Apple’s unEvent

On Tuesday Apple had their semi-annual new product announcement fest that in years past would have dominated the news. The big news this year? To be honest, the biggest news coming out of the Apple event was that there wasn’t much news, it barely got noticed, and didn’t dominate anything.

Some say it was because Nokia held a similar event in Abu Dhabi on the same day to announce some new Windows phones (ho hum), HP and Acer also announced new Chromebooks (oooh), and Microsoft had a mini-event to announce “it will be hosting a series of midnight launch events at 10 Microsoft retail stores across the nation to celebrate the launch of Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2.” (Ten? That’s almost like a dozen, right?). 

Of course none of these announcements or events garnered much press either (maybe if Nokia had given away tickets to Abu Dhabi and paid for hotel rooms they would have received more coverage). 

But the main reason Apple’s event didn’t get it’s usual coverage wasn’t the competition. It was the fact that there wasn’t really anything new to talk about. Announcing a new version of a product that is basically the same as last year’s product only slightly not quite the same doesn’t get anyone terribly excited anymore.

You could almost hear news directors across the country exclaiming to their tech reporters ‘what do you mean you can only fill 30 seconds with Apple news? We count on these events to fill at least three minutes of air time twice a year!’

Of course there really wasn’t very much to say about any of these events. There wasn’t much meat on any of these bones. As they say, nothing to write home about.

It was as if the folks in Hollywood held a press event to announce ‘um…well we’re planning to do another Mission Impossible sequel, and another Twilight movie, and, uh…oh yea, there’s another Iron Man coming out, but that’s about it.’

Curiously the news about BlackBerry’s impending demise was more interesting (in a ‘I thought BlackBerry was already dead’ kind of way). And the rumor that former Apple CEO John Sculley (along with Cisco, SAP, and Google) might be interested in buying what’s left of the Waterloo Canada company adds a bit of sad irony to the whole story. Back when Sculley ran Apple he was widely criticized for not knowing a good product when he sat on one. I guess age doesn’t always bring wisdom.

But such is life in the tech news business. I suppose we could look at it like other news. When the only thing reporters have to report on is kittens stuck in trees then at least we know that nobody blew anything up, nobody started any new wars, no earthquakes or hurricanes or tsunamis killed thousands, and the government didn’t screw up anything recently – oh, right, the healthcare website.