Apple today is a known entity of highly visible proportions with hundreds of millions of customers. Apple can still delight, of course, but surprise? If those days are gone for now, Apple needs to bring them back, and soon.
One. More. Thing. Please.
To be fair about Apple’s current situation and the desire for Apple watchers to relish even the thought of ‘one more thing,’ Jobs didn’t use it all the time.
That’s the mark of a great showman, one who recognized that an encore shouldn’t be a given, always at the end of a new product demonstration.
No, ‘one more thing’ is what kept the Apple faithful salivating for new products, long after Jobs left the stage.
MG Siegler wrote that Jobs’ last ‘one more thing’ could be the iPhone 5, which was introduced after he died. Or, it could be Apple itself, a legacy that will live on for many years.
Regardless of the semantics, ‘one more thing’ is missing at Apple. CEO Tim Cook doesn’t have Jobs charisma or following, of course, but Apple could use a surprise or two that brings unexpected delight.
Look at the recent product refreshes and introductions. Weeks before the iPhone 5S and 5C were made public, the blogosphere was lit up with the details– gold, fingerprint identity sensor, polycarbonate plastic with multiple colors.
The 64-bit CPU was something of a surprise, but it’s not exactly an emotional grabber of the ‘one more thing’ caliber, is it?
The last iPad refresh was about a year ago, and the only surprise, and nominal at that, was that the iPad mini didn’t have a Retina display, and the iPad 4 received a CPU bump and the Lightning connector. Those are hardly ‘one more thing’ moments.
In fact, almost every new product announcement or refresh from Apple since Steve Jobs died has been expected, or leaked. Leaked? Yes. I think Apple leaks announcement details to select members of the blogosphere to temper expectations.
Wait. I know what you’re thinking. ‘Uh, Kate, the new Mac Pro was a big surprise, right?‘
No, not really. The Mac Pro hasn’t received any love from Apple for many years, and it was long overdue for either a refresh or something completely new. Though many thought it might be discontinued altogether, Apple delivered the latter. The surprise is the form factor. Compared to the earlier Mac Pro aluminum tanks, the new Mac Pro has a hugely different form factor, but wasn’t exactly an unexpected update.
There’s still hope. Apple has been hiring marketing executives from the fashion industry, and the company does not yet have a wearable product like Samsung’s Galaxy Gear or any of the other so-called smartwatch products. When Apple introduces iWatch or iGlasses or whatever is likely to be worn, it won’t come as a surprise. It may be a delightful product line with great potential, but it won’t be a surprise.
Surprise is what Steve Jobs did from time to time. We Apple watchers both want and need another surprise.