A couple of weeks ago, Bryan Webster (whoever he might be) emailed Steve Jobs with the following message: “Are google taking the piss? I hope you have some good WWDC announcements to blow them out the water?”
Steve replied fifteen minutes later with what every Apple lover wanted to hear: “You won’t be disappointed”.
Now, I can’t speak for Bryan, but I can tell you now, I’m disappointed.
Of course, there was plenty to be excited about in Steve’s keynote. iPhone 4 looks astounding, and I can’t wait to get my hands on one. Renaming iPhone OS to iOS is something that has needed to happen for a long time – there’s no more clunky ‘iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad’, now it’s simply ‘iOS devices’. Easy to write, easy to read. Brilliant.
Hell, I even think the bumpers that Apple announced for the iPhone are a great idea.
(I’m less excited about Farmville coming to the iPhone, but I’m probably not the target Farmville demographic.)
So why am I disappointed? Well, there are just no surprises any more. Steve’s WWDC keynote was like a Christmas present that you choose for yourself: they’re still great – and frankly, exactly what you want – but the excitement of unwrapping them just isn’t the same.
We’ve been spoilt by knowledge that half of Apple’s own employees probably aren’t even privy to before the big events.
I could blame Gizmodo for the iPhone saga, but frankly, if it didn’t publish the images, someone else would have. And Australian Macworld isn’t averse to publishing the odd rumour. “Let he who is without sin…” and all that.
It used to be that waking up at 3am to follow a live blog of a Stevenote would bring untold surprises. Sure, there were always hints and blurry images circulating amongst the die-hard fans, but that just added to the excitement. “Surely Apple won’t release that weird looking fat iPod nano,” we all cried. It was quickly followed by the inevitable response: “Wow, it looks so much better than it did in those blurry photos!” Perhaps it’s Apple’s supposed ‘reality distortion field’, or perhaps the photos courtesy of Mr Blurrycam just didn’t show the nano’s potential. (I must admit, the same is true for me and iPhone 4’s ‘seams’ – they look okay now that I know what they’re for.)
You see, the problem doesn’t lie with these geeks and nerds (of which I consider myself one, so there’s no need to write in and lambast me for being ‘nerdist’): Apple has wholeheartedly moved from the underground to the mainstream. Apple no longer means a few sexy white gadgets that a tiny subset of the population lusts after. It now sells to the mass market. With the iPad it has even created a mass market. iPhones are everywhere, and iPads would be everywhere if Apple could keep up with demand. It’s just a matter of time before all these new iOS users (see, it’s much easier) ‘switch’ to Macs too, and then they’ll be everywhere as well.
Apple going mainstream means that these rumours get a whole lot more attention than they used to – this stuff is now suddenly very newsworthy. Gizmodo’s iPhone images were featured on countless websites, big and small, they were shown on the TV news, and many of my very un-technological relatives and friends all seemed to know about the new iPhone. Australian morning TV shows even advertised the night before the keynote that they would have exclusive photos of the iPhone the following day.
Quite frankly, everyone knew this was coming.
Then out of nowhere (almost), there was a new Mac mini released this week. Although I got the leaked specs an hour or two before the Apple Store came back up, I was happy to see a brand new unibody design appear before me. Apple appears to be back on form with unexpected brilliance.
So come on Apple, keep the announcements coming this month with a new Apple TV. We’ve heard a few rumours about it running iOS, and looking a bit like an iPhone, but we haven’t actually seen it yet. Consider our appetites whetted.
Don’t leave it up to a tech blog to leak the images before it’s out. I guess it’s not likely to be left in a bar, but if it’s out in the wild, it will show up on the internet – there are just too many hits up for grabs nowadays.
Just announce it already. Next Tuesday is fine. Maybe even the one after. And take the Apple Store down to add it. We know it’s not necessary, but it does get us nerds all fired up.
Then we really won’t be disappointed.