Apple's iPhone Announcement Reveals Nothing New

Today's iPhone press event shows Apple has lost its touch in inspiring and surprising people.

iPhone 5C casings at Apple press event

Apple iPhone 5C casings, shown here, were among the things that made today's iPhone press event trivial.  (Image Sources:  Reuters)

This morning, at Apple headquarters in Cupertino, California, the tech company had a press event announcing some new products on the iPhone line, replacing the iPhone 5 with the iPhone 5C and iPhone 5S, and displaying their operating system, iOS 7, due September 18.  If you had some spoiler filter on, you might in fact be surprised at what was announced.  However, given the press coverage of the announcement far exceeding the length and content of the Apple press event itself, nothing new was actually revealed, because we already knew days in advance what to expect, almost down to the specs of the phones.  That only shows that Apple, once this hip company that could astound people at being "different," has turned into just another tech company with extra confetti.

How do I know this days in advance?  It is not actually hard.  Almost every general tech outlet has followed every single plausible rumor and leak about Apple to the ground, and many have followed rumors that are not so true.  The Wall Street Journal often leaks news with impunity.  Now, we can say that about 90% of those rumors and leaks came out to be true in some form or another, with a few exceptions (particularly those concerning the possible release of a new iWatch, or a bigger screen for the iPhone 5S). 

Showing off the Apple iPhone 5S

Apple's Phil Schiller, showing off the iPhone 5S, which is not that different.

It used to be that all you would hear about Apple is that they were announcing something big around the corner.  Then, surprise, something big would be announced that you would not expect.  Often, Steve Jobs would subvert expectations by pulling a Colombo-esque "One more thing..." to the crowd, revealing another product or service.  The populace would be mystified, the fan base would rejoice, and shareholders would be pleased.

But Steve Jobs' passing has shown that all that is left to these announcements is mere flash and show.  Tim Cook, for all his graces, lacks the showmanship of Jobs, and plays off new developments with the energy of a socialite.  This matches up with Apple's current vision of its press events:  The only reason these events are important anymore is because they make them exclusive and elite, with events being held at Cupertino or the Yerba Buena Center of the Arts in downtown San Francisco to select "trusted" journalists.  They are tech cocktail parties.

More of the Apple iPhone 5C.  Ho hum.

The Apple iPhone 5C, a slightly more colorful iPhone.  Didn't they do that with the iPod?

Apple's products themselves are not that interesting since the death of Jobs, being repeats or upgrades of previous Apple products.  Today is no exception:  The iPhone 5S's one big new feature is a fingerprint scanner on its home button.  A fingerprint scanner.  Not exactly exciting.  Furthermore, almost all the important information about Apple's new products (the one exception almost always being price, a problem to few fans) is revealed, verified, and confirmed, spoiled to the masses.  Therein lies the rub with Apple press events and announcements now:  If we know what is going to happen, what is so special about them?