Apple has an iPhone event problem

iPhone 14 Pro
(Image credit: Apple/Future)

Later today we'll know exactly what the iPhone 15 line up looks like and is capable of. We'll likely know the same about the Apple Watch Series 9, potentially the Apple Watch Ultra 2, and, at a push, we might find out more about the Vision Pro headset revealed in June. It's guaranteed to be a fruitful day for Apple fans – so why does it feel harder than ever to get excited about an Apple event?

There was a time when Apple events were full of surprises. The words 'One more thing...' were a precursor to something special, whether it was the launch of the iMac G4 or iPhone X. But thanks to the sheer volume of leaks (which, yes, we often share) and the now somewhat formulaic pre-recorded events, we probably have a good idea of what will be revealed, and how it will be revealed. The products themselves remain as exciting as ever, but the spectacle of the launch has become pretty predictable. (Of course, this could be the year Apple proves us wrong – to find out, check out our Apple event live blog.)

iPhone 14 Pro

Get ready for lots of grids  (Image credit: Apple)

Apple turned to virtual, pre-recorded product reveals as a necessary consequence of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020. And there's no denying that these videos show every dollar of their presumably very, very high budgets. Sets are gleaming, transitions are super-slick and the whole thing gives Hollywood a run for its money. In short, nobody does launch videos like Apple. Take a look at last year's below.

And yet, four years in, the videos are getting a little (whisper it) predictable. If it's anything like the last three years' offerings, we can expect sweeping shots of the Apple Park (accompanied by some cinematic bangers), Tim Apple shouting "Good morning!", smiling employees standing in front of some extremely high definition virtual whiteboards showing off specs, Apple Watch users thanking the company for saving their lives and somebody calling the new iPhone "the most advanced iPhone ever."

Sure, what more can we expect from a product launch? Ultimately, it has one job: to launch products. But we can't help but miss the live aspect of previous, in-person events. No live event means no whoops and cheers in the room, making it's difficult to gauge what's actually an exciting detail. (How do we know the addition of USB-C is the most earth-shattering announcement ever if we can't hear the cheers?!) 

But perhaps the most exciting aspect of the live events was the chance for things to go wrong. Remember when Face ID didn't work during the iPhone X demo in 2017? There's nothing like a tech fail to inject a bit of drama into the proceedings. (Don't worry, Apple – you'll probably never make a cock-up quite as hilarious as Elon Musk's smashing Cybertruck launch.)

And then there's the other issue, the one that we're partly culpable for. These days, the rumours and leaks are so specific that we have a very clear picture of what's coming months in advance. Recent surprises from Apple have included the addition of Dynamic Island and MagSafe – in both cases we kind of knew what was coming (a magnet, and the removal of the notch), but it was Apple's ingeniously creative interpretation of the tech that wowed us. In other words, the surprises are there, but they're smaller, and often build on something we already know. We could stop publishing rumours – but rumours are fun too. I guess having our cake throughout the year means not getting to eat it in September.

It's possible Apple will leave me eating my words in a few hours' time, with an event that's full of surprising announcements. Indeed, if the headline reveal isn't an iPhone 15 featuring USB-C, a titanium body, thinner bezels and a new Action Button, I'll be very surprised.

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Daniel Piper
Senior News Editor

Daniel Piper is Creative Bloq’s Senior News Editor. As the brand’s Apple authority, he covers all things Mac, iPhone, iPad and the rest. He also reports on the worlds of design, branding and tech. Daniel joined Future in 2020 (an eventful year, to say the least) after working in copywriting and digital marketing with brands including ITV, NBC, Channel 4 and more. Outside of Future, Daniel is a global poetry slam champion and has performed at festivals including Latitude, Bestival and more. He is the author of Arbitrary and Unnecessary: The Selected Works of Daniel Piper (Selected by Daniel Piper).