Is Apple getting into a bad habit of making promises within product announcements that it just isn’t keeping? Two recent examples have come to my attention, and there might be more.
Paging Mr Tracy
The first is the Dick Tracy-style voice-to-voice communications of the Apple Watch, officially dubbed Walkie-Talkie. Briefly mentioned in the keynote as being a favorite of a member of the executive team at Apple, and featured on Apple’s site until it disappeared (seen here at Archive.org – scroll down to see the mention), this feature didn’t arrive with the Apple Watch, and didn’t arrive with Watch OS 2.0 either. Apple hasn’t mentioned it since the reveal.
No inkling of inking
Reddit user memorycorruption asked yesterday where the Inking feature within Microsoft Word on his iPad Pro has got to – something he only discovered was missing when he tried to use it. This feature was demoed by Microsoft in the official iPad Pro reveal a few months ago and is supposed to let you use the Apple Pencil to scribble on docs. memorycorruption expected to be able to sign his name within documents, and reckons Inking was one of the features that prompted him to buy an iPad Pro in the first place.
Okay, we might say this one is Microsoft’s fault, not Apple’s. But Microsoft appeared on Apple’s stage, in order to sell Apple’s product, and we know for sure that Apple will have scrutinised and questioned every word of that Microsoft script. Apple has to take some of the responsibility here.
Adverts and demos
You might say that product demos are just that: demos. This might’ve been true in the old days, when an on-stage run through of VisiCalc in 1986 came with caveats that what we’re seeing might change before the floppies are pressed.
But Apple’s on-stage product reveals have massively evolved. Nowadays they’re adverts, pure and simple. They look like adverts, and smell like adverts, and cost the same as adverts – if not more. Movies of them remain on Apple’s website, selling the products.
If it quacks and walks like a duck then…
Adverts have to tell the truth or they shouldn’t be making the claims they do. It’d be insane to suggest any of this above is malicious. But at the most charitable we might call it optimistic. People buy products based on this info. We might expect this kind of thing with certain South Korean-based manufacturers. We don’t with Apple.