In a brief hiatus from tech blogging, forced upon me as I moved house, I’ve taken a good deal of time to think about the nature of Apple’s product launches, and how our community engages with new products before they’re released. I’m essentially talking about the countless leaks and rumors we receive every day, documenting the next iPhone’s form factor, its display, its inner components, its release date. I’m quietly convinced that there is nothing worth knowing about the next iPhone that we don’t already know, and that really makes me quite sad.
For the longest time, one of Apple’s defining characteristics was its secrecy. The brilliance with which it concealed new products and teased us with upcoming devices was sublime. It meant that Apple’s game changing products, the iPod, the iPhone, the Aluminum Macbook all hit the market with such force that we still talk about their significance to the market today. But now, things have changed, almost certainly for the worst. As I mentioned before, the iPhone 6 may as well have been released last month. Every year, the magnitude of leaks surrounding Apple’s future products has grown, they’ve become more detailed, more comprehensive. Where before you could expect to find one prototype iPhone in a bar, now every man and his dog has a working mockup of the next iPhone. Vivid imagination has been replaced by skinned Android software and dummy devices. Collectively, we have destroyed the aura of mystery and anticipation that surrounds Apple’s products, and I hate it.
Don’t get me wrong, I understand that these rumors and leaks are important to the community, and indeed they’re the bread and butter of tech blogging at this time of year, but some rumors do come across as plain desperate. The rest of them are certainly rooted in genuine intelligence, and it’s these leaks that take away the most from Apple’s product launches. Of course, the battle is already lost, and the iPhone launch will not be a surprise when it rolls around (probably on September 19, because we already know right?), but I miss the old days. I wish we could go back to a time when the iPhone’s launch was a year of baited breath and anticipation, and then an awe inspiring keynote speech. I don’t want to watch people using dummy iPhone’s 3 months before the device is released, I want to be surprised.
Of course, surprises aren’t always good, and Apple has, by some people’s standards, failed to deliver on big products, but for me, that doesn’t matter. I want to come away from an Apple keynote absolutely mind-blown, at the very least, I want to feel like I’ve learned something. There might still be some small hope of surprise when the iPhone 6 is released, but if Tim Cook simply confirms a bunch of rumors that have been around for several months already, then the iPhone 6 event will be lost on me. More infuriatingly, with another iPhone on the horizon, the cycle will begin again.