Is Apple still all about the show?

Technically Incorrect: As Apple gears up for Wednesday's event, new data suggests that customers are most fascinated by what new colors will be unveiled. Is what matters most seemingly superficial?

Chris Matyszczyk
3 min read

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.

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Can the show go on exciting?

Andrew Burton, Getty Images

We're putting ourselves more on display than ever.

We're posting our glorious lives to Facebook and our gnarly anger to Twitter. We're preening and posing and dressing to impress. We're constantly slipping selfies into every Snapchat and text, to the point where young women are said to spend five hours a week actually taking them.

Many of our most popular figures manipulate the new media by displaying themselves fully on it. They're famous for knowing how to be famous.

So as Apple prepares for another show on Wednesday, should we focus on product improvements or on seemingly more superficial elements?

You might think that cameras and headphone jacks are deeply important, but search data provided by digital marketing company iQuanti to Forbes suggests that the most popular iPhone 7-related search term after "iPhone 7" itself is "iPhone 7 color."

Ooh, will it be a fancy black or some sophisticated shade of blue? Will those sexy designers fool us all by revealing a deep green one?

The late Steve Jobs knew how to excite. He knew not to blind an audience -- or the media -- with science. That's how the former Apple CEO managed to translate an Apple event to channels far beyond tech.

Simplicity, elegance and sheer visual excitement characterized his Apple events. (In addition, we had to put up with U2 once in a while.)

Apple's current CEO, Tim Cook, knows how to execute after the excitement has dissipated, but recent Apple events haven't quite enjoyed the bliss of the rapture.

Real people still want to be excited, rather than informed. They want to feel things first and think about things eleventh or twelfth.

The challenge for Apple remains the same: move people enough to make them want to be seen with the product.

Consumers want Cupertino to give a good show because it allows us to believe the products will help us to put on a good show too.

This will always remain depressing to purists for whom the technical innards are mental manna.

Bill Gates' Microsoft never grasped this. Samsung has come to get it in recent times. Its gorgeous Galaxy S7 series is evidence.

But still relatively few tune in to a Samsung event.

How can it be that someone could care more about the color of their phone rather than the pixels in the camera or the hours the battery stays alive?

How can it be that the reaction of so many people to so many things is still: "Oh, that's cool."?

As phones become more utilitarian, more the hub of so many human functions, it's tempting to believe that specs will matter more. Perhaps that time is beginning.

The current pre-robotic version of humanity is still, however, a relatively underdeveloped, superficial species.

It wants soundbites, not theses. It wants instant happiness, not the long road less traveled. It wants to be constantly loved and uplifted without having to do too much heavy lifting, especially of the mental kind.

It wants the show to go on, because it wants to glow to go on.

As my evidence, must I point to the presidential campaign?