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iPhone XS and Apple Watch keynote: how Apple tells a story

This yr’s iPhone event is finished and dusted, and now we’re all sitting within the interregnum between the bulletins and the critiques. I’ve been fortunate sufficient to are living weblog those occasions for years, however the procedure of making a are living weblog is bizarre. I used to be taking footage for the web site right through the keynote, and since I’m a “spray and pray” more or less photographer, I took upwards of one,600 footage in simply a couple of hours.

I level that out simply to mention that my consideration was once extra curious about what Apple was once doing than the response to it. I best had such a lot bandwidth, and maximum of it was once taken up via the digicam. So after I had a probability later to take a look at all of the protection (and Twitter jokes), it didn’t come as a large marvel to look that there was once a lot of shrugging this yr. “S-year” keynotes frequently really feel like downers to the tech global, even supposing S-model iPhones are frequently Apple’s hottest and well-loved units.

It’s undoubtedly too early to mention whether or not that gross sales trend will repeat itself this yr, however since my consideration was once ruled via the keynote, any other more or less trend crystalized for me as I used to be snapping away with the digicam: Apple’s construction for pronouncing new options has a very explicit and repeatable narrative construction.

So that’s what this week’s Processor (good day, it’s again!) is set. Maybe Apple’s framing method was once really easy to look as a result of there have been fewer product bulletins this yr, and the bulletins that did occur have been so easy. I noticed Apple framing product bulletins in a method similar to how George Lakoff talks about politicians framing issues.

This yr’s framing across the digicam was once particularly attention-grabbing. Arguably, the innovation at the iPhone XS that shall be maximum noticeable to consumers is the digicam. And with that digicam, Apple is attempting to do some very similar stuff to what the Pixel 2 does: it takes more than one footage directly, it stitches them in combination, and it does extra computation.

But what didn’t get discussed in any respect right through the keynote? Any different smartphone cameras. Apple would somewhat you body the brand new iPhone as a factor that’s getting nearer to changing a DSLR, now not as a factor this is within the scrum with different smartphone cameras. Apple units the phrases of the arena and of the issues that exist in it. That’s the body.

Lakoff writes:

This provides us a elementary idea of framing for if you find yourself arguing towards the opposite facet: Do now not use their language. Their language choices out a body — and it received’t be the body you need.

Once the body is established, inside that body, Apple tells a story the place something results in the following. Here’s how that most often is going:

  1. Talk about how nice Apple merchandise have all the time been
  2. Talk about specifications and tech main points at the new factor
  3. Talk about how Apple’s new factor will let you do superb new issues

Apple helps to keep doing those keynotes in particular to create that body and inform that story. They don’t (simply) exist so you’ll know what the brand new characteristic or product is; they exist so you’ll see your self as a persona in Apple’s story. They’re Apple’s perfect probability to set the phrases of the dialogue for its merchandise.

Even in an S-year keynote, the place the bulletins aren’t that game-changing, Apple can nonetheless use this narrative-setting construction to form how other people consider their merchandise. It could be even extra essential in an S-year.

I don’t assume that Apple is exclusive in consciously deploying a narrative body as a method, however I do assume that the corporate has proven a deeper, extra aware consciousness of its construction and significance than any one else. It is aware of that the general public will put out of your mind the characteristic however take into accout the story arc — or no less than take into accout the sensation that story arc is supposed to awaken.

To be transparent, I’m now not stating those rhetorical tactics as a result of I believe they’re come what may disingenuous. Apple is also deploying ways we extra frequently see in political discourse, however that doesn’t imply that it’s simply propaganda. It’s advertising. And Apple has confirmed itself to be superb at advertising over time.

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