Apple: It’s Not You, It’s Me

I tuned in for a few seconds, but had to turn it off. That’s not enough time to make a reasoned judgement about the content of Apple’s latest keynote of course, but I just couldn’t continue watching.

This wasn’t always the case as Apple keynotes were once something I relished.

I distinctly remember one event that took place in 2005. I’m not sure why this particular keynote sticks in the memory (I think the main announcement was the inclusion of television episodes on iTunes). I suspect having recently upgraded to broadband, this was the first for which I could stream the video. But that evening, like many before it, was entirely consumed by a few announcements made in California.

Today I find myself not only uninterested in Apple’s keynotes, but actually at a point where I can’t even watch them in the background. They have always been over-the-top in terms of presentation, with adjectives like “amazing”, “incredible”, “magical”, “gorgeous” flowing like water. But now they feel different, and I’m not sure why.

Perhaps it’s my familiarity with the formula. A video featuring the opening of a new Apple Store with all the irritating whooping and hollering that must accompany it. A series of bar charts showing incredible product adoption. A few choice quotes from favoured journalists. Another video, maybe Jony Ive talking at great lengths about the redesign of an internal fan. Next up it’s Craig Federighi building his part, one dad joke at a time. Finally, finish with a brief comment from Tim Cook about how “only Apple can do this” before concluding with Coldplay performing a few tracks from their latest album.

Perhaps it’s because their products are no longer objects I desire, instead they have become simply tools I use to get my job done. Tools which everyone around me use as well; glowing Apples as far as the eye can see.

Or perhaps – and this might be the most likely reason – participating in a marketing exercise carried out by the world’s most profitable corporation isn’t the same as following a plucky little computer company with less than 5% market share. Apple do many good things, and Tim Cook seems to possess a strong moral compass, but that hasn’t directed him towards fixing the company’s tax avoidance strategies. If he made Apple a B-Corp, I might believe more of the rhetoric.

Apple are just another technology company, trying to sell me stuff I don’t want (and only sometimes need). And I no longer see the fun in that.