Apple Sets the Standard for Virtual Launch Events

Since we’ve shifted to virtual events, I’ve found myself disappointed by almost every launch event I’ve attended. The majority of virtual events are not that different from in-person ones, where the speakers get up and give a speech.

They struggle to keep an audience that is more distracted by online events than in-person audiences.

Last week’s Apple “Wonderlust” virtual launch was a brilliant example of how it should be done. Apple is not my favorite brand, and I doubt I ever will be, but I do like to say what I think. The launch presentation last week set a new standard for how events of this nature should be executed.

We’ll talk about it this week and then close with either the new Apple Watch Ultra 2 (or the latest iPhone 15 Pro). The watch, I believe, is the more important Product, and so will be the Product of the week.

How to Launch a Product Typically

I was an actor and a marketing director before I retired, so I taught a class about how to make presentations. It seems, both then and now, that many launch presentations are designed to be a task for presenters. Presenters are selected based on their titles, not their presentation abilities.

The presentations are usually created a few minutes before the event and then changed a few minutes prior to that so people who have not been trained in using teleprompters can get on stage and show how little they’ve rehearsed. Some people rehearse well and are successful, but this is the exception.

Most tech presentations focus on the technology of the Product and not on its potential impact on a user or buyer. The presenter will likely show the audience how the technology functions rather than what the Product does, even if it is a visual technology. The audience members who don’t care to learn about technology will be bored and won’t be too excited by the Product.

Product launches should focus on getting people excited and wanting to buy the Product. Virtual launches should have fewer talking heads and be dynamic. They should also showcase the Product in a way that makes you want it.

After a typical launch, the audience is not that interested in what has been launched. The presenters seem to think that the goal is to survive being on stage, and the audience wants to stay.

Last week’s Apple event was different. Even a non-Apple fan like myself was enamored with the Apple Watch Ultra 2 and iPhone 15 Pro.

Wonderlust Launch Event

The event began with a drone sequence that showed off Apple’s HQ building. It is, without a doubt, one of the most beautiful buildings in the entire world. Then they talked about products that are doing well but haven’t been launched. For example, the 15-inch MacBook Air, which Tom’s Hardware rated as the best laptop on the market. And the upcoming Apple Vision Pro, which is driving interest in VR.

Watch Series 9

Apple Watch Series 9 was announced first. It is a very impressive product. Apple Watch was the leader in smartwatches for many years, but now competitors are catching up. My watch, the TicWatch Pro 5, is in many ways superior to the Apple Watch Series 8. Apple Watch Series 9 is the clear winner with its improved battery life, screen brightness, functionality, and sustainability.

Double tap is a great feature of the new watch. You can tap your fingers together and accomplish an action, such as answering a phone call or hanging it up. It also has an enhanced find-my-phone feature.

Commitment to sustainability

Apple’s sustainability pitch was inserted in the middle of Apple Watch’s pitch. Interestingly, buyers often say they care about sustainability but tune out sustainability pitches. Even Apple’s most recent ones were more hype than substance. This one was.

Apple committed to 2030 goals that were aligned with those of other companies for 2040 and 2020. They spoke about their commitments at a scripted presentation with an actor portraying Mother Nature. This may seem hokey, but it was executed well and was entertaining to watch. This was a very good presentation.

Watch Ultra 2

Apple then moved on to the Apple Watch Ultra 2 with another video-rich clip that moved from one location to another to keep the audience’s interest and spoke about the watch changing your life.

A competitor’s watch could convince an Apple user to switch brands. I thought it was so good. It had a display with a brightness of 3000-nit (which is the same as what military uses for outdoor displays), lasted 36-72 hours on a battery, and featured RED light at night for viewing.

It’s not cheap at $799, but for the features and performance of this watch, it is a good value.

iPhone 15

Apple showed off the iPhone 15 – a great improvement over the iPhone 14

The glass case makes it less likely that you will drop the 15, and it has a 48-megapixel digital camera and improved audio quality.

Satellite capabilities have been enhanced, allowing users to contact AAA roadside assistance or call for help when they are not in cell phone coverage. This is a great feature. If I had children, I would buy this phone.

Finding someone else is another kid-friendly feature. This is like a GPS tracking device that guides you to someone you are looking for, such as a lost child at Disneyland. It would be incredibly helpful. I was that kid once.

Apple has also fixed inductive charging so that the phone can now be charged through a case approved by Apple (note the emphasis on “approved,” but it is better to have this than nothing at all). The new programmable button is one of my favorites. I nearly died several years ago. I complained about the fact that the feature was discontinued in the older Windows Phone. This button could help you get the shot that is needed to catch a criminal or, in my case, a criminal. This is another feature that I consider essential.

iPhone 15 Pro

Why do I call it iPhone killer? Phone makers have to overcome the phones that people already own. Apple’s greatest problem is not a rival like Samsung but the Apple products that are already in use. If the new phone does not excite users enough to make them want to throw away their old phone, then Apple will never get a sale.

If someone had the money – and this is a big assumption for the year – if Samsung created the iPhone 15 Pro instead of Apple, then it would be good enough to convince an Apple customer to switch — let alone upgrade their iPhone 14 — to the new model. It’s just that good.

It’s the camera that makes this phone stand out. With a 120mm lens, it is simply amazing. The case is made of titanium (partially recycled), and the gaming performance on an iPhone is unmatched. And, using the Apple Vision Pro, you can see 3D videos as if you are there.

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