Apple (Yawn) Launched a New iPhone and a Watch Yesterday

I just can't seem to get excited about Apple's new products. Am I getting boring? Or is Apple?

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I find it difficult to get excited about new consumer technology these days. It may be a sign that I’m getting older or cheaper, or perhaps a bit more jaded about how much easier things need to be. I already blame my iPhone for my waning ability to remember things, and I hold Netflix responsible for how much time I spend sitting in one place on weekends: Binge sessions of House of Cards have become a priority in my home.

I also find it difficult to get excited about big Apple releases (like yesterday’s) because I’m not quite sure that Apple is at the forefront anymore.

When I heard about the iPhone 6 release, I wasn’t all that excited. In truth, I haven’t really been excited about Apple since Steve Jobs died in 2011. I’ve had the 4s for as long as its been out and it suits me just fine. I watched the release announcement yesterday, not because I wanted the phone, but because everyone else was — I thought perhaps I missed something.

What was missed yesterday was an opportunity, at least from a branding perspective.

For the first time since the iPad’s rollout in 2010, the company uttered “One more thing” — a sign that we would have a shiny new gizmo to distract us in staff meetings and family dinners. This time it’s the Apple Watch, available in 2015 — a good thing, because the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus look eerily similar to Samsung’s wide-screen phones, though, let us not forget that Samsung also launched its Gear S watch, which could be available as early as October.

And then there was the launch broadcast.

When a technology company has technical difficulties as they try to tout their revolutionary tech products, it’s hard not to feel embarrassed for them. To the company’s credit, the live feed for Apple Event 2014 crashed because so many people were trying to tune in. But the Internet broadcast had various tech glitches during the live feed — blackouts, fits and starts, lapses into Chinese translation. At one point, my computer screen went retro with a “Stand By” rainbow screen; one can only hope this gets played up on Saturday Night Live this week.

I’d imagine that Tim Cook is under immense pressure (from outside and within) in the shadow of Steve Jobs, who had so thoroughly changed the way we live with the development of Apple’s signature products like the iPod, iPhone, Macbook, and the iPad. Surely, singular, visionary genius is a hard act to follow. In turn, Apple’s stock price has taken a slight dip, perhaps reflecting a bit of nervousness about whether the company can remain a trailblazer.

Of course, Apple has its cult following, could make it easy for the company to lose its competitive edge. Does that matter? Well, I guess that depends on if you believe that Apple is the same company now as when Jobs was at the helm.  Steve Jobs’ Apple made new products that anticipated need; Cook’s Apple seems to be making old products better. Which is perfectly fine, if not necessarily something to get excited about.

Previously: All the Details on Apple’s Crazy New iWatch

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