Apple Sets the Bar for Virtual Launch Events

One of the things Apple didn’t mention is that it’s back to using a Qualcomm modem and radio. This partnership created the original iPhone, and Qualcomm makes the best wireless device communication technology in the industry, so much of the connectivity improvements are tied to Qualcomm, which assures they will both work and be relatively problem-free. That is great news for users.

iPhone 15 is available in black, blue, pink, green, and yellow.

I’ve been disappointed in almost all the launch events I’ve seen since we mainly moved to virtual events. Most aren’t that different than in-person events where the speaker(s) get up on stage and pontificate.

Sustainability is important here because Apple inserted its sustainability pitch in the middle of the Apple Watch pitch. This approach is interesting because buyers say sustainability is important to them, but they often tune out sustainability pitches. Most of the ones I’ve seen, even from Apple, have been more smoke than substance. This one wasn’t.


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In addition, the content of most tech presentations is on the technology in the product, with little focus on what it might mean to a buyer or user. Even if the technology is visual in nature, the presenter is likely to show how the technology works rather than what it does. People in the audience who generally don’t want to understand the technology are left bored and not overly excited about the product.


Let’s talk about that this week, and we’ll close with my Product of the Week, which must be either the new Apple Watch Ultra 2 or the new iPhone 15 Pro. I think the watch is the bigger deal, though, so it will be my Product of the Week.

How Typical Product Launches Are Done

Apple Watch Ultra 2

One terrific feature on the new watch is called “double tap,” where you can just tap your fingers together to accomplish a single action like answering a call or hanging up. In addition, it has an improved find-my-phone feature.

Commitment to Sustainability

Another kid-friendly feature is finding someone else. It’s like a GPS tracker guiding you to the person you want to find, like a kid lost at Disneyland. I was once that kid, so I know how incredibly useful that would be.

Apple then showcased the iPhone 15, a nice improvement over the iPhone 14.

Apple then moved to the Apple Watch Ultra 2 using another video-rich piece that moved from location to location to hold the audience’s attention and spoke about how the watch could change your life.

The price is $799, which isn’t cheap, but it’s decent value for what the watch does and how much better it is than anything else out there.

iPhone 15

The first announcement was the Apple Watch Series 9 (pictured above), which is an impressive product. The Apple Watch has long led the smartwatch segment, but competitors have been catching up. The watch I wear, the TicWatch Pro 5, is superior to the Apple Watch Series 8 in many ways. However, the Apple Watch Series 9 again moves into the lead with improved screen brightness, battery life, functionality, and sustainability.

Tech Product of the Week

Apple Watch Ultra 2

Improvements to the glass case make the 15 less likely you’ll drop it, and it features a 48-megapixel camera and improved audio quality.

Product launches should be focused on getting people excited about and wanting to purchase the product. Virtual launches should be dynamic, feature fewer talking heads, and showcase instead what the product does in a way that makes you want it.

The event kicked off with a beautiful drone sequence of Apple’s headquarters building, which, admittedly, is one of the most awesome buildings in the world. They then talked about some of the products that were doing well that weren’t being launched, like the 15-inch MacBook Air that Tom’s Hardware said was the best laptop in the market, and the coming Apple Vision Pro (this last became important later) which has done what Meta has been failing at of late by driving interest to the VR segment.

Watch Series 9

Sadly, the phone starts at around $799, making it an expensive gift many will want this holiday season. Still, it’s my Product of the Week.

Too often, after a typical launch event, people just aren’t that interested in what was launched. It’s as if the presenters thought the goal was to live through being on stage, and the audience’s goal was to survive the experience.

Apple has done an impressive job creating products people will want to buy, but if consumers don’t have the money, Apple won’t get the sales bump, and Apple can’t fix this problem. I expect Apple will do better than most, but it could still be a down quarter for Apple and the tech segment in general.

The titanium case and up to 72-hour battery charge are very impressive features, and the improvements to exercise monitoring make it a must-have upgrade for those who use the Apple Watch to keep fit. This watch again establishes Apple as the leader in this segment and sets the bar for everyone else.

Assuming someone has the money — and that’s a big assumption this year – if the iPhone 15 Pro was created by Samsung instead of Apple, it is good enough to get an Apple user to switch, let alone upgrade from their iPhone 14. It’s that good.

I’m an ex-actor and ex-marketing director, so I used to teach a class on how to do presentations. Then, as now, it often seems that launch presentations are designed for the presenters as a task they are required to do. Instead of being selected for their presentation skills, presenters are chosen because of their titles.

I think last week’s Apple “Wonderlust” launch event was an example of how virtual launches should be done, and it was brilliantly executed. I’m not and likely never will be an Apple fan, but I like to call things as I see them. Last week’s launch presentation raised the bar for how to execute events like this.