Workflow excellence. Apple’s latest “One More Thing” displays ongoing innovation quality hiding in plain sight.
Apple’s recent “Scary Fast” video event has been a somewhat nerdy thing. But maybe it has been just a means to an end to showcase the actual innovation to be communicated during the aftershow: “Hey, we can show you all this captured through the lens of an iPhone.”
Computers are great. Computers are boring. No doubt, the processing speed of computer hardware is something of great importance for all of us these days. From that perspective, the central theme of the last run of Apple’s (APPL) always-hyped product presentations was important in benchmarking the company’s state of innovation. During a 30-Minute-Video-Presentation, Apple introduced its upcoming brand new M3 Microprocessors and how they will be put to good use — mostly showing the M3s in their new product lines of PCs and other devices. (In hindsight, the attribute “scary” mainly reflected it all happening during the Halloween season, and “fast” referred to the progress made in Apple’s semiconductor R&D resulting in those M3s).
But, let’s face it — most of humanity does treat semiconductor performance indicators such as speed and architecture like the performance data of cars: Talking about it is a snoozefest for many. It is expected to be there and available once needed. How the magic is made, what’s under the hood, is of interest mainly to a niche crowd of connoisseurs/fans/nerds only. This means the YouTube version of the “Scary Fast” event still has gathered 8 Mio views (as of 11/03/23) on YouTube in just two days since its initial release, a number not surprising given the global relevance of Apple to financial markets, shareholders, consumers, etc.
However, the more interesting video to me was the one released by Apple on its official YouTube channel the day following the scary video presentation. A follow-up “Making Of”-video called “Behind the scenes: An Apple Event shot on iPhone.” The short video went viral on social media within hours and quickly gathered 1.3 Million views (as of 11/03/23) within one day — which is remarkable even for Apple’s YouTube channel standards.
The video’s success might be rooted in it being a real “One More Thing” gem in the best Steve Jobs tradition. With this being an Apple event, after all, its message is powerful, yet, despite the fact of it being well adjusted to the spirit of the main event itself, of actual stand-alone value.
In the video, within 2 minutes and 15 seconds, Apple demonstrates how they produced the entire “Scary Fast” event broadcast footage using iPhones, including Mac-only postproduction workflows from A to Z.
It also demonstrates (once more) how far Apple has come in building and establishing products that work seamlessly across entire workflow universes. A sector Apple probably has been the leading Tech company in ever since. Apple also shows that it continues to self-understand itself as a company that continues to offer such services like no one else and — maybe even more relevant — to become better and better in its offerings.
It’s even part of where Apple’s strive for innovation is located the most ever since. In connecting the dots, in the building seamless user experiences across hard- and software.
In “Behind the scenes: An Apple Event shot on iPhone,” the company showed again how good they are at this before the backdrop of probably the most relevant media format of our times — the audiovisual format. By far, no small feat.
Anyone who ever has produced any form of video or film — may it be to publish professionally or privately — knows how painful such a process can be from idea until delivery. Even today. Especially when it comes to managing the delta between the vision and the reality of the finished product itself.
All those potential hurdles handling footage across platforms, from shooting devices to editing/postproduction devices, import format roadblocks, etc., etc. — And here comes Apple, showing a perfect solution made for the audiovisual age we all live in that offers to take away all this pain. While even using its in-house brand of phones as a central recording device, producing footage that can be transferred easily across machines to be edited and post-produced (transitions! filters! color adjustments! …) into something high-end everyone loves to watch.
What Apple shows genuinely is a solution people long for. Apple presents a video/content production innovation that no other companies can deliver, with all the competition either missing the hardware component or the software component or the one platform-only workflow ability. The famous “walled garden” strategy to offer seamless user experiences pays off increasingly for Apple, with revenue from its serviced divisions growing continuously, contributing over 25% of total revenue these days, up from $19.2 billion a year ago and from $21.2 billion in its last quarter (as of 11/3/23).
Yes, the team shown in Apple’s making-of-clip is a team of professionals using a lot of super professional additional equipment. It’s also not a brand-new idea to shoot with iPhones in a professional context of film- and video-making. I did so myself ten years ago with my iPhone 5 (PM for screener :-) ), as did many others as well over time.
Nevertheless, using the phone as a camera CPU IMHO is different from the relevant point the video makes. The critical message this making-of sends audiences is that “there is hope for every DIY video to develop a pro look.” A promise to all those people making all sorts of videos, longing to present themselves using better self-made content. Watching this short making-of is like watching pro sports inspiring us to be better aspiring amateurs; watching artists on stage inspiring us to be better amateur musicians.
A message in the legendary “One More Thing” tradition of Apple announcements — IMHO, comparable to announcements about the iPod or the iPhone. A bit more hiding in plain sight, maybe. But still, it’s pretty high-flying.
Once more, Apple found a “One More Thing” way to present innovation in an emotional way that works perfectly together with the message of the main event (“Here is our perfect product, and here we show you how perfectly this works for your day-to-day life …”)
Imagine also briefly what this means for Apple’s future aspirations to offer health services (mainly through its Apple Watch). Imagine what this means once such a perfect product gets loaded more and more with various AI applications of sorts. One day, Apple Final Cut Software will auto-edit that one excellent family video for you. Shot on the iPhone by a human, edited by Apple. Footage collected at the family event autocorrected in color and focused already, stored on your phone, ready to be exported.
It may be scary for some to see this coming. Machines are taking over to produce our perfect memories. But it will happen. Rather sooner than later. And we will love it — as the results are so fantastic. And it will happen (again) for most of us on the Apple platform first.