You've Got Great Expectations
It happens at every event that Apple puts on. It doesn’t matter if it’s the World Wide Developer conference, Mac World, or a special event that is announced through an invitation a week in advance. It’s inevitable; it frustrates me and at the same time makes me laugh. Have we come to expect too much from Apple? I think so.
It reminds me of back when I was a Professional Wrestling fan. Yes the endings are pre-planned and yes some of the moves are discussed between each wrestler before the match, but most of what you see in the ring is a spur of the moment. Over the years fans in the wrestling world have come to expect too much from the wrestlers.
It all started back in the late 1970’s when Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka came along with his signature finishing move, which was a flying jump from the top rope into the center of the ring unto his opponent that was laying on the canvas face up. Chest to chest they would hit and the ring would buckle from the impact almost throwing Snuka off his opponent. You knew the match was over then. It was amazing at the time and no other wrestler was doing anything like that. The crowd began to look for it all the time and would have been disappointed if he didn’t finish every match like that. He knew it and obliged them.
It was only a short time later that he did this from the top of a steel cage into the center of the ring onto his opponent and the crowd went wild. After that, the crowd wanted more and more. It made his original finisher from the top rope seem unimpressive now.
Fast-forward to the late 1990s and you would find that this type of move was becoming more and more common. I saw the peak of this when a wrestler by the name of Mick Foley started doing really crazy things in and outside of the ring just to get a pop from the crowd. The two events that stick in my mind are when Mick was thrown from the top of a steel cage at “Hell In A Cell” through the announcer table at ringside. This was a forty-foot fall and the crowd when insane. He became such a fan favorite after this fall.
The second event was when he was body-slammed onto the top of that same forty-foot tall cage and the cage broke which resulted in Mick falling and bouncing off the canvas of the ring. Both falls hurt him a lot but the fans didn’t care because they went insane again. So the question is how can you top that without killing yourself? It slowly began to show that the fans were expecting even more amazing things than this. To repeat the same thing again wouldn’t get the same response as last time. When you keep pushing the envelope there comes a time when you can’t push it any harder. The wrestling business sat back and took notice. They began to see they couldn’t keep doing it anymore. When Owen Hart fell to his death at Kemper Arena in 1998 from the rafters during an entrance stunt gone wrong it was clear it had to stop. It’s just a shame it didn’t stop before we lost such a great human being and wrestler.
You can apply the same logic to Apple events, the hype that is created leading up to the event, and the high expectations we have as users and fans. We all know that Steve Jobs is a great speaker and he may distort reality a little bit during the event, but it’s all marketing and should be expected. What we really should not be expecting, is that each event will top the next. There is only so much a company can come up with. Each event is not going to be the event that tops all events. A football team can only win so many championships in a row. The bar can only be raised to a certain level; it’s going to hit the top at some point. It’s our own fault for being disappointed when we don’t get awed at an event. We are the ones that set the expectation level. As my Mother used to say to me, “Don’t get your hopes up and you won’t be so disappointed”.
WWDC is an annual event; it’s not going to be canceled because Steve Jobs doesn’t have enough news to report to the public during his keynote. The real reason for the event is what developers learn at the rest of the event that usually lasts for a full week. It’s a resource for developers, to better themselves and to get answers to questions. It’s a place that Apple becomes available more than they would normally.
On another note, Apple is in this to make money, they are a business. If they see a new opportunity that could further the revenue or broaden their horizons you should expect them to jump on it. I would be disappointed if they didn’t. They’re not just going to cater to Macintosh computers. Their biggest product is the iPod and very well can become the iPhone in second place. Don’t feel abandoned because they aren’t solely doing computers. It’s called growth and should also be expected. Start panicking when Microsoft matches Apple’s products in quality and innovation. We all know that’ll never happen.
So instead of running around crying about your woes about Apple sinking or loosing it’s focus, maybe you should sit back and take heed in the fact that you’re using the best products, sit back and enjoy the show. It’s still the best show on earth and I enjoy it every time. It could be worse, you could be using a PC and running Windows as your main operating system. Now that’s bad!