Hey tech CEOs, stop playing at being Steve Jobs
Yesterday, as gadget watchers awaited Samsung’s mega event to launch its Note 9 handset, I saw someone tweet about the event having had ‘pre-show entertainment.’ Sigh.
Do we need these events anymore? They stopped being exciting around the same time phones settled into a offering little more than a steady stream of incremental updates each year. The 'look at our new stuff’ show format pioneered by Steve Jobs back in 1984 at the launch of the Mac
, and honed by… well, Steve Jobs, actually, in 2007 with the historic first iPhone event
, has run out of steam.
These events are now tired parodies of themselves and should be put out to pasture. Even Apple struggles to get it right these days. Its WWDC event this year offered a bunch of small tweaks to its operating system, stretched out over two hours. Why did they bother? Because everyone expects an event, and Apple has to deliver one, even if it’s not got much to show right at that point.
I like Nintendo’s approach of doing regular online video broadcasts to announce news. If other firms took that approach, it would give them a lot more scope to try new ways of telling their stories and promoting their new products. They could still have live 'events,’ just in a different way.
The main thing the 'product launch in front of an audience’ format does these days is give tech CEOs a chance to play at being Steve Jobs for a couple of hours, and they come off looking worse for it. Enough. Let’s move on.