Yesterday's iPhone 5 announcement was the third Apple event this year that elicited a "meh" reaction, making it the expectation for the company of late. This morning, for example, we see the following headlines "Is Apple's iPhone 5 Boring?" asks The Wall Street Journal's Jessica Vascellaro or a more definitive "The iPhone 5 Is Completely Amazing and Utterly Boring" from Wired's Mat Honan. The knee-jerk reaction as Tim Cook and his Apple buddies talked up "the best phone we've ever made," as we noted, was "nothing too exciting," which is pretty much how the Internet felt about the new iPad and iPhone 4S. Even the photo above gives us that same commentary, with the man taking a photo of the new iPhone with his indistinguishable old iPhone. But, we think boring is a good look for Apple. As we've seen with the iPhone 4S and new iPad, the more repetitive their launches, the more successful the product. They give us just enough change, to get us to buy.
These events have turned so rote that the rest of the Internet gets an easy laugh at the techies expense. Some e-cards has at least four offerings playing off the fact that these Apple have gotten boring. Like "I can hardly wait to spend money I don't have on an iPhone upgrade I don't need anymore," or the one to the right, which both play off the hype over something inconsequential. College Humor also did its version of "let's laugh at boring Apple" with this "Tim Cook Announces Nothing" video, which is funny because it's kind of what they have been doing of late.
Some might argue that Apple was always boring and that the techies have overhyped the company. But when the O.G. iPhone and iPad came out, they really were big deals, Honan reminds us. "When Steve Jobs premiered the iPhone in 2007, it was like tasting chocolate for the very first time. The iPad — enormous iPhone though it may have been — was another epic adventure. And within a few short years, Apple became the Simon Bolivar of technology companies, rolling out revolution after revolution after revolution, leaving the public sticking out our arms for more. Just. One. More. Thing. Please!" he writes. And that's just the problem: We expect a lot out of Apple, so even if they give us the best out there, it is no longer good enough. "The iPhone is the best trick in their bag. And in the last few years, some people have gotten sick of seeing it," writes MG Siegler for TechCrunch.
But the people who have gotten "sick of seeing it" aren't the ones who matter. That iPhone 4S that looked just like the iPhone 4 had record breaking sales, leading Apple to become the most successful company of all time. The same goes for the new iPad from last year. The one possible downfall for Apple, however, is that if it doesn't meet Wall Street expectations with crazy iPhone 5 sales, the stock will hurt. But, all these people crying "bored!" aren't doubting the phones ability to sell. After discussing all the disappointment, Sielger declares: "You will buy an iPhone 5." Because it is different and the average person buying an iPhone, as this Jimmy Kimmel video proves, doesn't know or care about the specs. They just care that it's a new Apple something.
But even for the fanboys, the boring shtick is to Apple's advantage. With each evolutionary event, the company has lowered expectations. Now that meh is the new normal, we won't expect something revolutionary next time around. Then, if and when Apple gives us the next big thing, we won't have seen it coming. We see what you're doing here, Apple.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.