Thoughts on the Apple Keynote

March 10, 2011

In my last post, I discussed the allure of the Apple Media Event. But I addressed the media’s obsession with it just due to the fact of it’s existence. What I didn’t discuss was the actual event itself — meaning that when the mute boy finally speaks, what does he say? Or more importantly, how does he say it?

The Apple keynote itself, simply put, is legendary. Marketing professionals salivate over it, how nothing more than a press release can be turned into a “media event,” that is something so significant that it simply can’t be missed. Somehow a mere keynote has turned into an occasion that anybody who’s anybody in the media needs to be at. It’s not open for all — only the best of the best are invited to this extravaganza!

The keynote’s themselves are extremely formulaic. It starts with the ending of a popular song, after which Steve Jobs emerges on stage in from of a large Apple logo that is projected. The crowd goes crazy… people are whooping, yelling, and shouting for the iCEO. What most don’t realize is that Apple actually places employees scattered throughout the crowd who are instructed to cheer very loudly and frequently throughout the keynote. Then the media sees these people cheering and feel the need to cheer themselves. Before long, you have a crowd of the media’s most distinguished yelling at the top of their lungs just at the mere appearance of a man who’s about to announce how he’s about to get more of the crowd’s money, whether they truly want to spend it or not.

Jobs, known for his tyrannical dictatorial leadership of Apple, puts on an appearance of utmost humility. “Thank you for coming”, “It’s great to be here.” Then, the humility disappears. All their keynotes start with statistics… how Apple is better and more profitable than every other country in the industry. Their last quarter was their best ever. Their retail stores are more successful than ever. The trillionth app and the bajillionth song was recently downloaded on iTunes. They have a billion credit cards on file. Same thing every single time.

And then Steve gets to the point. The product that everyone is expecting Apple to announce (because Apple has leaked it to the rumor mill) gets announced. The crowd goes crazy. It’s even THINNER than expected! And it does this. Nobody expected this to be a part of the new product! Once again Apple has stepped up the competition in ways even the rumor mill didn’t predict (no matter that nobody expected it because Apple held it back when the ship leaked from the top).

Demo time! He calls up other executives to show the world that “Hey, Apple is more than Steve Jobs!” That way, when Steve Jobs isn’t CEO anymore, it won’t seem like a complete and utter change… it’ll be the same old familiar faces. Phil Schiller, Scott Forstall, Tim Cook, Johnny Ives, Randy Ubillos, the whole gang ready for action. They basically just show off the software of the latest and greatest and how it’s revolutionary and unlike anything that’s ever hit the industry and how nothing will ever be the same.

Then one of either two things will happen. 1) Steve Jobs will thank everyone for coming and that’s that. Or he’ll pull his famous trick out of his sleeve.

“But there is one more thing.”

It’s like the kid on Christmas morning who goes through all his presents. His parents, after he opens the last one and is satisfies with what he’s received, go to the closet and pull out the biggest gift of all. Now, Christmas is a smash success! Apple through Steve Jobs frequently does this very tactic. The trick where everyone thinks the keynote is over, and is excited about what Apple has presented, and thinks that’s that. And then Jobs stuns the audience by saving the best thing for last.

Now expectations have been met, and exceeded. The media has witness not a press release, not a presentation, but an event. And what type of coverage does an event warrant? Nothing less than front page.

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One Response to “Thoughts on the Apple Keynote”

  1. Patrick said

    Sounds pretty straightforward, the way you explain it. So every company does this, right?

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