Yesterday we posted a report titled "The MIT Technology Review: Apple's Event was Boring." Today the Washington Post, Fast Company, Quartz and even Walt Mossberg were on record slamming Apple's event as deadly boring. Fast Company's opening commentary wasted no time in calling the event as they saw it: dreary, claustrophobic and middling. Writer Rick Tetzeli said that these were never words to describe a product event hosted by Steve Jobs. Tim Cook has many gifts, Tetzeli said, but "drumming up excitement onstage is not one of them." And not to be left out, Tetzeli called the other presenters "a series of drab executives." That's just shy of calling them human moth balls.
Tetzeli continued his attack by wondering aloud as to "Whether Apple will ever introduce something as transformative as the iPad," again. "For now, the company is thriving by churning out incrementally better iterations of the best consumer tech products in the world. Even when you allow for disappointments like the Watch, Apple doesn’t have a product problem. It has a marketing problem. To fix this, the company should follow the lead of its best marketer, the one who has been dead for almost five years. For more on Fast Company's observations and opinions, click here.
The Quartz report that was published earlier today is titled "Apple is Boring Now." Writer Mike Murphy wrote that "Apple has in a few short years gone from a company with a sharp product focus to one that will seemingly produce any device in any size or color. In a recent question-and-answer session on Reddit, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak worried that Apple is following the market, rather than leading it:
"I worry a little bit about – I mean I love my Apple Watch, but – it’s taken us into a jewelry market where you’re going to buy a watch between $500 or $1100 based on how important you think you are as a person. The only difference is the band in all those watches. Twenty watches from $500 to $1100. The band’s the only difference? Well this isn’t the company that Apple was originally, or the company that really changed the world a lot."
Murphy added that "Apple used to make one great phone, and a few great laptops and iPods. While there was some variation among those products, we could count on Apple to announce some Big New Thing at a slick press event every year in California. Now Apple’s innovations are just Apple products in every size and shape you can think of."
Lastly, Murphy noted that "Apple just isn’t offering much to differentiate itself. New releases are just updates of past models, or the same device, but a bit thinner or nimbler. It launched the iPad Pro because it saw the Microsoft Surface; it launched the iPhone 6 Plus because it saw the Samsung Galaxy Note phablets; it launched the Apple Watch because it saw Android Wear and Fitbit and Jawbone. Apple used to be able to convince people they needed something they hadn’t even imagined." Not anymore. For more on this report, report click here.
The last in the group was the Washington Post who published a report titled "Why I'm skeptical about Apple's future." Writer Vivek Wadhwa wrote that after Apple's exciting iPhone and iPad announcements, "it has been tweaking its componentry, adding faster processors and more advanced sensors, and releasing this in bigger and smaller form factors—as with the iPad and Apple Watch. Even the announcements that Apple made Monday were uninspiring." Where's the Apple Television set, the virtual reality headset, projectors and Minority Report type interfaces?
The general theme of all of the critics about the Apple event was that it was predictable and oh so boring. It was boring because of the massive leaks coming out of Apple that are directed to one blogging site and one particular writer. Most everything that was introduced at the event was rumored to death prior to the event making it a real yawner. So it's hard to disagree with Apple's critics on that finite point.
Yet with that said, Apple introduced Apple Pay last year which took years to develop and it was exciting to see that come to market. Apple didn't just snap their fingers and presto make a completely new financial system appear out of thin air. It took time to think it out and bring it to life. It took vision and true leadership. SamsungPay and others are just copycats.
As far as the comment about Apple copying the Surface goes, Quartz writer Murphy has his head on backwards. Apple introduced the iPad and sold 100 million of them before Microsoft woke up out of their coma induced by former CEO Steve Ballmer. Microsoft was in denial that the iPad would ever sell because of their failure to make Windows based tablets catch on years earlier. After finally awakening from their coma, they stuck a soft keyboard on a tablet (which Apple patented first) and somehow they're now the geniuses that Apple is following? Ha! That's so warped it's not even funny.
As far as a smartwatch goes. Before Apple's patent surfaced and enlightened us all about a future Apple watch-like device, no one in the industry, including Samsung had a smartwatch on their radar screens to the extent that Apple had described it. So while Samsung raced to market with one first because they're a fast follower, it wasn't something that they had originally envisioned. It was a concept that they were copying. It's the reason why the market never bought into the Samsung Gear. It was a rushed product that wasn't thought out properly.
Then there was the new Apple Pencil introduced last year which was another exciting development. Even though Apple was late to the party after Microsoft and Samsung, it was Apple who actually killed the traditional lag problem plaguing the Smartpen experience for tablets – forever. Did the press ever acknowledge that feat and criticize the others for their long standing failure? I think not.
At the end of the day, one thing is for sure; the knives in the press were out this week and they seem to be getting sharper at the end of every Apple event. Hell, when Walt Mossberg gets sarcastic about an Apple event, you know the exhaustion over painfully slow product upgrades is permeating the press – big time. Walt stated today: "One day this fall, if things occur as usual, Apple will stage a big event to introduce the next flagship iPhone. And, based on the events of this month, that smartphone better be great." The actual Verge headline was: Mossberg: the iPhone 7 had better be spectacular.
When talking about this Monday's product announcements Walt kicked Apple for not breaking enough technology ground when compared to Samsung's latest event about their Samsung S7. The latest iPhones and iPads, notes Mossberg "are derivative products." You could read more about Mossberg's gripes and suggestions here.
Whether Apple's CEO has any intention of stepping up Apple's game a notch beyond the iPhone 7 later this year is unknown at this time – but Apple can't ignore the grumbling in the press for too much longer because negative perceptions about a company over time could change the tide against them in a heartbeat. So what do you think? Was the press out to lunch this time or is Apple in fact getting too predictable and boring? If you have an opinion on this, then send in your comments below.