Apple on paper is a consumer technology company – but it would be so wrong to classify them in that category alone. Apple’s influence transcends technology. Music distribution and liberal arts have also been greatly affected, but probably for me the most overlooked area Apple has revolutionised is how products are introduced.
The vast majority of Apple’s competitors borrow some or all of the elements that Apple pioneered, here are some examples:
The Invite: Before you even get to events, you get the invite. Here’s the model that others have since copied (see here):
- One photo, often dropping a hint about what will be announced but not always (see the iPad mini invite).
- One sentence. Always a cryptic message relevant to what will be announced. Some examples: ‘We’ve got a little more to show you’, ‘We’ve got something for you to see and touch’ and ‘Come see what 2011 will be the year of.’
Apple essentially minimalized the invite format, or revolutionised it.
The Keynote: No technology company used grand keynotes to introduce products before Apple. The frenzy surrounding them, and the entire process leading up to, during and afterwards was pioneered by Apple, Steve Jobs in particular. Here’s how it goes down on D-Day.
- The event technically starts a lot before the actual time on the invite. Press start arriving early, line up outside Apple’s venue of choice. Normally an Apple logo is visible in the background. Photos start to go up on Twitter. Excitement rises.
- About ten minutes before the event, the first photos of the inside appear.
- Steve Jobs/Tim Cook finally takes to stage. Wild clapping before the usual speech. ‘This is the best time to be at Apple. We’re creating some amazing products.’
- A run through ‘boring’ info, but it’s all part of the show. New Apple Stores, stats, possibly a video or two.
- The exciting part then goes down, the products are announced.
- Ads and product videos shown. Normally includes Apple team talking about product.
- The whole thing is then wrapped up pretty quickly, occasionally with a musical performance.
- Twitter goes nuts. Knee jerk reactions. For example: the iPad is just a bigger iPhone. This iPhone is exactly the same as the last one.
- Pre-orders. Huge demand, despite the knee jerk remarks. The people who say the comments tend to still buy the product, but just later when they’ve changed their mind.
- Rumors start for the next product to be released. Cycle begins again.
The above is absolutely true of Apple, and other companies like Google or Microsoft try to replicate it to an extent, even though most of the time it’s not half as successful. If you’ve never followed a keynote before, hopefully this will tell you what to expect. Put it to good use for the iPad mini event!