Apple Sets the Bar for Virtual Launch Events

I’ve been disappointed by practically every launch event I’ve attended since we shifted to virtual gatherings. Most are similar to in-person gatherings where the speaker(s) stand on stage and pontificate. Some employ a lot of visual aids that help, but they typically display the same limits as in-person events, thus they struggle to keep an online audience, which can be distracted more quickly than an in-person audience.

Last week’s Apple “Wonderlust” launch event, in my opinion, was a wonderful illustration of how virtual launches should be done. I’m not an Apple fan and probably never will be, but I prefer to call things like I see them. Last week’s launch presentation set a new standard for how such events should be carried out.

Let’s speak about it this week, and then we’ll wrap up with my Product of the Week, which has to be either the new Apple Watch Ultra 2 or the new iPhone 15 Pro. But I believe the watch is the greater story, thus it will be my Product of the Week.

How Typical Product Launches Are Done

As an ex-actor and ex-marketing director, I used to teach a presenting skills workshop. Then, as now, it appears that launch presentations are planned for the presenters as a task they must do. Instead of being picked on their presenting abilities, presenters are chosen for their titles.

Presentations are usually produced only before the event and altered up to minutes before so that those who haven’t been schooled on teleprompters may walk up on stage and demonstrate how little they rehearsed. Some people practise well and perform well, but they are the exception rather than the rule.

Furthermore, most tech presentations focus on the technology in the product, with little emphasis on what it can signify to a customer or user. Even if the technology is visually appealing, the presenter is more likely to demonstrate how it works rather than what it accomplishes. People in the audience who don’t want to comprehend the technology are bored and uninterested in the product.

Product launches should aim to get people enthusiastic about and interested in the product. Virtual product launches should be lively, with fewer talking heads and a focus on what the product accomplishe in a way that makes you want to buy it.

People are typically uninterested in what was launched following a conventional launch ceremony. It’s as if the presenters felt the purpose was to live through the experience of being on stage, while the audience thought the goal was to endure it. That was not the case with Apple’s debut event last week. It made even a non-Apple enthusiast like myself want the iPhone 15 Pro and the Apple Watch Ultra 2.

Wonderlust Launch Event

The event began with a stunning drone sequence of Apple’s headquarters building, which is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful structures in the world. They then discussed some of the products that were doing well but weren’t being launched, such as the 15-inch MacBook Air, which Tom’s Hardware called the best laptop on the market, and the upcoming Apple Vision Pro (this last became important later), which has done what Meta has been failing at lately by driving interest in the VR segment.

Watch Series 9

The first announcement was the Apple Watch Series 9 (seen above), which is a fantastic device. The Apple Watch has long been the market leader in the smartwatch category, but competitors are coming up. In many respects, the watch I wear, the TicWatch Pro 5, outperforms the Apple Watch Series 8. However, with better screen brightness, battery life, functionality, and sustainability, the Apple Watch Series 9 retakes the lead.

The new watch has a fantastic function called “double tap,” which allows you to just touch your fingers together to perform a single action such as answering or hanging up a phone call. It also features an updated find-my-phone function.

Commitment to Sustainability

Because Apple positioned their sustainability pitch in the centre of the Apple Watch presentation, sustainability is crucial here. This technique is intriguing since customers claim they care about sustainability, yet they frequently tune out sustainability offers. Most of them, including those from Apple, have been more smoke than substance. This one, however, was not.

Apple committed to 2030 targets that coincided with other companies’ plans for 2040 and 2050, and spoke about these commitments in a choreographed event with an actress representing Mother Nature. While it may appear corny, it was well-executed and entertaining to watch. This was extremely nicely done in my opinion — and sometimes these kind of presentations do rely on the audience.

Watch Ultra 2

Apple then went on to the Apple Watch Ultra 2 with another video-rich segment that bounced from location to area to keep the audience’s attention and discussed how the watch might improve your life.

This competitor’s watch may persuade an Apple lover to switch brands. It was that amazing, in my opinion, with a 3000-nit display (which is comparable to military displays used for outdoor usage), 36 to 72 hours of battery life, red light for night viewing (so it doesn’t impair your night vision), and significant recycled material. The watch costs $799, which isn’t cheap, but it’s good value for what it does and how much better it is than anything else on the market.

iPhone 15

Apple then unveiled the iPhone 15, a significant upgrade over the iPhone 14. The glass shell has been upgraded, making the 15 less likely to be dropped, and it has a 48-megapixel camera and increased audio quality.

Satellite capabilities have been enhanced, allowing users to contact for assistance outside of mobile service or to AAA for roadside assistance. This is a fantastic feature, and if I had children, they would get this phone.

Finding someone else is another kid-friendly option. It’s like a GPS tracker directing you to the person you’re looking for, like a lost child at Disneyland. I was once that child, so I understand how handy that would be.

Apple even improved inductive charging, so the phone can now charge through an authorised case (emphasis on the “approved,” but it’s better than nothing). The new programable button is one of my favourite features.

I was nearly killed by some youngsters some years ago and complained that part of the reason I was in danger was that a comparable function in the previous Windows Phone had been withdrawn. This button, when linked to the camera, might provide you with the vital shot required to apprehend a criminal, or in my case, criminals. As a result, this is yet another must-have feature for me.

iPhone 15 Pro

The iPhone 15 Pro, in my opinion, is a true iPhone killer advance. Why do I call it an iPhone killer? Because phone manufacturers must outperform the phones that customers currently own. Apple’s biggest challenge isn’t a competition like Samsung; it’s existing Apple goods, because if the new phone doesn’t excite customers enough to get rid of their old phone, Apple won’t make a sale.

Assuming someone has the money, a huge assumption this year is that if the iPhone 15 Pro was developed by Samsung rather than Apple, it would be excellent enough to convince an Apple user to convert, let alone upgrade from their iPhone 14. That’s how fantastic it is.

The camera is what truly distinguishes the phone, with an amazing 120mm lens capability, a titanium case (partially recycled), and gaming performance never seen before on an iPhone. It can also create 3D videos that you can experience as if you were there when using the upcoming Apple Vision Pro.

Wrapping Up: Extra Secret Sauce Qualcomm

One thing Apple did not say is that it has returned to utilising a Qualcomm modem and radio. Because Qualcomm manufactures the greatest wireless device communication technology in the business, many of the connection advancements are related to Qualcomm, ensuring that they will both operate and be reasonably problem-free. That is fantastic news for users.

This was possibly the finest launch event I’ve ever witnessed. It was analogous to Nvidia’s amazing work at its events, but with a larger emphasis on consumer advantages rather than technology. It was aesthetically appealing, extremely well performed (to TV standards of excellence), and established a very high standard for others to aim for.

The event also demonstrated why it is so tough to compete with Apple. When it’s on its game as it was last week, no other corporation is in its league. Apple could now extend its installed base if it abandoned its “lock-in” approach and removed migration hurdles. Regardless, this new introduction should increase Apple’s market share.

However, there is one major issue that I should point out that is not Apple’s fault. According to reports, most of the consumer sector has accumulated enormous debt and is approaching debt boundaries. A new iPhone, no matter how excellent it is, is still a luxury purchase. When you’re struggling to pay your bills and put food on the table, luxury things don’t sell well.

Apple has done an excellent job of designing things that people want to buy, but if consumers do not have the money, Apple will not see a sales boost, and Apple will not be able to solve this problem. I expect Apple to outperform the market, but it may still be a negative quarter for Apple and the IT sector as a whole.

Apple Watch Ultra 2

Smartwatches are a favourite of mine. One of the most disappointing aspects of Apple’s execution is that it did not follow Steve Jobs’ philosophy of enabling gadgets like the iPod to interact with other platforms (in that case, Windows, in this case, Android), which restricts the watch’s base and my ability to utilise it.

While other watches have been catching up, this newest Apple Watch Ultra 2 is so far ahead of anything else that I doubt anybody will be able to compete with it in the near future. The 3000-nit display alone is revolutionary, but the double-tap interface is much more so.

The two things I believe the watch needs are an emergency camera and satellite connectivity, so you can still call for help if someone steals your phone or you forget or lose your phone during a crisis. I anticipate that at least one of these functions will be included in future Apple Watches. If Tim Cook had children, I’m sure the satellite feature would be included in this current watch.

The titanium casing and up to 72-hour battery charge are outstanding features, and the upgrades to exercise monitoring make it a must-have upgrade for people who use the Apple Watch to stay in shape. This watch solidifies Apple’s position as the market leader in this category and raises the standard for everyone else.

Unfortunately, the phone starts about $799, making it a pricey present that many people would want this holiday season. Nonetheless, it is my Product of the Week.

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