Everything's amazing and nobody's happy! - Louis CK
I’m the guy that watches every live webcast of a new product launch. I follow 2 or 3 blogs simultaneously when live webcasts aren’t available, clicking the refresh button incessantly, hoping to see some new information. Product launch events used to be mundane and simple a few years back but recently every technology company has chosen to do them in an extravagant fashion, hyping up each and every event whether or not the product deserves merit.
Over the 2 weeks, I saw Nokia launch the Lumia 920, Motorola launch 3 Droids, Amazon launch Kindles and Apple launch the iPhone 5. Each event was equally hyped up and it got my hopes up! September was going to be awesome, I thought. When I watched/read about every single event however, my reaction to the product was “Meh”.
Yesterday, I posted my “Meh” reaction to the iPhone 5 on Facebook. One of my non tech savvy friends responded with, “This phone is so great. It’s thin, light, fits in your pocket, and does everything you need. What were you expecting? A neural interface or something?” I know he was being facetious but his comment made me reflect quite a bit on my expectations. Maybe I was a expecting a “neural interface or something”. Or maybe a holographic display. Or maybe some ridiculousness like the “Pomegranate Phone” (Google it…worth the laugh). I wasn’t sure what I was expecting…but I wasn’t expecting the iPhone 5 in its current state.
It’s not the just the iPhone 5 that underwhelmed me. I was equally underwhelmed by the Nokia 920 (no launch date, hardware too bulky IMO), the Motorola Droids (uninspired design), and the Kindles (new version of the same thing). I wanted to be truly amazed by the product. I wanted something that made me want to watch the announcement ten times in a row. I wanted a product that made me want to run out tell my friends and make them watch the announcement. I’ve experienced that awesome feeling a few times in my life. Here’s some products over the years whose launch event were memorable to me (with my reactions at the time).
<!--[if !supportLists]-->1. <!--[endif]-->Original iPhone 2007 – Game over. Changed cellphones forever.
<!--[if !supportLists]-->2. <!--[endif]-->Microsoft Kinect 2010 – No controller gaming. The prospect seemed amazing at launch.
<!--[if !supportLists]-->3. <!--[endif]-->Google Wave 2008 – They are so right! Email is going to be dead.
<!--[if !supportLists]-->4. <!--[endif]-->Macbook Air 2007 – Manila Envelope = Marketing geniuses! Gotta have it.
<!--[if !supportLists]-->5. <!--[endif]-->Original Microsoft Surface Table 2007 – World of touch computing. I wanted to live in that world.
<!--[if !supportLists]-->6. <!--[endif]-->IBM Watson 2011 – Are you kidding me?! This is the future.
<!--[if !supportLists]-->7. <!--[endif]-->Microsoft Windows 8 on Surface PC – One OS and one product for everything. Awesome key-cover!
<!--[if !supportLists]-->8. <!--[endif]-->Nokia N9 – Finally someone stepped up phone design!
<!--[if !supportLists]-->9. <!--[endif]-->iPhone Siri 2010 – First time I saw natural voice used effectively with technology.
Some of these products made it. Others died. Regardless, they all excited me for the same reason. They all did something radical, bold. They all took a leap into the future without worrying about the impact on current trends. These products (and some others that I might’ve forgotten) deserved the hyped up product launch.
Unfortunately, every company launches each new iteration of their products in a grandiose way. This trend is not about to change anytime soon. All of these products are way better than before (thinner, lighter, faster, durable) but almost none are game changing. Watching them get unveiled often leads to a “Meh”. I guess Louis C.K. is right: “Everything’s amazing but nobody’s happy”