Biggest Apple surprise: how few surprises
One more thing: You knew all of this already.
Steve Jobs must feel like a parent whose children have raided all the house's hiding places, torn open wrapping paper, and peeped on "Santa's Workshop" while gifts were being wrapped.
The iconic Jobs relishes unveiling new products, and press conference attendees often applaud at even the most mundane updates. But today's media event was different. It seemed like everything Jobs unveiled had already seen the light of LCDs everywhere in blurry cameraphone shots, leaked price lists, and pilfered & posted design mock-ups.
Take the vaunted "Apple brick." At first, tech rumor sites proclaimed it some sort of miracle product to blow away Windows once and for all. Then it came out that it was a revolutionary manufacturing process that carved laptop enclosures out of a solid brick of aluminum with green lasers and jets of water. When the truth came out – that the 'brick' was in fact a new laptop case-making process that Apple says is stronger, sheds weight, and is better for the environment – the reaction was a resounding "meh."
So too, to an extent, with the updated Macbook and Macbook Pro lines that rolled out today. Analysts and industry watchers know to expect a product line refresh after the September back-to-school laptop-buying rush. And a rumor-fest often accompanies the lead-up to the event, but this year's seemed even more intense. But instead of rumors and ridiculous photoshopped mock-ups masquerading as the real thing, tech-site watchers got insider leaks, including a series of cameraphone shots and a video of the new products. The resulting unveiling was less spectacle and more formality.
I'm going to sound old and cranky here, but I miss the old days. I miss greeting the new product season by guessing what might come next, waiting to be surprised by Steve Jobs. An Apple event used to feel like Christmas morning. Now it's like someone skipped ahead in my new Harry Potter book and ruined the ending.
I know what's coming next. Yes, I know I don't have to read those sites. I know I'm not bound to visit Macrumors.com or Appleinsider. And maybe I won't. But what I really want is for traditionally airtight Apple to get back to keeping its secrets secret, and for would-be leakers to think twice before ruining Christmas morning and Harry Potter for the rest of us.