Basically, every Apple event starts in the courtyard of their Apple Park HQ. It's a beautiful sunny day. You hear the sounds of birdsong. It's light, it's breezy. You're outdoors. None of this is a coincidence. It's Apple signaling to you that if you buy these Apple products, you can be a part of this healthy, natural lifestyle. Much more so than Samsung or Xiaomi's basement. But there's more to it than just feeling healthy. There's a very specific reason why Apple makes it very clear that they're filming these events from their HQ building. It's to build a sense of belonging. Even if you've never been, there's a good chance that because Apple spends so much time circling around it in their event, that you already actually feel quite familiar with what Apple's building looks like.
And it makes you feel like you know them. All these fancy transitions moving from room to room in their building is all Apple basically trying to come across like an open book. Like, Hey, this is our home. This is where we are. This is what we are. You're like a friend to us. Come on in. And this sentiment is even echoed by every Apple event opening with the same guy, the CEO, Tim Cook, and his iconic greeting. " Good morning". It's very friendly. Now, compare that to Samsung. Where is this event even held? I'm not expecting an answer because there is no way you could know by looking at it.
There's no sense of familiarity. The location doesn't evoke any kind of belonging or emotional connection. Actually, now I think about it. What does Samsung HQ even look like? Plus, listen to the way the CEO opens the event. " Welcome to Galaxy Unpacked 2023". It doesn't carry the same warmth. It's basically saying, We all know why you're here. You're an audience member. We're the tech company with news to share. Let's just get into it. It feels transactional. And it actually makes Samsung look like they're the more secretive, closed doors company, when most would say that award actually belongs to Apple. And this is the next thing. Apple does such a good job of coming across as everyone's best friend, but actually their launch events are basically the only launch events for which no one fully knows exactly what they're about to announce. And this is important. See, the act of actually sitting in front of your computer to watch a two-hour live stream about a company talking about themselves and then showing you stuff you need to empty your wallet to buy, it is a pretty tough sell. Especially in a world where everyone knows you can just watch a 10-minute YouTube summary and get everything you need to know.
Apple is aware of this. And they know that the only way to get people to want to tune in is by making them feel like they're about to witness breaking news. Now, obviously, every company wants the same thing. But it's only Apple who's realized just how important this is and has gone to some absurd lengths to massively reduce the leaks that tend to happen beforehand. According to ex-employees, Apple apparently laser marks all internal prototypes with a custom tracking system that knows who has what at all times. Prototypes have to be locked up as soon as they're not in use, and you have to assume within this company by default that no one else, either within or outside, knows what you specifically are working on. That's the attitude that Apple coaches you to have. The company even disguises their app programming interfaces using code words, so that even on the software development end, each developer only knows exactly what they need to know to do their job and nothing more. Now, to be fair, there is such a thing as too much secrecy, which Apple has gotten into trouble for. After employees complained that this much pressure to not disclose anything has led to the feeling that they couldn't talk about their general problems at work to colleagues, family members, or the media. So Apple have actually had to dial it back a bit. But the point is, think of the scale of this company, how many different people are involved in their operation, and how each new iPhone is basically the single most sought-after product in existence. It is a miracle that they're able to keep anything a secret. And the benefit is that to find out Apple news, you can't just check the leaked specs on Twitter and then carry on with your day. You have to watch the Apple event. And this allows Apple to tell you the story their way. And this leads me to the next thing. Apple knows how to tell their story. Everything we've talked about so far has been what happens before the company has even mentioned any of their new products. It's called " presuasion".
It's them getting people sympathetic to their message before experiencing what that message is. And they really make you wait for it. If you ever watch a Samsung and an Apple event side by side, you will notice something really interesting. That Samsung will give you what you want quickly. They'll start with the big flagship phone or product announcement that they know 90% of people have clicked for. But Apple will do that last. And you could very easily argue that Samsung's actually doing better by the consumer because they're not wasting their time. But because Apple does all of these other clever things that you're about to see, they've got the confidence that people will definitely stay to hear their big announcement regardless. And so they can spend the vast majority of these events on the little things. The little things that tell the story of the brand as a whole. All slowly but surely getting you invested and excited in Apple, all while amping you up to the reveal of the next iPhone. Or the big product which sits at the center of all of it. And this is going to make that end reveal both more impressive, because you've spent the time learning everything else about how the rest of the company's products tie into it, but also more exciting. Because of the delayed gratification of having had to wait an hour just to hear it. But what about the announcements themselves? It's a subtle thing, but if you really study Apple's launch events, you'll realize that the tone is slightly different to others.
The norm is to basically say, " Hey, we've got a new product, it's got X new feature, and it's X amount better than our competitors' products, etc". But Apple always talks about things from a human perspective. They identify a problem, very often using real-life examples of people suffering with that problem. And it all leads up to what's going to be their new feature, which is effectively the solution. It means you never really see an Apple feature that's just there because, well, you know, it's better than the last one. They make sure there's always a purpose, a real-life use case that justifies its existence. Even if all a product is is just a performance boost, they always make sure that they don't just say it's X percent faster and move on, but also what that actually means in terms of what you can do with it. And this gives them the impression of a human company that's genuinely thinking about their customers as people. One of my favorite examples of this is retina display. Back in 2010, Apple foresaw that companies were about to enter a race when it came to screen resolution on smartphones. The first phones had already started to hit 720p, and they obviously knew that it was only a matter of time before some would hit 1080p, Quad HD, and even full 4K. But see, going up to these ultra-high resolutions doesn't actually make sense on a phone. I mean, the more pixels, the more expensive it is to make, the faster your battery is going to drain, all while the vast majority of people won't actually be able to tell the difference. And just to prove that point, we're in 2023 now, and yet Samsung's Galaxy S23 Ultra, the most premium flagship the company makes, still ships with the phone set by default to standard 1080p resolution, even though it can go much higher. And so Apple decided instead to introduce retina display.
Retina display was less about how many pixels exactly were on screen, it was a human feature that said to people, We've understood that there is a limit to how many pixels your human eyes can actually discern. So as long as you buy a retina display product, you'll be getting exactly the amount of pixels you need. And that's it. No Apple customer ever has to think about pixels again. Apple will worry about that, all while them actually saving costs by using less of them. I came across this site called Brand Minds, which did this really cool breakdown of which words were said how many times during one of Apple's launch events. Can you guess which word was the most? It was you.
238 times in one event, Apple used the word you, which says a lot about how they try to come across. This is not me saying that Apple necessarily gives you more product in the end. Obviously, every tech company tries to look out for their customers and make the best thing, but it's just Apple is better at communicating it in a way that makes their customer feel like they're the center of attention. Okay, so at this point, Apple's got everyone's attention. They've made them feel good. But then how do they deliver on the high expectations that they've set for themselves? Well, I think it's all about framing.
The difference between, Oh, that was a mediocre event. Nothing's changed. And, " Wow, I actually can't wait to buy and try these products". It all boils down to how these products are framed. And what Apple does is simple in concept. They start using the base of their previous product. They start by explaining to you why their last iPhone, for example, is currently still the best thing in the world. And only once that message has been properly drilled in do they move on to talking about the next generation. Even though many of the features Apple announces are kind of industry standards by the time they're actually announced, by talking about their past products in such high regard, they very clearly make it seem like those are the ones to beat. And that they're about to smash through that for, can you believe it, the same price as last year. And it creates this feeling that everything is a bonus. It's this very strategy that allowed them to pull off one of my favorite Apple moments of all time.
- Now, we are bringing this proven pro-level performance to iPhone 14.
- I vividly remember watching this moment at the time thinking, Did that just happen? Did I just get told that a brand new full-price smartphone would be using last year's chip as if it was a benefit? I mean, credit to Apple, their chips are great. But no other company would be able to get away with this. And framing is a big part of why. Apple avoids mentioning products from other brands at all costs, almost as if they're inappropriate. But a sub to the channel would be Apple-propriate.
They avoid industry-used terms that would allow for like-for-like comparisons to them. It's literally just " how does this iPhone or this MacBook compare to the last iPhone or MacBook"? And they use percentages instead of numbers to make those improvements as easy to visualize as possible. And this is one of those practices that you can clearly tell other companies have looked at and tried to copy. If you watched the launch event of the Xiaomi 13 Pro earlier this year, this company spends the vast majority of the time referencing the Xiaomi 12 Pro.
But I don't think that's the answer for them. The only reason Apple can do this is that the iPhone has become the reference point in the industry. By focusing on just a few models per year, keeping the naming relatively simple and consistent, and just of course by being incredibly well-selling, everyone even remotely in the tech sphere knows what the latest iPhone is. But that's not really the case with Xiaomi. I don't think it really means anything for Xiaomi to tell their audience that the cameras in the new Xiaomi 13 Pro let in 72% more light than one of the 55 models they released last year. I mean, apart from me, because it's kind of my job, how many people are actually keeping up with that? And then what tips it over the edge is when Apple pairs this careful framing of their products with also knowing exactly what features to highlight. So I actually physically attended Samsung's S23 Ultra launch this year. This was after I'd already been hands-on with the phone, and I couldn't believe it. One of the most notable upgrades of that phone for me was its speaker system, but Samsung didn't mention it once. And this was the moment that triggered this entire video, because I thought, if Apple had made this same upgrade, there's absolutely no way that they would have not talked about it. They'd have spent 10 minutes going through all the different ways that this single upgrade is going to make your life better. I'd say as a general rule, what tends to happen is that the vast majority of companies silently make many aspects of their products slightly better each year. But what Apple does, which makes a lot more sense from a marketing perspective, is pick a few specific things that they think make for a great story, and they focus on making those things feel like bigger changes. And this has three benefits. A, it gives them the time to properly explain the benefit to the user, to give the viewers a real-life story to latch onto, and a reason why they made this feature. B, it makes the things that they do announce seem higher quality, just by the very nature of there being lower quantity. Which is, funnily enough, the exact same strategy that Apple uses in their stores. When you go to one, you'll always find just enough products that it seems like a happening place, and no one's fighting over samples, but never more than that. Apple gives every single product its own space, which inherently makes it seem more important. And this applies to each one of their new features too. And C, it allows them to tell a more memorable story. You may well walk away from an Android company's launch event feeling generally impressed by the 20 or so new improvements highlighted, but you might also find it hard to recall exactly which things have left you with that impression. Whereas if that event instead just had three points that each left an impact, but all linked together, that's a simple, shareable message that you can then retain, and spread. Do you know what's even better though, than talking about a product releasing in a few weeks time? Talking about a product releasing immediately.
Apple does this every single year with their iOS software updates. The very day that the new iPhones are announced, is the same day that every iPhone user using any iPhone from the last five plus years, gets the download for the next version of iOS. And that immediacy makes all existing iPhone users watching these Apple events want to cling to each and every word being spoken. The fact that everything said is going to have an impact on their life within the next hour, it massively raises the stakes. So fine, Apple knows how to create an emotional connection. They frame their products favorably, and they go to a lot of effort to make sure that their events are the place to come to find the information the fastest. But you also have to make it entertaining. And the way that Apple goes about doing this, is their production value.
Apple events are pristine. Every interior room is polished to the T. Every filming location is colossal in scale. These guys travel all over the place to make sure they record each section in the most fitting location possible. And this company also clearly spends exorbitant amounts of money and time obsessing over going that little bit further with their effects. Especially these transitions. Being someone who tries to make a lot of transitions, I can tell you, stuff like this is stupidly hard to pull off. But it turns what's often little more than a PowerPoint presentation, into a piece of content that's actually enjoyable. Not to mention that it's just impressive. It makes Apple production value a technical achievement, that in itself is the best way to show the world you know how to make cool tech. It makes the viewer think, " Wow, if they can do that, their product must be pretty good too". And this production value can also translate to something even more important than a technical flex. It brings the product closer to the viewer. Everything Apple demonstrates, whatever the actual size, is shown on a screen so large that it makes it feel almost planetary. Like it's right there in front of you. And they're portrayed in the most visceral way possible. Whenever you see a button being pressed, you'll hear a satisfying tap. Every graphic and transition on screen has its own sound effects and presence. And whenever you see an audio product being announced, you'll notice the rhythm of the music to be just in time with the visualizations shown on screen. Apple really thinks about what message they're trying to convey, and then tunes everything from the music, the sound effects, to the cinematography to convey that. One of my favorite examples is their trailer for action mode stabilization. The energy of the sound effects and the music, not to mention the thud of this guy's shoes on the floor, make you feel the chaos of the situation. But notice, for every shot of the iPhone, while the phone itself is swinging around at all different angles wildly, each frame of the video has been corrected such that in terms of its position, it appears still amid the chaos. You leave this trailer feeling like you've just used the feature yourself, and that it's saved you from this unfortunate situation. As you can probably imagine, I spent a lot of time for this video on the internet researching. And the only reason I feel comfortable doing that, and being as blase as I am with what sites I visit, is Surfshark VPN. See, every time you connect to the internet, all of your personal details are shared with your network owner, as well as all the companies whose sites you visit. And there's a whole number of situations where you don't want that to happen. Like, it's not an uncommon situation for criminals to set up free open public Wi-Fi spots for the sole purpose of collecting people's data. With a VPN though, your data instead goes through a server before reaching the other parties. And the job of this server is to basically scramble your details to make you anonymous. That's why I recommend Surfshark particularly. Well, the app is really robust, you get a ton of extra privacy features included with it, and also... stupidly cheap. Using the code BOSS, you end up at less than $3 a month, which because it covers unlimited users, can literally end up costing cents.