Robert Scoble on today’s Apple announcement event: “I was wrong about Apple.
In almost all ways was I wrong.
The big bang turned out to be the big “meh.”
Lets go into the ways I was wrong.
1. The new headquarters was totally undersold. But I still will visit it.
2. The new screen was undersold. Phil Schiller barely got a demo in about it. Why not hold it up against one of the existing screens? Why not talk about specs and why OLED wasn’t possible until now? But I still want it.
3. The new TV was undersold. Do I really want to play games with my remote? But I still probably will buy one.
4. The new Watch was the highlight of the show. I didn’t see that one coming, thinking that Apple would make the phone so interesting and visionary that no one would remember the Watch has cellular capabilities now so you can make a call without your phone around. I don’t really need it (even last week when I was off the grid my phone was never more than five feet away from me). But I probably will buy one.
5. Only one 3D sensor and the one that is there was totally undersold. I was expecting two 3D sensors for a new “AR phone” but the second sensor wasn’t there and the first sensor was there just to do face unlocking, which more than one person told me is “freaky.” That said, I’ll definitely use the face unlocking.
6. Augmented reality was totally undersold. One dismal demo which didn’t look all that fun at all. Where is multi-player? Where are multiple demos? Over on Apple AR World we have dozens of fun demos. I assumed we might see a bunch of different things. But very few were demonstrated and the ones that were just looked uncreative and presented in a boring way, which no effort at explaining why Apple’s new OS is bringing a new world to us. In other words, almost nothing showed up that I was expecting. But I probably will buy it anyway.
7. Nothing “clear” at all. My sources sure got this wrong, and so did I. I was expecting at least a passthrough mode so you could take the phone “Pokemon hunting.” But my kids probably will play Pokemon anyway.
8. I thought Apple would pull out some passion from the past. Instead we got boring and more boring.
How did I get so wrong?
1. I over indexed on the founders of companies that Apple bought. I really expected more from the purchases of Metaio and Primesense. I know there are still 1,200 engineers working on something related to augmented reality in Israel, but I was expecting a lot more that would even predict where the future of Apple would go. We call this “reading your own press releases” and I started to believe that Apple would deliver something really amazing for this tenth year of the iPhone.
2. I over indexed on Samsung and Microsoft’s, and even Huawei’s influence. I thought Apple would really want to set the tone for the next decade of the iPhone as being the way to get VR and AR because Microsoft and Samsung already had beaten Apple to the punch and Huawei kept banging about how it has better hardware than Apple. One slide I remember showed how Huawei has four antennas, more than Apple, which gives it better reception and battery life. I thought there was more fight inside Apple to keep showing the market a better dream. Instead an OK product showed up where I expected a new vision of how the future might be.
3. What my sources told me fit into my world view too tightly. My world view is that augmented reality is coming. That world view is still intact. The magic I’ve had by being in VR is still there. Apple still hasn’t tapped into that magic yet. Will another company? Maybe. But I still believe Apple is the one to bring it to the masses.
4. I overindexed on VR and AR. The average person hasn’t seen it, nor appreciated it. So Apple didn’t feel pressured to do anything regarding those two today.
5. I over indexed on Tim Cook’s numerous statements that Augmented Reality would turn out to be more important than most are expecting (I still believe that, and believe that Apple is still developing some major new things there, but now I will believe that Apple is like IBM or Microsoft: big companies that rarely will thrill you).
6. I over indexed on the passion of other people working on this kind of stuff. I regularly have conversations with people who are dreaming of a new augmented reality world, or a VR world, or one that just has amazing AI that can recognize everything. I’ve seen these demos in labs and know that we are only one to five years away from seeing some truly amazing things, but I was hoping to get a few today and they didn’t show up.
So, add that all up, where are we and where do I see the industry moving now?
1. VR hasn’t had the oxygen taken away from it. I was really expecting Apple to position VR as “sucky” and AR as “sexy.” Instead Apple just really stayed away from both topics today for the most part and didn’t add on any overhype.
I’m wondering if Apple did that because it knows that Magic Leap is coming in December or so with a product most of my friends say is amazing (OK, Brandon Wirtz says it isn’t and he’s been pretty right about a whole range of things, so I’m gonna listen to him and my other nerdy friends more).
2. Google has just been given a gift. Apple could have really done something that would have caused Android fans angst today. It did not. Instead, we’re looking toward the Pixel 2 launch in October with renewed interest in the Android platform because Google Assistant is so superior to Siri it isn’t funny.
3. Watch for Magic Leap hype to start up and gain more traction than I would have otherwise expected.
4. Microsoft, Facebook, Amazon, and Snap now are given license to innovate, or release new innovation that they have in the labs, because Apple didn’t provide a new dream today, so there’s new space for new dreams to take hold.
5. If Apple really does have Augmented Reality dreams, those dreams didn’t show up today, which leads me to wonder when they will show up in a real way. I now am moving my thesis from two years to four or more.
6. It shows that the funds (including my own that I am working on) that only focus on augmented reality are gonna have a harder time to hit pay dirt. There still are plenty of amazing things coming in VR and AR, but they won’t come as fast as if Apple were really visionary today about showing why we need them.
Oh, and Leo Laporte I owe you a dinner. And I lost a few other bets today, so everyone remind me of them.
I’ll be on BBC radio in an hour or two to wrap up the days news.
I wanted a new dream. Instead, I got a new emoji poop with a frown. Tim Cook you totally underwhelmed me today. I thought you had the goods. The cynical part of me realizes he actually has enough to keep sales and profits up, but dreams way down.
Sorry for getting it wrong. I have some trust to regain and will stay out of the rumor business. I thought I had some great sources, turns out they weren’t so great, or, I bought into their own dreams too aggressively.
That said, I’m still totally bullish on VR and AR. I just wish more of you all saw its magic today.”