The Washington Post

Why I don’t care about today’s Apple announcement

I'm sorry, I just don't get it. (Albert Gea/Reuters)

This is the piece I was assigned to pre-write about today's Apple announcement. And it wasn't just me. At least three of my colleagues are similarly pre-writing about today's Apple announcement, along with countless others across the media. All this, despite the fact that we're not sure what Apple will be announcing. Why? Because it will bring in pageviews. Every round up of Apple rumors can be counted upon to attract loyal Apple users who are excited about the latest iterations of its products.

But I just don't get it.

I can understand getting excited when you think there's going to be a major new product announced. But the rumor mill suggests we are only looking at some incremental improvements to iPads and their laptop lines, and maybe the introduction of OS X Mavericks and the cylindrical Mac Pro. It's unlikely that any of these updates will be earth-shattering:  OS X changes tend to be iterative — maybe slightly more convenient, but rarely head-turning. And every PC in the world gets a faster processor or a higher resolution screen on a semi-regular basis. Only Apple seems to inspire a round of applause for what would otherwise seem to be a run-of-the-mill upgrade to the latest silicon.

It helps that Apple plays hard-to-get and rarely leaks details before an official unveiling. But that doesn't make the actual products they have to show off any more exciting. It's just a (wildly successful) ploy to get every tech reporter to over-analyze every whisper that escapes the hallowed halls of Cupertino.

This is not to say that Apple hasn't had some truly innovative designs: The original iPods, iPhones and iPads each managed to revolutionize or create their respective markets; the company has also managed to make great leaps towards efficiency, building lighter computers with longer battery lives year after year. And they certainly have an affinity for giving otherwise mundane technology an architectural touch, as with the AirPort or the aforementioned Mac Pro. But having exciting products some, and perhaps even most of the time doesn't mean you should demand undivided attention all of the time.

This won't matter to the diehard Apple loyalists, or those clinging to the ghost of Steve Jobs. And perhaps I'm wrong to shrug off today's Apple announcement. Maybe Apple will pull a major rabbit out of a hat. But even if they don't, there will be no shortage of coverage — including from me and my colleagues at the Switch.

Andrea Peterson covers technology policy for The Washington Post, with an emphasis on cybersecurity, consumer privacy, transparency, surveillance and open government.
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