This may be TV’s biggest fall ever. It could also be its last.
By “biggest,” I mean as measured by volume. In addition to the usual slate of broadcast premieres — still operating on a back-to-school schedule like half a century ago — and the cable premieres, and the Netflix season drops, two entire new streaming services from Apple and Disney arrive this month with full payloads of new series.
And by “last,” I mean it may be the final curtain for “fall TV” as a concept and a landmark. The more that streaming becomes the default way people watch, the less that the concepts of time on which TV has operated — seasons, schedules, time slots — will matter. And with those customs will change the very culture of America’s essential medium, even if we can’t yet know exactly how.
Apple, which once spent $1.8 billion on advertising in a single year, has a history of getting the most out of introducing new products. Its ad campaigns, including the dystopian “1984” ad for the Macintosh computer during the 1984 Super Bowl and its “Silhouette” campaign for iPods starting in 2003, created brand loyalty by conferring status on supposedly ahead-of-the-curve Apple users. Its publicity department increased desire for Apple products by cleverly doling out information to the news media. And the company’s slick stage presentations helped turn tech execs into celebs and customers into devoted fans.
But as Apple’s first real foray into original entertainment, Apple TV Plus has presented the company with a new marketing challenge. Can its advertising cut through the noise in the increasingly crowded world of entertainment?
You’ve got to hand it to Apple when it comes to saying the loud part loud and the quiet part quiet. The company has spent the last few years cranking up an enormous services business that’s growing by double digits quarter after quarter and generated nearly 50 billion dollars in the past 12 months—yet it tries very hard to emphasize that making customers happy comes first.
This week, Apple launched its subscription video streaming service, Apple TV+, and also released its quarterly financial results. In the regular phone call with Wall Street analysts, Apple CEO Tim Cook tried very hard to get investors excited about Apple’s opportunities to make lots of money while not making it seem like Apple’s lost its soul in the process.
Now that AirPods Pro are here, there is no point in buying the old AirPods. If you’re looking for a pair of earbuds, the better sound and active noise cancellation make it a no-brainer to spend the extra $50.
Everything Apple upgraded on the new AirPods Pro adds true value. They sound phenomenal, much better than the previous model. The ANC works well and is basically a must-have. The Transparency mode feature is well-thought-out and well-implemented. And the new squeeze controls are just a delight (once you get the hang of them).
Granted, all of the opt-in and invite-based approvals may offer a great deal of assurance that personal data is safe from the prying ears of… well, family members. I can even understand why that might matter to some users. But if the HomePod’s authentication system is buggy, slow, or overly complicated, many if not most people might not even be able to take advantage of the feature.
That’s the opposite of “just works,” and as bad as it is when iOS 13 ships with problems for phones, it’s almost incredible that there are bugs like this with an accessory as basic as a speaker.
Today Adobe released an update to its Creative Cloud app on iPhone and iPad which introduced a set of thousands of fonts that can now be installed on those devices via the new font provider system Apple added in iOS and iPadOS 13. Once installed, fonts from Creative Cloud can be used within any other app that supports custom fonts. The Creative Cloud app is a free download, and all users can download 1,300 fonts in the app for free; users with a Creative Cloud subscription, however, have access to a whopping 17,000 fonts.
Apple and creative agency TBWA\Media Arts Lab revealed the AirPods Pro through a two-phase outdoor campaign. First, giant and unbranded images of dancers appeared on 16 outdoor boards and across the facades of 17 Apple Store locations in major global markets. After the AirPods Pro were announced, the images—some more than 40 feet in height—were updated to include the new devices in the dancers’ ears.
Apple employees who work at the company’s futuristic headquarters in Cupertino—called 1 Infinite Loop—can eat fancy pizza every day for a discounted price compared to similar pizzas sold in the Bay Area and throughout the United States.
And that pizza, according to four sources who’ve had it, is very, very good. Like, so delicious that at some point Apple had to limit orders to three pizzas per person, according to a source.
People have always been curious about crime, fearful for their safety, and yearned for community. But today, technology can supercharge these feelings, and sometimes helps people give into their worst inclinations. Privileged (often white) users are defining safety by excluding those who are already disenfranchised (usually people of color). At the same time, the platforms and devices grant tech companies and law enforcement new ways to build their networks of surveillance.
Do I wish that I can watch Netflix shows in the Apple TV app? Maybe. Do I want to use the Apple TV app to discover new shows on Netflix? Probably not.
Thanks for reading.