executives mention that you (yes you!) can hold the future in your hands for just $24.95 per month or $599 with trade-in.

The entire event is at odds with our current moment — one in which inequality, economic precarity and populist frustration have infiltrated our politics and reshaped our relationships with once-adored tech companies. But it’s not just the tech backlash. When the world feels increasingly volatile and fragile, it feels a little obscene to gather to worship a $1,000 phone. Serving journalists pastries topped with gold leaf doesn’t do much to help either.

I respectfully disagree with many of Warzel’s opinions (yes, the game demos do need to go), but in the last few years, the Apple Keynote Cynic™ has become another ongoing trope around the tech world. Why hasn’t Apple had another hit that will shake up the entire industry and how we do computer things?! Most people know that the iPhone is a boring, evolutionary product at this point. How is it any different than a redesigned Toyota Camry being shown off at a press event or auto show? We know the formula and that’s a bit boring, but something new is still exciting and enjoyable. Personally, I’m going to probably hang on to my current iPhone for a bit longer, so I really got to watch as a spectator.

The ongoing narrative that the iPhone is a $1000 device really missed the star of the show, the iPhone 11, which is priced significantly less than that. Additionally, the lowest-priced iPad got a revamp. In what other industry is the only focus on the most loaded, most expensive product the point to judge a company?

Whether it’s a September event, WWDC, or any other time, many in the crowd are Apple employees who worked hard on the products finally being revealed to the public—of course they’re excited. They should be proud of their work—in “our current moment,” we could use some nice moments. Despite the cheesy moments, people taking a couple of hours a few times a year to get excited about technology is why I tune in.

Snippets are posts that share a linked item with a bit of commentary.