Apple Will Never Surprise Us Again

by James R. Stoup Sep 15, 2006

I have bad news for everyone, we have officially reached the end of an era. Light a candle, sing a song and call your mother because today is a day of mourning. From hence forth Apple will never surprise us again.


Don’t expect any more surprises, no more rabbits-out-of-the-hat. The magic is dead and gone, so if you would, turn out the lights when you leave, please.

Why am I so morbid? Why such dire predictions? I will tell you why. The giant moment of realization hit me today as I was reading up on the reactions to Apple’s latest special event. The main stream media, pundits, bloggers and random hacks (oh wait, I mentioned bloggers already) have all seemingly come to the same conclusion that this event just wasn’t very exciting. Most of the responses sounded a lot like this:

New iPods? Eh, seen it before.
Cooler Nanos? Got one.
But there in color! *yawn*
And there are games too. Who needs it?
Movies? Knew that was coming last year.
iTV? Wake me in January.

Now, I grant you, there wasn’t any anouncement that would cause rioting in the streets, but these were all very nice products. This leads me to ask the question—What exactly was everyone expecting? Oh wait, thats right, the iPhone. Ladies and gentlemen, please get a grip on reality (hard as that might be) and listen to me.

Apple is a very innovative company. In fact, I would say it is the most creative company around. But it can only revolutionize the industry so many times in a 5 year period. We understand that, right?

We understand that Apple can’t create something completely new every 6 months that redefines an industry, just so you won’t get bored. Hey, if you are tired of hearing about what is coming next stop reading Think Secret.


  • Nobody was really expecting an iPhone were they? We’ve been talking about it for two years now and it hasn’t turned up. It’s not going to happen. If Apple ever genuinely had any plans to produce an iPhone, I think they’ve probably shelved them, there is just no way any phone hardware they release now could possibly measure up to the iPhone rumours that have been floating around for so long.

    I was more or less convinced we’d get our widescreen iPod, possibly with WiFi so it could directly connect to the iTunes store. So I was genuinely surprised by the iTV, it wasn’t what I was expecting out of Apple at all right now…

    Alasdair Allan had this to say on Sep 15, 2006 Posts: 5
  • Well said. It must be tiring trying to surprise people with new or better products and get nothing but complaints because the new or improved product doesn’t live up to the speculation or hype. At least Apple is improving their existing products and adding features when they have been vetted and proven to work. As to Alasdair’s comment about getting a widescreen & wi-fi enabled iPod, that may be more likely when iTV (or whatever it’s called) is released. It would be a nice add on to the iTV connected livingroom. Of course, the hype & predictions will run rampent at that time, so be prepared to be disappointed!! People will probably be expecting the new wi-fi enabled iPod to double as a garage door opener or something similer.

    dleboubon had this to say on Sep 15, 2006 Posts: 17
  • James, you have uncovered the fundamental ambivalence of the web. When everyone gets a voice, the level of noise will rise. And you will hear a lot of ungrateful, spoiled brats yammering about bs.

    Bad Beaver had this to say on Sep 15, 2006 Posts: 371
  • JRS, I hate to tell you that I was shocked at the iTV announcement (not that we didn’t have any clue). It is the total awe in Steve’s preannouncing a product in development or a sneak-peek at an evolving corporate strategy.

    Very surprising and Apple will keep on sneaking up behind you when you least expect it.

    Robomac had this to say on Sep 15, 2006 Posts: 846
  • I was also totally surprised by Steve’s shirt.

    Bad Beaver had this to say on Sep 15, 2006 Posts: 371
  • Hah…hah…Ditto here Beaver… :D

    Robomac had this to say on Sep 15, 2006 Posts: 846
  • Personally I was very surprised and really excited by the form factor of the new shuffle. Which is odd considering most people’s reaction to the new ipods.

    There is actually an easy solution to this problem you know - STAY OFF THE APPLE MEDIA!

    But then, I’m the damned preaching to the damned, if you’re reading this. Although I have been making efforts not to get involved with the rumours side of things, which paid off for Showtime as I really enjoyed finding out about the new stuff.

    Benji had this to say on Sep 15, 2006 Posts: 927
  • But it can only revolutionize the industry so many times in a 5 year period. We understand that, right? yeah we do, and what i also understand is that 5 years doesnt always mean ever. In fact, i think that we might have to wait another 5 years to get something new.
    Do you remember the mac era in the mid 90’s? the two innovative devices were the QuickTake and the Newton, both of them have been taken off the market right?, asides of them, we had nothing surprising until 1998 with the iMac.

    nana had this to say on Sep 15, 2006 Posts: 63
  • Apple/Jobs created this very problem. He the one of “one more thing”.

    I posted after the last show where Jobs showed the world Leopard. The world got to see updates for Mail, iCal etc… So what!

    And now this Show Time “Event”!

    I’m a dies hard Mac fan/user. I wait for new products from Apple. But even I yawn at these announcents. Why? Because of the way Jobs sets the stage. And now a days it’s a product refresh. Not like yesteryear where the world got truly NEW products. Not a product line refresh.

    Apple/Job has to change this. Wall Street expects more based on the way Apple/Jobs likes to make events.

    For me they’ve cried wolf now two times in a row. Strike three coming up. I can’t even imagine how a non-Apple fan looks at this crap.

    mozart11 had this to say on Sep 15, 2006 Posts: 35
  • Ben: Ah well, I really like the Shuffle, in fact I want one now. Never could warm to the old model. Though the bigger surprise is that there is already a freakin’ *case* annouced for the Shuffle 2.0.

    I think I’ll try and hit it big with a T-Shirt stating “Why?”, marketed as an iPod accessory. And a nice case to store that Shirt in, only $20 extra.

    Bad Beaver had this to say on Sep 15, 2006 Posts: 371
  • Whos jaded MacGlee? I and the world just aren’t blindly being led by our noses by Apple & Jobs anymore. Jobs dug his own hole with the way he creates events. Now the evernts aren’t all the special. What happened to his philosophy of under promised and over deliver. He believes his own “magical” star to make the press show up on demand. Jobs creates a palpitating, electric buzz for himself and his announcements. And now it’s over hype and under deliver. He created it, he has to live with it when most all are underwhelmed.

    Apple HAS to change these announcement events.

    mozart11 had this to say on Sep 15, 2006 Posts: 35
  • James, I agree with your article - kind of goes well together with mine written a week or two back:

    People build up too much hype surrounding Apple Computer announcements and they let themselves down. I don’t doubt Apple will surprise us again at some point in the future, but for the time being? No iPhone. I saw another “reliable source” photo of that by the way - it looks like a Nano and the buttons appear, as if by magic, from behind the scroll wheel.

    Some people eh?

    Aaron Wright had this to say on Sep 15, 2006 Posts: 104
  • Hey!  A little perspective PLEASE!!!

    Less than a year ago, Apple was still a product for the cognoscenti.  Kind of like French cars were in the 60’s outside France - for enthusiasts only…

    Today Apple is on a roll - the financial analysts and the press have been almost universally praising of Apple’s products and business strategy for most of the past year.  The Intel transition happened so flawlessly it was (yawn) almost a non-event.

    What you are seeing is the foundation work for a long-term Apple renaissance.

    Microsoft’s day in the sun has come to an end.  They will be around for a long time to come, but a declining star…  Dell is…  Well, the most exciting thing about Dell is the trouble they are in all over the shop…

    Apple could mess things up I guess.  But so far they are doing just fine.  This is about “execution” - having an idea is one thing, but putting it into practice is something else.

    This time Apple plan to execute their dream properly…

    This is a BIG SHIFT.  Microsoft have led the pack for a long time.  In the home user marketplace I would say MS are coming to terms with the reality that they have been completely outclassed by Apple.

    Watch and see - this part of the strategy is complex and Apple could drop the ball.  Let’s hope not.  Apple is a much more interesting and more innovative company than MS.

    sydneystephen had this to say on Sep 15, 2006 Posts: 124
  • Apple HAS to change these announcement events. -Mozart

    I beg to differ and completely disagree with you there. These marketing PR stunts are designed as a low-cost way to generate buzz. How much Apple is spending anyway to garner such media blitz such as this week’s “Showtime” event? Zero, Zip, Nada!

    Doesn’t Apple then invite massive envy in the tech world? Certainly! Just how many of you applauded the Zune’s launch yesterday? Did you even notice without digging at Digg? No. It was a yawner. And most tech PRs and product launches included except…yep, Apple.

    This time Apple plan to execute their dream properly…Sydney

    Aye, mate! I agree with you on all counts. Apple, if you haven’t noticed, do not pay homage to the rumor mill monster they have created. Apple have a carefully mapped-out product strategy in the board room. I know the “iPhone” is there somewhere but when?

    Apple now gives us a glimpse of its future directions into whole-home wireless HD distribution! Getting there will take several years and many product launch events, mind you. The iTV is all but one of the supporting casts for this “whole-home” idea to pan out to reality of Steve Jobs’ dream of supplanting MS, Sony, Samsung, and others as the premier provider of entertainment hardware and content.

    Apple wants your entertainment $$$ in every way you can think of and the iTV is just a baby-step to achieving that end.

    Robomac had this to say on Sep 15, 2006 Posts: 846
  • PR stunts. Yes that’s what they’ve become. Because the products and hype don’t live up to the event lately. The audience leaves with a sense of “that’s it. Why did I come to this”?

    When the iPod was released, yes that is an EVENT. An iPod refresh is not. A true iPod video - yes a likely an EVENT. An iPhone - yes an EVENT.

    But lately is is PR hype without substance. How long can Apple/Jobs sustain that without a great product in the EVENT?

    A skeptical consumer is what they’re getting now.

    Apple is getting inot the vacinity of; you can fool some of the people some of the time, but you can’t fool all of the people all of the time.

    mozart11 had this to say on Sep 15, 2006 Posts: 35
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