Not the contents of the keynote, mind you, but the keynote presentation itself:
The truth is that events like this seem crazy hard to pull off well, and while Apple generally does a great job, this year’s was a bit of a mixed bag. The pacing and length of today’s keynote was a bit of an issue, but the announcements were solid. The first 90 minutes were as good as Apple can be on stage, but the music section was just a wreck.
Make no mistake: these events are really hard to execute well; you will know this if you’ve ever watched one of their competitors’ product launches. And the first part of yesterday’s keynote was a well-done — albeit somewhat unremarkable — presentation. The two female executives were a great addition to Apple’s presenter roster; Susan Prescott, in particular, was great fun to watch and had a hilarious “I read ESPN for the articles” joke.
But then the Music part came, and it was a slow meander through too-long demos, unrehearsed executives, and a questionable appearance from Drake, who appeared to offer nothing solid from the perspective of the artist. Make no mistake: I want to hear what artists think about Apple Music; heck, I want to hear what Drake thinks about Apple Music, but his bit was almost entirely forgettable.
I also question the launch of this music service at a conference for developers. I understand that iOS 8.4 is being released alongside it at the end of the month, and Apple might not want to launch Apple Music alongside a new iPhone and iOS 9, but it could have waited three months. There’s nothing developers can do with Apple Music — they don’t even get an early preview launch. Which is fine. It seemed to dilute the presumed intent of the keynote, though.