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Apple’s iPhone XS keynote was about story, not specs

Apple’s iPhone XS keynote was about story, not specs


– By the time you watch this
video, you’ll already know what I’ve seen inside here,
the Steve Jobs Theater at Apple Park in Cupertino, California. It’s the new iPhones,
but here’s a question. How badly does Apple really
need to do these big, hype-y keynotes anymore? And why do they do them? (electronic beeps) Okay, so the keynote is over. It happened behind me and I’m walking into the hands-on area, and I’m doing this because I wanna show you the
first answer to that question, why does Apple hold the events. Well, it’s really obviously, honestly. The most obvious answer is hype because look at this hype,
there’s just a lot of it. And Apple wants to have
all these people here. It wants to show off all its phones, it wants to have a big media moment, and so of course they do a keynote. They invented this thing. Everybody’s copied it. But I think hype is just one part of it. I don’t even think it’s
the most important part. See, this is an S year,
which means that the updates to the phone aren’t as
obviously exciting as they were in a bigger year. So the iPhone 10 came out. It was a whole new design,
blah, blah, blah, blah. This year the new features
are better camera, faster processor, slightly nicer screens, slightly nicer glass. You know S updates, and so
in order to make that thing build up this level of
hype, Apple needs to do more than just present the
phone, read the specs, and let us come take pictures of it. Apple needs to tell a story, because if Apple can tell a story that means Apple can set a narrative, and there are a couple of
moments in this keynote where Apple set a narrative
that I really wanna talk about. (electronic music) (crowd applauses)
– Welcome to the Steve Jobs Theater. Let’s get started with the Apple Watch. Everything about it has been
redesigned and re-engineered. (crowd applauses)
This is iPhone 10S. We are very excited to
show you the iPhone 10R. (crowd applauses) – We’re back. We’re back in the studio. Processor is back, I’m
back, it’s good to see you, except I can’t see you. You can see me, anyway. In this video, I wanna talk about that narrative thing I mentioned. I’m not making a video
about the specific specs or features of the iPhone 10S, not really. There’s a lot to get into,
and we’re going to do all that in the official VRG interview. Instead, I wanna talk about
how Apple tells a story because I think it’s just
as important as the specs and the features of that phone, especially in an S year. So, the first note I wanna
talk about in the keynote is when Apple introduced
the new camera system on the iPhone XS, 10S,
whatever, the name is bad. Every time Apple introduces a new feature, they tend to go through
a three step process. Step one is look at all the amazing stuff we’ve done in the past. Step two is look at all
this cool tech and specs and crazy stuff that we’ve
enabled on this new thing. And then step three is
you get to participate in this amazing future. So, watch this clip and when you do, don’t think about the specific features, think about the way that
Apple is talking about them. – Over 10 years customers have been taking incredible photographs with
their iPhone cameras, like this. It is a remarkable new dual-camera system. It has a 12 megapixel wide camera, a 12 megapixel telephoto camera, and an even more improved true tone flash. (crowd applauses) This is a new era of photography. Some people call it
computational photography. And the benefits of this are
not only for photography, but for video as well. It’s a new ere of videography as well with this new sensor and the
power of that A12 bionic chip. – Okay, so why is this three
step narrative important? Well, first of all, the big
innovation on the iPhone 10S is the camera, really. And what’s interesting is
they’re trying to do some very similar stuff to what
the Pixel 2 already does. It takes multiple photos at
once, stitches them together. It does a whole bunch
of computation on it, but do you know what
didn’t get mentioned at all in Apple’s keynote? Any other smartphone cameras. In Apple World, there’s only
iPhone cameras and DSLRs. To me the clearest example of
this whole Apple World thing was when Schiller was
introducing this new feature on the 10S that lets you
take a portrait moto photo and then edit it after the fact to change the background
blur on the picture. – I’m gonna slide the depth of field and watch the background as
it changes the depth of field of your photo. This is done after you’ve taken it. This has not been possible in photography of any kind of camera. This is something that iPhone
can now do with the power of the A12 bionic chip. – Now, maybe he was referring to all the features being a first, whatever, but we all know, well at least, I know, that Samsung has let you do this after the fact foca editing thing since at least the Note 8
last year, just saying. The point here isn’t to dunk on Apple because honestly I was
super, super impressed with how the blur editing worked in my hands-on at the event. No, the point is to see how
Apple introduces a feature. It’s always part of a story,
and again that story is always how Apple was great before,
how it has great tech now, and how it’s gonna get
better in the future. The term for this is framing, basically, which has always been a thing in politics. Political framing, framing a narrative. In this method, Apple sets
the terms of the world and the things that exist in it. That’s the frame. And then within that
frame it tells a story, where one thing leads to the next. A little bit like the plot of a movie. All that means is that
even in a S year keynote where the announcements aren’t
really that game-changing, Apple can still use this
narrative setting structure to change and shape how people
think about their products. Here’s another example
of how all this works. It’s the moment where Apple
introduced the new heart sensing features that are coming on
the Apple Watch Series 4, and specifically the new EKG feature. – The optical heart sensor has
been essential to Apple Watch from the beginning. We’ve added electrodes into
the back sapphire crystal and the digital crown allowing you to take an electrocardiogram. (crowd applauses) When you open the app, this is what you see on the watch face. It’s really beautiful. People in general don’t like
things that are medical. This kinda makes you want to take an ECG. – Because narrative framing
is a commonly used tactic in political discourse,
it’s a pretty short jump from talking about this rhetorical method to assuming that it’s just
propaganda to cover up lies or that it’s there to cover
up a pretty meh set of product announcements. Now to be clear, I am
not saying that at all. What I am saying is that
Apple is pretty masterful at this method and it does
it over and over again in its marketing. Sometimes it’s super effective,
and sometimes it’s not. But the funny things is, I think Apple executives
really do believe the stories that they’re telling. I mean, I don’t know, look at any other tech company
keynote, or LG or Samsung or whoever is targeting a new feature. It feels way more scattershot. Apple takes its time in its keynotes. It goes a little bit slower, because those keynotes
don’t exist just so you know what the new feature is. They exist so that you can
see yourself as a character in Apple’s story. And you know what? Apple’s always done it this way. Here’s a way older keynote
that uses the same method. – It has the same great
design of the iPhone 3G that we just launched last summer, but what’s inside is entirely new. It has amazing hardware and
software that work together as Apple is known to do. We make these things work hand in hand, and this has auto-focus,
auto white balance, auto exposure, to take such
a gorgeous photo for you. (kids laughing) You can take videos with
you everywhere you go, (crowd applauses)
it’s just as simple as that. That was taken on an iPhone 3GS. You just tap to record
and when you’re done, the best thing is you can
now share it with anyone right here from your iPhone. – You know the long running
joke about Apple keynotes. They create a reality distortion
field and back in the day with Steve Jobs, that
field was mostly created by sheer force of charisma. – Yes, I’d like to order
4000 lattes to go, please. (crowd laughs)
No, just kidding. Wrong number, thank you. Bye bye.
(crowd applauses) – And yeah, now there’s just a little bit less charisma maybe. But there’s still a story
that Apple wants to tell and that’s why they do these
keynotes every September. Hey, thank you so much for watching. It’s really great to be back
on the YouTubes with ya’. Leave a comment down below. What did ya’ think of this
keynote? And you know what? Honestly, you should hit
that subscribe button because we’re about to enter silly season for new product announcements
and we’re gonna have a ton of videos and you’re gonna
wanna know about ’em.

100 thoughts on “Apple’s iPhone XS keynote was about story, not specs”

  1. I remember buying my brand new iPhone 4 for under 300 dollars baring in mind this was incredibly expensive for this time and it was just released now
    The cheap option is over 700 nice…

  2. Am I the only one who sees Samsung's Galaxy Unpacks of today also tell a story just like Apple? Try revisiting their latest keynotes. Their strategy is also telling a story.

  3. Hey .. you are superb in all the terms and its true story. I really like the way you are selecting sensitive topics and showing the same in clean and transparent.

  4. I also noticed how apple is always talking directly to the viewer in these keynotes. "YOU can take photos like this", "now YOU can send your emails faster" etc. Other companies dont do that, they just focus on the product. Its just another way that apple creates a user experience and environment thats bigger than just the hardware

  5. I'm just so glad this kind of sugary video you make for this "events" which just kill the hype and shows in 15 min. tops all the info that's relevant! Thanks!

  6. This is arguably Steve Jobs' greatest legacy in Apple.
    It's never about the innovation – of course they innovated, but that's not the point – it's about storytelling.
    Money is just the by-product. 1 trillion dollar is not the ceiling. Think about Catholic Church.

  7. For a moment I couldn't tell if I was watching Gavin Belson at Hoolicon or the real thing. Great report and broke things down really well without all the fanboism out there.

  8. Not really. This was the true story https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/6sUWU/1/ Apple have hit peak sales, so now they need to keep increasing prices to keep up the revenue growth. They can only pull this stunt for so long.

  9. it's not news that Apple has always been the master of story telling thru marketing. Also, aren't smart phones right now at a bottle neck stage where nobody is really creating anything groundbreaking anyway……so if the iPhone X was actually good enough, and being described by many media outlets before that it's years ahead of their competition, why fix it if isn;t broken…….and with more powerful processing power, it's just going to elevates the performance even more with the new ios update…………it's such a standard to push a phone out every year that sometimes u would really be stuck in a cul de sac of what's next, and even if they could think of something, doesn't mean it's ready yet too……………. a new good piece of technology needs time………….. which sadly nobody nowadays have ………..

  10. This video is a testament to the authentic journalism that has been missing in today’s world. Where other YouTubers focus on reporting the obvious, leave it to Dieter and The Verge team to “say it the way you see it.” From an engineering standpoint, I have always appreciated Apple’s attention to detail in building premium quality devices however they also need to kept in check. This video covered a delicate topic because it puts Apple’s marketing techniques in the spotlight however this is what is needed today. Someone has to keep these big companies (Apple, Google, etc) in check and I am glad The Verge is surfacing some thought provoking discussions.
    Well done! The opening intro/edit at 0:16 was “off the hook.”

    Btw, how about a video to look at how much of our personal privacy data is sucked by Android vs iOS? Which OS is tracking us more? Just a thought.

  11. It's kind of sad. This is the year Android won. You can't really buy a phone for a grand. You'll just embarrass yourself. You can trash Android phones as being fugly knockoffs, sure. Some are. But the few top tier ones aren't anymore. They're better. It's like the end of an era.

  12. I'm learning to write for law school and, believe it o not, this was extremely helpful to me. Thanks for breaking it down like this.

  13. I think Apple wants to move their lineup so that the iPhone XR is what majority of people would have, and the iPhone XS is what the minority of people would have so that it is clear that the XS is the luxury product. Similar to the aluminum watch vs the stainless watch.. or an Audi compared to a Volkswagen. And when that happens we can expect the most premium and non-compromising devices that Apple pushes out to be having even MORE ridiculous profit margins and ultimately become far too expensive and exclusive for the vast majority of us.

  14. 4s had Siri and icloud, 5s had Touch ID, 6s had an extremely strong aluminum body and 3D Touch… why is there a notion that "s years" are boring?

  15. When it comes to The Verge covering Apple I find myself much more engaged when it's from Dieter. Maybe it's his in-depth knowledge of Android or maybe it's about not hearing Apple fanboys drone on about Apple. Either way, it's working. 👏

  16. Really enjoyed the format of this video and how Dieter explained Apple’s use of story. I’ve never thought of it that way but it sounds spot on. Good stuff.

  17. Incredible video. Apple has always been about telling a story. Now compare it with Google Pixel’s launch. Folks that talk at Pixel launch just look at the sky for some time for some reason! What are you looking at?! Birds? Plane? Superman? 🤣

  18. I don’t know if this is a coincidence or not but Dieter Bohn’s T shirt colour matches with the colour of the pillow covers.

  19. Really loved this video. I never knew Apple's Keynotes were for stories, I thought they were just for the hype and a way to promote their new devices. Thanks a lot! 👊👍

  20. All the best framing of lies and baseless claims of being first. They do a good job of framing it well though. Thanks for this great Verge video.

  21. This aspect of a story (at times it is creative lying at) is how Apple puts blinders on their costumers and fans. This is how they create the distortion field.

  22. This step by step process of framing a narrative sounds exactly like what the DNC and Left does. Just like Apple they do this to push a agenda.

  23. The reason the iPhone XS Keynote wasn't about specs was because the specs are only slightly higher. If Apple had made the iPhone XS twice as fast as the iPhone X, they would have said it loudly and repeatedly.

  24. You are very smart man Dieter Bohn to be able to catch the concept and the meaning of the Apple story. I'm impressed. Thank you.

  25. I was so worried this segment of The Verge is gone. Thankfully it’s back. Dieter is sooo good with this! Keep them coming please.

  26. Thank you for this review. I'm going to try to follow the strategy you spelled out here for a company presentation I'm doing next week

  27. They sell their products with a story because humans desire connection and if you can't connect to your customer via a story then you'll have a hard time making them what a mundane device compared to the last three iPhone gens

  28. Dieter, you are my favourite tech journalist. Its just amazing how much information is in these videos. I ofter have to re-watch them again to think about as its really eye opening!

  29. Great video..I agree…could anyone else tell that Phil either didn’t feel good..or didn’t look excited at all? Less charisma is spot on I think…this years keynote reminded me of maybe a Samsung keynote delivered by their ceo….boring…..Apple is definitely the best at story telling 🤣

  30. Great video. It's videos like this that's making Verge seem a pretty unique channel in an otherwise boring and repetitive tech community. More such videos please.

  31. This is the only way Apple has managed to rip off people! Creating a Mirage! Should hand it to em! They steal technology from other makers, they diss others at their keynote, they cut a big chunk of your wallet! But still they manage to put up a great show!

  32. That's why I hate iPhone! It's just bad! And exactly why I appreciate google! ♥️ They are true to their customers

  33. Fantastic video. Many people discuss these keynotes without really understanding how they are constructed. This is a great – and entertaining – explanation. 👍

  34. This is what we want to watch more on YouTube, in dept analysis of the way it was presented and the beauty of make use of storytelling on marketing world. Brilliant!

  35. The only thing about Apple products is the hype and innovative solutions are unable to reach the 80% of population due to Apple profit making policy

  36. Apple is "Just a show off phone" !! I see only apple users keep Apple ringtone while other phone users have sense to keep in mute in public places.

  37. AFTER THIS ANALYSIS, EVERY GOOGLE AND SAMSUNG EVENT WILL BE THE SAME… … OH WAIT… THEY ALREADY COPY IT FOR YEARS NOW…..

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