The Changing Nature of Apple’s Product Announcements

Dan Moren, Macworld:

Most of us love Apple events. There’s an excitement and a theater to them that is rare in corporate presentations, and is surprisingly hard to replicate. (We’ve all probably seen events from rival companies that have tried to pull off an Apple-esque vibe with less than successful results.)

This week’s updates, however, arrived by press release. Apple’s no stranger to that methodology: the company has dropped plenty of products like this in its history, especially when it clearly considers the products in question to be more minor releases, such as updates to existing devices that don’t really require spinning a story.


In addition to the usual press materials and images distributed with this week’s announcements came something more unusual: a video featuring Apple senior vice president of software engineering, Craig Federighi, demoing the new trackpad features. While it was reminiscent of the slick product videos that Apple frequently shows off during its events, look closer and you start to see that it’s not quite as smooth. It’s shot at Apple Park, with nobody else onscreen but Federighi, though there may be someone else using the iPad at some points. It’s hard to tell.

This video has fascinated me since it was first posted by Dieter Bohn at the Verge. Partly, that’s because it was posted with no attribution, but also because the fine print does not say “Magic Keyboard coming in May” but, rather, “R1x coming in May”. It does not appear on Apple’s YouTube channel, nor is it included in the iPad Pro’s press release — not even in the package of images at the bottom. Eventually, Six Colors posted the video to YouTube, where it noted in the description that it was “supplied to journalists by Apple”.

That’s odd. Apple’s PR strategy has been so consistent that any changes are inherently interesting, if you’re the kind of person who cares about the foibles of the company.

Apple has done one-to-one briefings before, both in person and remotely. It has held small-scale press-only events, it has announced products through press releases, and it gives reference materials to journalists supplied with review units. But I can’t think of an instance where it has given promotional videos to the press for them to publish.