Apple is preparing, as the whole planet is aware, to unveil the iPhone 6 on September 9th. As usual, the event is expected to be full of excitement. Apple has been known for the exceptional way it unveils products, always with class and panache. Anyone who has ever watched an Apple event knows the formula: Guests will be greeted, Sales figures for previous iPhones will be given, then a look at Apple's position in the marketplace, their achievements, awards, and just how awesome & popular Apple in general. Then talk of the future, and how Apple sees it. Then comes the unveil of the product that will shape said future. By all accounts, as with all Apple events, it will be a smashing success. All sounds like business as usual, so what makes this event any more special than the last 15? Simple.. The Venue.
Apple is a company that leaves NOTHING to chance. Industry analysts can certify that Apple is king of the hill when it comes to planning and roll out of products. Their secrecy and setup has been compared to international intelligence agencies. They meticulously manage every detail when it comes to product roll outs, from seating arrangement, the list of invitees, the number of people invited, even down to the paper and texture of the invites. Apple’s preparation for keynote events extends beyond who presents what on stage, and who guards which executives from reporters. As a former member of Apple’s PR team said, “the keynote is like a production. You have to have a special appreciation for it.” Every single element of the presentation is specifically determined in advance, from nuances of the lighting, to how screens are positioned, to who sits where within the venue. Lower-level Apple employees are strategically nestled within each event’s audience, different journalists are kept in specific positions, and Apple executives need not worry about last-minute changes. Everything’s under control. The process starts weeks before keynote addresses. Apple’s PR/Communications and Marketing teams keep an eye on media reports to determine expectations, leaking information to temper expectations that won’t be matched by the announcements. Executives typically practice for two weeks in Apple’s Infinite Loop auditorium, and senior PR members prepare special white booklets to be handed out to the rest of the Communications group during a lengthy meeting, held about one week prior to the main event.
These books detail exactly what will be discussed and announced during the event, who will present each part, which Apple employees are responsible for what is demonstrated, how the product hands-on area will be organized, and who will be in attendance.
Following the pre-event “pep talk,” the white books are handed back to the PR team, and are sometimes shredded on site. Just as Apple takes extreme measures of secrecy during the development of products, the schedules for each keynote are guarded very closely. So when Apple changes the venue for a launch event, it is a big deal. Especially when it is the Flint center. Typically, the company launches its products at the Yerba Buena Center in San Francisco, which holds 757 attendees. The Flint Center ups that count to 2,405. It's not just the numbers though. Apple is a company that is deeply attached to it's history and sentiment. And the Flint center has a very emotional history for Apple. Apple has held 3 events at the Flint center in it's history: The historic launch of the Macintosh computer in 1984. They launched the iMac in 1998, the product that shaped their future and turned the company around for good and back to profitability, and the iMac SE in 199, when they sent the message: "iMac is growing up". Since then, Apple hasn't hosted an event at Flint since.
A key point, and an amusing one to me, is that, if you asked the average iDevice user under 35 today what Apple's defining product is, the product that makes them Apple, you can bet the replies will be the iPhone or the iPad. And both of these devices COMPLETELY CHANGED THE WORLD. And NEITHER of them launched at Flint, they were unveiled at Yerba Buena. So Apple making the move back to the Flint Center most certainly is a sign that Apple is planning on this event being a historic, defining, turning point for the company. Unveiling products that will reshape the world yet again. And they aren't just hosting an event there. They have built a 3 story tall building behind the Flint center that some are speculating will be a Demonstration hall for attendees to get hands on with the announced devices.
Whatever Apple has in store, it is clear they expect it to be a major milestone for Apple, if not the world. What will be announced other than larger iPhones? What crazy, wild and life changing products do they have in store? Apple CEO Tim Cook has been promising that Apple's product pipeline is “chock full” of “incredible stuff” since at least January. January 2013, that is. He’s claimed that Apple is in a “unique position” to enter and dominate new categories—widely assumed to mean TV and wearables. He’s said that the product pipeline “has never been stronger.” Apple exec Steve Cue said Apple has "the best product pipeline I've seen in 25 years." Wow, right? Whatever is in store, we have to wait 6 days.. on the edge of our seats...