Has Apple lost its sense of innovation? Or have we lost our insatiable desire for newness? Especially since, for newer generations, phones are quite ordinary.
It's not that it was predictable, the Cupertino colander having so many holes that even the emperor enjoyed more threads. It's that what was predicted wasn't all that exciting.
The upgrades to the iPhone 5S were at best to business, not first. The pretty colors of the iPhone 5C were sweet, but hardly original.
And those holier-than-thou covers? Teenage candy, perhaps. But not at teenage candy prices.
At heart, the Apple event was uneventful. The whole show came across as beautifully, unapologetically plastic.
Which, oddly, is what Jony Ive's presumably straight-faced voice-over called the new iPhone 5C.
The executives on stage knew they weren't in possession of any great breakthroughs. They knew that they now have to manage a far more complex business than Steve Jobs ever did.
They hoped that they could get away with using as many "incredible"s as they could possibly utter.
They were trying to give the audience what it wanted. What they had up their sleeves were mainly hairy forearms.
When Phil Schiller claimed he didn't mind that images of the new phones had already leaked -- because it showed how excited everyone was about them -- it wasn't exactly persuasive.
This was the company whose latest CEO had promised he was "doubling down" on security.
But that's impossible, as is exciting people every six months.
In a sense, Apple fanboys -- and everyone whose closest companion is now a phone or a tablet -- have been set up.
Products get released, with an obsolescence built in. People allow themselves to believe that the next one will be so very much more exciting.
Then it isn't. Then the technology doesn't keep up. Or, perhaps, imaginations get tired.
Oh, but ours don't. We can imagine all sorts of things -- like feeling excited every time some new gadget appears.
Worse, given the world we're living in, we want new things now, because we want to feel excited now. Why can't we have them now?
We stomp our feet. But then something else catches our attention and we wander off.
For whole generations these days, phones are a little dull. They're less amazing and more necessary. Like a first car. Or a condom in the pocket.
That's why Google Glass turns more than one head. What the hell is that? (It's hell, but don't worry about it now.) It's, like, weird and different and exciting.
Brightly colored phones? Not so much.
Of course, some see the relative dullness of Tuesday's event as just part of a cycle. They say that Steve Jobs always believed that you should offer one wow and then move Apple into an entirely new territory every three to four years.
Hey, there might be a watch coming! A watch? Well, yes, a watch! A watch! Who'd ever thought Apple would make a watch! Get excited now.
The Apple event came and went, with Elvis Costello pleading for a sense of peace, love, and understanding.