October 22, 2013
As we wait for Apple's big event to begin later today, I am reminded just how dysfunctional these “special events” can be. On this, I’m not talking about the actual event, but rather the rollout. Today’s event is being held at the 757-seat Lam Research Theater at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco, Calif. This is the same location Apple holds most of its Worldwide Developers conferences. Apple has also decided to live stream today’s event. Both of these decisions are significant. By selecting Yerba as the location for today’s event, more members of the press will be on hand to provide coverage. Live streaming means that millions more can experience Apple's big reveals in real time. Just last month, Apple handled the rollout of the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c very differently. That event wasn’t at Yerba. Instead, it was held at the 250-seat auditorium on the company’s Cupertino campus. This meant that only a few members of the press were invited to attend. Last month, Apple also refrained from offering live streaming to the public. Instead, the company posted a video soon after the event had ended. The contrast between Apple’s handling of both events is striking, bizarre, and definitely the norm. The iPhone remains Apple’s bread-and-butter product. In terms of promotion, however, it is the iPad event that is getting a bigger rollout, at least for this year. Perhaps Apple is working on a huge unveil for later today, which justifies the increased coverage. I hope this is the case, but I’m not holding my breath. Apple has a history of promoting "special events" differently, and this doesn't seem to have anything to do with whether a significant product is going to be announced. Instead, the decisions seem to be made haphazardly, at best. I’m perfectly fine with Apple selecting different locations to hold events, even if this means AppAdvice doesn’t receive an invitation. What I’m less happy with is the approach Apple takes when it comes to live streaming. Apple is the largest company in the world. More importantly, it is also a technology company. I hope that Apple’s decision today to live stream is a permanent one. Either that or maybe something huge is set to be unveiled later today, which justifies the increased coverage. Have any thoughts? As a reminder, AppAdvice will provide live blogging of today's event from Yerba beginning at 9:45 a.m. PDT at live.appadvice.com. Apple's live streaming begins at 10 a.m. at apple.com.