Apple: No Wonder, No Lust

The company’s worst keynote event in a decade

Stephen Moore


Image: Badly edited by author

This article was originally published on my Substack, Trend Mill.

It was nothing if true to form. Flashy visuals. Slick product reels. The “Apple hands.” Robotic presentations with so little charisma it’s impossible to tell if they are now AI-generated. And, of course, new iterations of products that are, well, basically the same as the last model.

But, for a keynote that Apple calls “Wonderlust,” it lacked both wonder and lust.

It might even be the worst Apple event of the last decade.

What did we get? The new iPhone is a whole gram lighter. I repeat, a WHOLE GRAM lighter! There’s a new side button to replace the old slider button. A new material. An upgraded chip. Cameras with a few extra megapixels and another level of zoom. A new range of colors. A new range of watch straps. A few new features here and there, features that other phones have had long before now. There was even time for a bit of corporate green washing with a cringeworthy video about climate change. One of the biggest changes was less innovation and more enforced by EU law; the move to USB-C, which did at least provide some laughter — it’s another excuse for Apple to sell us a $30 dongle. If you buy this, there is no hope for you.

It’s an extensive list, but if you step back, it’s all surface-level, paint-by-numbers stuff. Slightly smaller, slightly faster, slightly thinner, slightly more powerful.

The only crumb of innovation is the ‘double tap’ feature for the Apple Watch, where users can double tap their thumb and first finger to interact with the watch. It seems to work, and it’s really neat. However, I worry that the unforeseen consequences of this repetitive motion may be a whole swathe of watch users developing a tapping tick.

And that’s the takeaway, again — Apple, at present, is devoid of innovation. Or rather, the smartphone industry has gotten so saturated, and the devices are so accomplished that there is little room left for innovation. When I was a Product Design student in the…