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Since 2011, Apple has invited journalists and analysts to the San Francisco Bay Area every fall for the hottest ticket of the year – the inauguration of a new iPhone.
But with a pandemic in full swing – and showing no signs of death – Apple is expected to skip the physical disclosure and put it online in September when it announces the latest list of iPhones.
Rival Samsung is doing just that on August 5, with a virtual preview of its latest phone, the Galaxy Note update.
But, what do we, as consumers, lose by turning the launch of the technology into a TV show?
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The scene at the Apple event in Cupertino, California, on September 12, 2018 (Photo: Jefferson Graham, USA TODAY)
“Nothing,” says Tim Bajarin, president of Creative Strategies and a longtime analyst at Apple who has participated in all iPhone launches since its launch in 2007.
IPhone events usually begin with a two-hour presentation broadcast by Apple CEO Tim Cook and other executives as they trot across devices and praise their features.
“Apple puts most of the emphasis on production that is broadcast to millions of viewers anyway,” says Bajarin. “They understand that.”
No practical experience
For journalists and analysts, the most exciting thing about covering the revelation of the iPhone is coming out of the theater, where the lecture was held, into the “hands on” room, to see for ourselves what the new phones really look like.
Rich DeMuro, technical reporter at KTLA-TV in Los Angeles and author of “101 useful technical tips for the iPhone: updated, simplified and revised for IOS 12”, says that everything is entering this room to see the product for ourselves.
“You can see the nuances of the software and understand what the product will look like before it hits store shelves,” seeing the product up close, he says. The journalists in the room act as “detectives” to discover the differences between the levels of the phones and to compare them, for example, with the older models, since Apple does not offer them.
It also provides many authentic and less staged photos of the products by the blogging set, as Apple’s are ultra-bright, minimizing warts by showing, say, iPhones held in the air by an invisible rope.
Apple promotes the annual World Developer Conference online in June, due to COVID-19, and Bajarin says the operation went smoothly.
He believes that Apple could really present hands-on experience more effectively online. “You would take each unit and look forwards, backwards and to the side. There is nothing of real practical experience that you cannot virtually replace.”
The hype will still be there
Apple will receive the same attention for the launch of the iPhone, as it normally would because it is an event for the iPhone, organized for the best-selling and most beloved device in the United States, says Dan Ives, an analyst at Wedbush Securities.
“But there is something about being there live,” notes Ives. “I’ve been covering technology events for 20 years and have participated in hundreds of product launches,” he says. “But nothing matches the excitement and anticipation of being alive at the launch of the iPhone. It’s electric.”
The Samsung event, scheduled for August 5 at 7 pm EDT, is announced as “live on Samsung.com”, as opposed to the company’s last event, held at the San Francisco Palace of Fine Arts, in San Francisco, to present the latest Galaxy S phones.
Ives says that while Samsung is a major international brand, in the United States it lacks the power of an Apple and therefore will have virtually less coverage than it could have in person. “It is another difficult battle for them.”
Meanwhile, Bajarin says that the days of technology conferences are held mainly until the end of 2021, due to fear of gathering in large contagious crowds.
Notable exception: CES, the consumer electronic program, which plans to continue with the program in person, in January, as usual.
On its website, the Consumer Electronics Association, which organizes CES, says fewer people will attend due to concerns about COVID-19 (CES attracts more than 175,000 annually) and will therefore be healthier. However, he notes, “We also recognize the possibility that further developments with the pandemic may require canceling the physical program in person. That would be a difficult decision, but it may be necessary. In that case, we will move forward with a fully digital show.”
Apple declined to comment.
Follow Jefferson Graham on Twitter: @jeffersongraham.
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