They got it right the first time…

Now that the newest iPad has been introduced, there seems to be the inevitable disappointment and feeling of let down percolating through the internet. While Apple added an amazing new screen, 4G LTE, faster processor, and better camera… people seem to have wanted more, something truly revolutionary and mind blowing. Those are the level of expectations that have been placed on new Apple products in the last five or six years, for better or worse. The fact Apple shrouds its new products in complete secrecy most likely adds to the incredibly high expectations, along with the fact they have delivered revolutionary products in the past… the iPod, the iPhone, the Macbook Air, and the iPad. I understand the natural instinct for people to want something new and ground breaking from Apple, yet there’s a very good reason Apple hasn’t been introducing new and ground breaking versions of their products… they got it right the first time around.

Look at the first generation iPhone from 2006 and at the current iPhone 4S. The design is basically identical, the same size screen, the same button arrangement, the same dock connector. The only thing Apple has done since the original iPhone is refined it, cut off excess fat, streamlined the design, added storage, added processor speed, added cell speed, and increased the screen resolution. None of these were completely mind blowing and revolutionary changes, they were incremental improvements. Yet, that is only because Apple got the design of the original iPhone right, they nailed the fact smart phones in the next decade will be large touch screens with minimal buttons. That was the revolutionary idea, and completely different from what came before.

That’s why the original iPhone introduction was one of the few Apple events that actually lived up the hype, that actually blew people away. Many people expected a click wheel type iPod with phone capabilities, but seeing what they actually created was really exciting. Just watch the YouTube video of Steve Jobs introducing the iPhone and you can see the excitement both he and the audience has, it was electric.

Since that initial introduction though, while every new iPhone announcement generates extreme hype and anticipation, it never seems to live up to that hype. The reason is because Apple has its product and simply wants to make it better, they got it right and don’t need to change things dramatically anymore. The same can be said of the iPad, once Apple settled on a 9.7 inch touch screen with a minimalist design, there is not much more to do with that product except refine it generation after generation. That is what Apple has done, and people are disappointed every time, thinking Apple will somehow introduce something revolutionary. Yet, the iPad was the revolution… the iPhone was the revolution. Once Apple laid its cards out on those products, its not going to suddenly change things up for the sake of change. Both the iPad and iPhone were extremely well thought out and designed, so much so that they don’t need to be revolutionized every year. They simply need to be refined, and that is what Apple does, year after year after year.

Thus, I don’t see any product announcement involving an already existing Apple product ever living up to the kind of hype that they seem to generate. Until people realize that Apple is simply going to refine the iPhone and iPad every year, and not completely change it in some unexpected and revolutionary way, people will continue to be disappointed. The only way I think Apple can live up to any kind of hype it to introduce a completely new product, maybe an Apple television set. Yet, even that might be met with dismissal and let down. However, whether Apple lives up to any perceived hype and expectations is irrelevant, because Apple still will go out and sell tens of millions of those products and continue to accumulate billions of dollars in profits every year.


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