How to Make Tech Keynotes Exciting Again

Hardware announcements matter less in a software-powered world.


If you're bored by iPhone announcements, check out a dev-conference keynote instead and glimpse the future. bafeldman writes

Hardware announcements matter less in a software-powered world.

It’s no secret that Apple hardware announcements are very boring. That’s fine: It’s a testament to the iPhone’s influence and ubiquity that it has hit a wall when it comes to “game-changing innovation” or whatever. Now that a lot of software is cloud-based, spec bumps matter less and less, so long as you have an internet connection. The camera being the focal point of every iPhone unveiling from now until the end of time, it seems, is largely because the camera is the last component that could be meaningfully improved upon from a hardware perspective. (That is, until whatever game-changing thing I’m not even capable of foreseeing comes along.) The iPhone keynote is now a predictable snooze fest, and has been for a bit

I kid on that last one, but since Apple is refashioning itself as a services company, its most interesting and unpredictable announcements come from the new things its offering, not just riffs on an old tune. One could argue that today’s most interesting announcement was not that the new iPhone 11 Pro would have three lenses, but that Apple’s streaming service was launching this fall and would only cost five bucks a month.

There are ways to make software-based livestream interesting, but the clearest example of this is Nintendo’s Direct livestreams. Every so often, the company hosts a livestream and reveals what new games and software updates are coming down the pipeline. These livestreams generate internet chatter in the same way that iPhone keynotes used to. What’s key is that Nintendo gives concrete release dates for new things, while in contrast, developer conferences are often filled with prototypes, experimental creations, and vague release windows. A frustrating viewing experience.

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11 September 2019, Wednesday News

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