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Apple’s ‘show time’ event was really weird – here’s why

January 10, 2020


I got to go to Apple’s
“show time” event this week where it unveiled a credit card, a news subscription, a TV
app, a game subscription, and a TV subscription service thing. And, you know what? This event was weird. Like, weird for an Apple event, but also just weird, in general. I’ve had a day to think about it, and I keep coming back to
the same nagging thought over and over again: almost none of the stuff
that Apple announced was made available right away, which is not how Apple usually does things. So here’s a question: why did Apple need to
do this event this week? Okay, so you know the narrative
around Apple as a business. iPhone sales are peaking, and so the company needs to come up
with new ways to make money. Okay, sure, but you shouldn’t care about how much money Apple makes. You just shouldn’t. I don’t. I only care about one thing: are the products any good? The only new service we can actually make any judgment calls about right now is Apple News Plus. It seems good if you like magazines and so-so if you want news. It also has some launch bugs. We’re going to look at it much more closely on theverge.com, so stay tuned for that. But for the rest of the stuff
that Apple announced, it’s not coming out until later. May for Apple TV Channels, summer for the Apple Card, and fall for Apple Arcade and Apple TV Plus. Which means, I’m not
really sure what Apple was doing by announcing all
of it before it was ready. Maybe they were trying
to get ahead of rumors? But that doesn’t make sense because the rumors we had already for almost all of the stuff they’ve announced had a bunch of details. And Apple actually
didn’t tell us anything more than what we had already guessed based on all of those rumors. The thing that should have been the splashiest, most exciting
announcement was Apple TV Plus. But instead, we got a bunch
of weird light-up reveals of random celebrities and
then, when they got onstage, all they did was describe their shows with these weird wallpaper things. All connected through Apple! (clapping) We didn’t get to see, you know, real previews of the TV
shows that Apple is making. Worst of all, Apple didn’t
even announce pricing on TV Plus or Arcade. Pricing! Tell us what it will cost! Maybe this event was all
about drumming up hype and trying to use that hype
to pressure more companies into working with these
new Apple services. I guess that could make
sense, but it also seems like this
event isn’t really likely to make Netflix or The New York Times suddenly want in on this sweet
Apple subscription action. Okay, so I lied a little bit earlier when I said that the
only thing I care about is whether or not the
products are any good. I also care a lot about how
technology changes culture and how technology itself is culture. We’ve talked about it on
this video series before. And Apple is merging the
two by putting culture, like TV shows and news
and games and whatever, into the technological
products it’s creating, like the iPhone. So, while you shouldn’t care
about Apple stock price, unless you’re an investor.
But to be very clear, I am not an investor. Anyway, I do think you should care a lot about how Apple affects our culture. And, more specifically, I think you should care about how
Apple thinks about itself. What Apple says about what Apple is and what Apple aspires to be helps us understand what its
products are going to be like, and how they might affect culture. Which brings us back
to an earlier question: if Apple isn’t actually releasing products that we can use right away, then maybe this event
was about something else? It was about putting
a stake in the ground. Maybe this event was designed to redefine how Apple participates in our culture. So, that’s all really heavy. Here’s something else, something
you might not know about me, is I used to be a TA at the
University of Minnesota, and I was a writing tutor before that. So I have taught a lot
of freshman composition. And one of the things
that just made me groan, that made me realize I was
in for a really bad essay with some really surface-level thinking, was whenever a student started a paper by writing out the dictionary
definition of a word, and thinking that that
counted as some kind of deep insight into the
topic they were writing about. You know, like this. So what is a service? Well, if you look it up in the dictionary, you’ll see that a service is defined as the action of helping or
doing work for someone. Oh God, just, if you’re a student,
please just never do this. Luckily, the thinking in
the keynote got better. Tim Cook’s whole pitch is that
Apple is providing services because Apple cares more about
your privacy than your bank or news sites or cable networks
or even game developers. Apple will give you all of these services, and then when you use them, you don’t have to worry
about being tracked by the companies that
provide all of that content. So, for example, this slide came up over and over and over again. All of the stuff on that slide? They’re good things. There may be even good reasons to subscribe to stuff through Apple instead of through whatever
service you’re using right now. But it was, and it still is, super weird to say that you’re going to provide all of that privacy… later. When it’s released… later. The privacy angle really
is the main thing here. And, in truth, I believe Apple when it says it’s not collecting data, and it’s not sharing whatever
data it does collect. But I also have to admit
that I’m not looking for more things to lock me into Apple world. The most popular story that we
saw on our site on Apple day was the Apple credit card. And I get it. Credit cards suck. All of the tracking that they do sucks. And some disruption there would be a very good thing. But is that how you want
to think about Apple? As a bank or a credit card company? Or even a next-generation content subscription service thing? I don’t know. Tim Cook ended the keynote with this line: Because at Apple, the
customer is and always will be at the center of everything that we do. I want to believe that. But I couldn’t help but
feel like a lot of the stuff that Apple announced this
week was more about Apple than it was about Apple’s customers. The company presented a
new vision for itself and for what it does, but it didn’t actually deliver anything yet but promises. It was a very flashy, very expensive presentation of a… business plan? Apple has always been the
company that delivers. This week, it was sort of just the
company that promised. And that was just weird. Hey, everybody. Thank you
so much for watching. Let me know what you thought of Apple’s “show time” event down in the comments. We’ll try and hang out and have a chat. Also, stay subscribed to The Verge. Were going to have a bunch
more reviews coming. I’m pretty sure we’ve got
those new AirPods coming.

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100 Comments

  • Reply The Verge March 27, 2019 at 2:52 am

    Would you subscribe to any of these new services?

  • Reply Mauricio Palma-Atilano March 29, 2019 at 4:27 am

    It’s like Apple’s take on a Nintendo Direct/E3 and similar software hype

  • Reply Denis Black March 29, 2019 at 9:32 am

    the weirdest thing was they called censor-AI their team of experts… some one has to make a compilation of these "team of experts" moment with deus ex music
    night mode, hello??? jason momoa series might come true, we are going blind here

  • Reply f March 29, 2019 at 10:58 am

    It's a cult.

  • Reply Imad Choucair March 29, 2019 at 11:10 am

    What an insightful video. Thanks.

  • Reply Eddie Velez March 29, 2019 at 11:47 am

    I have an iPhone, iPad and MacBook Pro. I’m really considering getting the galaxy s10+ and dumping the iPhone. Apple is becoming a disappointment lately. In hardware and now even software. To many Gimmicks!!!

  • Reply Scott Miller March 29, 2019 at 1:13 pm

    Yeah, he started with the dictionary to describe services because they had no products! At least one would’ve been nice, though.

  • Reply Tyler Wilson March 29, 2019 at 1:35 pm

    They were actin so elitist lol.

  • Reply Tomas Prusaczyk March 29, 2019 at 1:58 pm

    If you can’t do, you become a “reviewer” 🙂

  • Reply Bassam Abulela March 29, 2019 at 2:02 pm

    Apple died with Steve Jobs

  • Reply elias mora March 29, 2019 at 4:11 pm

    come back steveeeee come back!!!! apple hot sauce, apple bird houses..

  • Reply THBek March 29, 2019 at 5:09 pm

    It is all about Mr.Tim worried about investors and what they are going to ask him in financial quarter: what are doing to make more money… Tim: make more breakable stuff … and sell movies(when it is ready)
    it is like 1994 again…

  • Reply Caio Ronnau March 29, 2019 at 7:58 pm

    it's also the company that apologizes because "some small percentage" of their customers are experiencing keyboard issues with their macbook line… a small number of customers only; it's definitely not happening to a lot of people.

  • Reply Andrew Hughes March 29, 2019 at 9:31 pm

    Most of us did not need another credit card or streaming service. We certainly did not need that embarrassing presentation. I felt bad for the actors reading the scripts halfheartedly. Apple is becoming a very different company… Apple is drifting from "gotta have it tech" to "I'll wait for something better tech". Nobody asked for any of these services.

  • Reply Kasparas Visockas March 29, 2019 at 10:34 pm

    Y u so angry

  • Reply AJM19812018 March 29, 2019 at 10:58 pm

    Counting a celebrity shouting "Apple" on stage as something to draw attention to instead of to a product or service is about the same as a dancing Steve Balmer or the painful presentation Bill Gates did with Conan O'Brien. Cheezy and meaningless.

  • Reply CoRSON Cheung March 30, 2019 at 3:09 am

    I just groaned when I stayed up till 3 in the morning for the live broadcast and concluded that half of what they announced will probably not enter my country or at least shortly. So yeah.

  • Reply J Fernando Estrada March 30, 2019 at 6:22 am

    the worst apple event ever.. 👎

  • Reply J Fernando Estrada March 30, 2019 at 6:24 am

    Apple Credit card? WTF stupid idea.

  • Reply Hillwood Lam March 30, 2019 at 6:52 am

    APPLEEEEEEEEEEEE!

    – Oprah

  • Reply Dhruv Mahajan March 30, 2019 at 8:03 am

    Subscription fatigue is a real thing

  • Reply distinctdim March 30, 2019 at 11:07 am

    Can’t get off the negativity bandwagon for 5 seconds Internet. Remember Apple is evil because you’re poor

  • Reply Kehinde O March 30, 2019 at 5:30 pm

    They didn't 'deliver' the airpower though

  • Reply My Reviews March 30, 2019 at 6:10 pm

    Imagine subbing to all of those services that apple released using their credit card. Imagine how much your monthly bill would be. You'd end up broke with a lot of debt. lmao

  • Reply My Reviews March 30, 2019 at 6:16 pm

    Apple should give these services for free to their customers, they already charge them an arm and a leg for their devices.

  • Reply C Lionsman67 March 30, 2019 at 11:26 pm

    Sweet! Lets let Goldman have more money! It sure worked the first time! Oh…..

  • Reply StephenB March 31, 2019 at 1:57 am

    Hurray for U of M!!

  • Reply Sandro Soares March 31, 2019 at 2:15 am

    If you want to know how Apple can become a credit card company, just look for a Brazilian Fintech called Nubank

  • Reply Dark Carousel March 31, 2019 at 5:12 am

    If they cared about customers why don't they take common criticisms, like about dongles, into consideration?

  • Reply Do8y B March 31, 2019 at 6:21 am

    You know Apple messed up with this event when I completely agree with Dieter. He is so spot on this time – the event was pointless and awkward.

  • Reply Maximilian Mann March 31, 2019 at 5:45 pm

    Absolutely on point.

  • Reply Алексей Петров March 31, 2019 at 8:30 pm

    Steve Jobs’s vision – the thing that made Apple great – was synergy between hard and soft. Only Apple managed to connect these 2 parts that damn good. It was the unique feature and strategy. Now that they’re presenting services only, they’re just like anybody else… I wonder what Steve Jobs is thinking about it out there in heaven…

  • Reply mkolt March 31, 2019 at 8:43 pm

    Apple is over.

  • Reply Ezequiel Dávila Lacoste March 31, 2019 at 10:25 pm

    They are trying to make the iPhone more capable and unique. The point is making the iPhone unic, because the iPhone isn’t going to be the best smartphone forever, I mean the camera isn’t the best anymore, the design isnt the only premium in the market, the battery isn’t the best. So they are trying to make the iPhone different putting things like the Apple Card, apple arcade or news plus on the iPhone, so you won’t change the iPhone, because we are going to miss everything that the iPhone can do, even if we had to pay. I think I’m NEVER going to find a phone integrated like the iPhone

  • Reply Marvin's Reviews ETC. March 31, 2019 at 11:40 pm

    reaching content for content here. if you want it, get it, if you dont, then dont get it. no ones going to think of apple as a bank just because they are offering a credit card smh

  • Reply Jack L March 31, 2019 at 11:53 pm

    apple has an overall negative impact on our culture

  • Reply TheFifthBeatle06 April 1, 2019 at 12:26 am

    The customer is the most important for Apple? LOOOOOOOL

  • Reply Andrew Anderson April 1, 2019 at 1:16 am

    Rhetorical questions: Will I have to fall down the Apple rabbit hole to get this content? Will major credit card companies still allow their cards to be used with Apple Pay once apple is a competitor? Good thing I fell down the Android rabbit hole (that is sarcasm).

  • Reply Matt Chinander Music April 1, 2019 at 3:04 am

    Did the videographer on this shoot in log, not grade it, and also miss focus? Quality is quite bad.

  • Reply Masterr Laster April 1, 2019 at 6:42 am

    Not weird or unusual. Well for apple remember apple wireless charging pad. Announced in 2017 canceled 2019

  • Reply D. A. April 1, 2019 at 7:15 am

    AirPower mat officially cancelled.

  • Reply Aryaman Mandhana April 1, 2019 at 8:45 am

    Feels like Verge is running out of things to talk about

  • Reply quan April 1, 2019 at 8:48 am

    Claps for extra emphasis

  • Reply Amit Pawar April 1, 2019 at 12:05 pm

    Out of ideas

  • Reply Well Hello There April 1, 2019 at 3:27 pm

    religious sect weird….

  • Reply Dream Big April 1, 2019 at 3:32 pm

    Jesus, let’s just have subscriptions for food, tv, cars, phone, apps, games, shoes, clothes, oral hygiene, skin care, when does it stop?!?

  • Reply Speedrun Fun April 1, 2019 at 6:24 pm

    Finally someone that tells the truth, they put too much the money to the focus and with that they ruin their products instead of putting the customer to the first place and actually make good devices and software again that is handy to use and does what the people want

  • Reply jonnell barecante April 1, 2019 at 7:27 pm

    i will definietly subscribe to that 🍎Arcade 😘

  • Reply Agustín Baletti April 1, 2019 at 11:03 pm

    Dieter is the best reviewer on Earth. And he is pushing apple so hard that I think if they were a mafia they would get him killed

  • Reply William Li April 1, 2019 at 11:11 pm

    Apple have been doing pre-announcements and previews every year if you count their WWDC macos / ios demos.

  • Reply Steve Johnson April 2, 2019 at 12:23 am

    What Apple is doing right now is like micro-softie corporation tossing zune at ipod. Too little; too late, and not even a good copy.

  • Reply Mikey mouse April 2, 2019 at 2:24 am

    Apple is a cult.

  • Reply Ervin April 2, 2019 at 2:43 am

    Oh man, now I actually feel bad, because I once did start my video (not paper, but still) with the dictionary thing while in college. :p

  • Reply Blaxer April 2, 2019 at 2:54 am

    Apple is dead unless they can stop spending on marketing and more on innovation/tech like microsoft.

  • Reply freakstate April 2, 2019 at 5:43 am

    Giving suppliers and providers a heads up to prepare for integration? I work in finance and banking and it's great to have a heads up on the credit card so we can consider how it will impact our services and how we can accommodate it

  • Reply Nabil P April 2, 2019 at 5:54 am

    So they announce subscriptions….

    Just like when they announced the airpad😏

  • Reply Patryk Wieczorek April 2, 2019 at 8:58 am

    Apple died with Steve Jobs

  • Reply H H April 2, 2019 at 9:53 am

    Oooo, Verge critical of Apple gotta see this !

  • Reply Marc Martha April 2, 2019 at 10:39 am

    Nope don’t think any of this is very usefull outside of us. And why would u really want a Apple creditcard 😂

  • Reply Kerrie Redgate April 2, 2019 at 11:36 am

    Yes, I felt the weirdness, too—but on many levels. I was struggling to sit through it. Plus one thing Australians, like myself, tend to hate is yet ANOTHER American subscription service. We pay around 30% more due to our dreadful exchange rate. And we have subscriptions coming out of our ears now. It’s an epidemic in the USA. Young people are going to have to be careful about how many subscription commitments they’ve taken on every month. It’s too easy to avoid the maths!

  • Reply Brad Davister April 2, 2019 at 11:44 am

    So, Apple is about privacy and doesn’t “track” its customers yet its diving heavy into services that are designed to track people? If you think Apple isn’t tracking you, you are a fool.

  • Reply Jay Sway April 2, 2019 at 3:44 pm

    No one:

    Oprah: Aaaaaappppppppppppple

  • Reply Setya Budi Rahmawanto April 2, 2019 at 4:44 pm

    I think you need start your own channel, dude. You're doing great on reviewing products and analyse something. The Verge don't deserve you.

  • Reply clouds5 April 2, 2019 at 5:36 pm

    IMHO these "events" aren't for the customers. They are for the shareholders, investors etc. Their stock is down so what do they do: Diversify. And that's the reason this event happened at this time. It's a message to the business people saying: We know our main horse the iphone isn't selling as well, but fear not. We will go into other markets.

    It's a reactionary move. And that's what is weird to me. Apple had so much success in the past decades because they were the first (or one of the firsts) to bring new products to the market AND they did things better than most! That made people spend more money without thinking twice.
    But now Apple is just reacting to what others do and increasing prices even more. Big turn off. It's time to leave the sinking ship if you ask me.

  • Reply Lan Hikari April 2, 2019 at 8:55 pm

    Apple: "Were not collecting data."
    Also Apple: "were not sharing the data we collect."

  • Reply cobberbrimo April 2, 2019 at 10:59 pm

    6 minutes and he never mentions the fact that the share price has dropped because Investors want to see recurring revenue/subscriptions/services thus that was the entire reason for the event. How that isn't as clear as day is beyond me.

  • Reply cobberbrimo April 2, 2019 at 11:03 pm

    Maybe if Apple hadn't stopped developing their Mac's they'd have another revenue stream?

  • Reply Jules Haydn April 3, 2019 at 10:40 am

    The verge “Apples even is weird because they didn’t make anything available straight away which is not like Apple”

    Reality “Apple News available straight away + Apple always announces products before releasing them….that’s why they have keynotes”

  • Reply Jules Haydn April 3, 2019 at 10:46 am

    It feels like this guy it pretending to know what he’s talking about

  • Reply packson jollock April 3, 2019 at 2:13 pm

    they should really think about getting someone else to do their keynotes. that slow southern drawl is enough to put an insomniac to sleep

  • Reply Nahid Islam April 3, 2019 at 10:27 pm

    Apple TV+ will prolly get Netflix to make a “Time to Play Fair” ad

  • Reply rrt08 April 4, 2019 at 6:27 am

    Glad I wasn’t the only person!?

  • Reply Shen Kangyi April 4, 2019 at 12:13 pm

    The look up dictionary part is really funny

  • Reply Ryan Villanueva April 4, 2019 at 1:57 pm

    I miss the old exciting hardware presentations of the Steve Jobs era. I miss Apple the great hardware company vs Apple the mediocre services company.

  • Reply photovincent April 4, 2019 at 4:46 pm

    Fine analysis – it wás about Apple and what it wants to be perceived as. For the next few years the “we’re the privacy company” will work for me, but few of the services are very appealing to me as they’re heavily region dependent (EU here). Willing to wait it out a little but…. no pricing? Device pricing has def put me off some otherwise almost automatic upgrades so far

  • Reply April 4, 2019 at 11:41 pm

    You sound not very smart.

  • Reply April 4, 2019 at 11:43 pm

    You need some sense of humour and speech skills.

  • Reply Harshul Narang April 5, 2019 at 6:13 am

    Well I’m going to be the outlier here and say that I was genuinely excited by the direction Apple is taking now!
    The future is about quality digital life! Granted, you can buy gadgets with similar specs from almost any company BUT what’s the experience you’re gonna have on it?
    I think if Apple can work its magic of making the user experience seamlessly great and effortless; while keeping the prices reasonable; I think they might just have the recipe for success!
    To everyone talking about subscription fatigue: you always have an option to not subscribe but here’s the thing; unless you’re loaded, and prepared for a hassle of switching thought 50 different accounts, you can’t buy every movie or song or magazine. Even if you do but it fork individual companies, you won’t have any privacy.
    So if Apple can really balance it all, and I hope they do; it’s going to make everyone’s life a lot easier and fun!
    P.S: Yes I think privacy is worth the premium!

  • Reply Angus Davidson April 5, 2019 at 4:31 pm

    This was a really interesting video, I look forward to seeing more content like this.

  • Reply Ishan Ghimire April 6, 2019 at 3:16 am

    Apple really has changed a lot. If it was the old apple, they wouldn't have shown anything they were going to make, they would show it at that keynote ready for sale. They wouldn't get all bog name people, and instead look at young upcoming artist. And most of all it would be cheap.

  • Reply JasonSPD April 6, 2019 at 4:22 pm

    Apple are scared. Just like they announced the wireless pad but it wasn't ready. Well they abandoned that project now. Apple are trying to promise something but if it doesn't look like it works out later, they will throw it away. All just to grab attention from people as everyone is moving away from apple products.

  • Reply DecHasRisen April 6, 2019 at 7:36 pm

    "iPhone sales are peaking" I think you got that the wrong way around

  • Reply PaleBear April 6, 2019 at 10:11 pm

    This is six minutes of a guy expressing his impatience.

  • Reply Casual Retro Collector April 7, 2019 at 1:17 am

    Remember when Steve jobs said "Apple forgot who Apple was" when he returned to apple? I see the exact same thing right now

  • Reply Seth0067 April 7, 2019 at 7:10 am

    but has Apple delivered anything groundbreaking since Steve departed? its seems more like they're stumbling around and bumping into walls. there's no vision or even consistency of execution. it would be nice to see them with some fresh leadership and ideas.

  • Reply Mitch Johnson April 8, 2019 at 7:09 am

    I lord this video, but this guys seems pretentious. Also, I don’t see why defining the terms you’ll be using is indicative of shallow thinking.

  • Reply Nosferatu April 11, 2019 at 7:23 am

    Lack of innovations in hardware, always playing catch up in phone features. now this ?, Apple is completely lost.

  • Reply Ms Rana April 11, 2019 at 10:35 pm

    It’s all for investors.

  • Reply SHARKT April 12, 2019 at 4:18 am

    I was really disappointed that it's not all is movies and series that will be included… This is a bummer! And not price is very disappointing. I was thinking about cancelling Netflix cause Apple movie is way better. But I feel that Apple is only running after the competitors and try to do it all!!! They're really losing their focus.

  • Reply InsanityCA April 13, 2019 at 8:17 am

    I think it's about showing all these ideas so people can expect them. Then Apples going to release everything and see what does best and then roll with that

  • Reply Catsudon April 14, 2019 at 9:02 am

    I’ll stick to Netflix…unless they have an app that combines Hulu, Netflix, HBO etc. All in one place with one payment fee (which is IK impossible) kinda like a TV where you can sort through different channels.

  • Reply Artur Carvalho April 14, 2019 at 10:42 am

    Apple is becoming boring

  • Reply Brian Ackerman April 15, 2019 at 1:14 pm

    Bloating.

  • Reply Abhishek m gupta April 17, 2019 at 3:48 pm

    one thing scares the hell out of customers ..monopoly

  • Reply Oscar Hood May 15, 2019 at 9:52 pm

    How’s it going?!! Thanks for the upload.

  • Reply Pratik Madrecha May 22, 2019 at 8:51 am

    I'm so glad there's someone that talks about all of this in it's broadest sense! Being the influential company that they are, it is important we acknowledge and try to understand how things are going to change culturally.

  • Reply K R May 24, 2019 at 3:46 am

    Ugh when Americans use seasons to tell time… like don't you want to use the stars to tell me how to get to Starbucks while we're at it then

  • Reply CG June 7, 2019 at 10:44 am

    So glad he mentioned the dictionary definition thing, that was jaw dropping

  • Reply redghost105 July 6, 2019 at 1:17 am

    They want to clearly state that its beneficial to the customer that they stay in the ecosystem because there is an anti-trust lawsuit right now that Apple is fighting. If there is any hint that they are a monopoly that ISNT in the best interest of the customers then they will lose the case and be broken up, that is likely why they had this event.

  • Reply ky nmv September 15, 2019 at 6:02 am

    $4.99, there.

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