"It's almost here."
In the last few days Apple told the world it will hold an event on 12 September at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco. As is par for the course Apple did not disclose the topic of the event, but it attempted to remain mysterious with a looming '5' shadow to imply a new iPhone will be announced…
…except we know it will be announced.
We not only know the iPhone 5 will be announced, we have seen it. Virtually every part of the iPhone 5 has leaked, from the iPhone 5 backplate to the iPhone 5 USB cable. From the iPhone 5 Nano SIM card to the iPhone 5 battery. From the quad-core A6 iPhone 5 processor to the iPhone 5 4-inch screen and front panel. In fact so many parts have leaked we now have a fully assembled iPhone 5 from all the parts – and it switches on. We have been able to run iPhone 5 vs Samsung Galaxy S3 and iPhone 5 vs Nokia Lumia 920 features before the product is even announced. Needless to say we knew about the Samsung Galaxy S3 before launch and the Nokia Lumia 920 in advance as well. Tech companies can no longer keep a secret, but does it really matter?
No Alarms & No Surprises
The romantic in us says yes. "This is a day I've been looking forward to for 2 1/2 years" said Steve Jobs when introducing the original iPhone at MacWorld 2007. It was rumoured an Apple phone was on the agenda, but it had been on the agenda for five years. When Jobs proclaimed "Today we're introducing three revolutionary products… the first one is a widescreen iPod with touch controls, the second is a revolutionary mobile phone and the third is a breakthrough Internet communicator" the crowd was excited, but also confused – they didn't fully understand the categories. Jobs repeated them round and round before saying "…are you getting it? These are not three separate devices, this is one device and we are calling it iPhone. Today Apple reinvents the phone."
Five years later a US jury would agree that notion (as Samsung is forced to pay Apple $1.05bn), but at the time people were just happy to be spellbound. It was the most exciting event I've reported on and nothing else has come close… because of leaks. A culture of snooping has taken over since: blurry cam photos, production floor thefts, betrayed NDAs (nondisclosure agreements) and more have worked their way down from politics to celebrities to sports people to tech. There are no surprises left; we know the infighting of governments, the foibles of our idols and the plans of the biggest tech companies. Everything is laid bare for us to scrutinise and criticise before to its intended announcement and, often, its final form.