What will Apple do during its March Event? Even though this launch is almost upon us, we're always asking that question, sometimes literally moments after it's finished a product unveiling and we're all eagerly anticipating the next thing.
Put another way, speculation runs rampant regardless of if it's before, during, or after an Apple product launch. I may be projecting a bit here, but this time, March 8, feels different, bigger, more momentous.
It could be the number of product categories – both existing and potentially new ones. It might also be that this is the first major Apple launch since the "end of the pandemic."
I know, the pandemic isn't over, but there's been a significant shift in its progress and our approach: offices, highways, and commuter lines are full again. Masks are disappearing inside offices. We're making a leap to normalcy. What new Apple products do we want or need in this new world?
- Follow along live: Apple March Event live blog
Maybe you're reading this and not feeling it. All I can say is that I've seen many Apple product events, most in person, some online. Many of them occurred in the first half of the year. We've seen Macbook Airs, iPads, iPod Shuffles. But there's a density to the potential number of product launches this time that portends a launch event of an extraordinary scale:
Obviously, all this is based on educated rumors and speculation and Apple might launch just a couple of products, and we'll walk away wondering, 'What was all the fuss about?' I doubt it because Apple is not just a market mover, it's a market listener.
Apple CEO Tim Cook may not be the showman his predecessor, the late Steve Jobs, was but he knows consumers, and he can read a national and international mood as well as he can read a room. The market is primed for something more from Apple.
It's been seven years since Apple tackled a completely new product category with its Apple Watch, a product that dominates smartwatch shipments and the traditional watch market. It's a reminder that Apple has no trouble winning a market once it enters it. Unfortunately, Apple's new market expansion can only be measured at a glacial pace.
Apple fans feed off morsels of new category rumors parsed out over years. However, something's shifted in recent months, and in the weeks leading up to what might normally be considered a relatively sleepy March / Spring event; people are starting to envision something big.
Once again, we're talking about Apple Cars, Apple augmented, virtual, and mixed reality headgear, even a possible Apple smart TV (okay, the last one might just be me).
The need for a fresh start in our lives, I think, has bled over into product anticipation. All eyes are turning to Apple to kick off the product year in a way that, perhaps, CES, Samsung, and Mobile World Congress have not.
Apple's role has never been one of a simple consumer electronics company. It's an icon for some, a target of derision for others. Good luck finding someone who doesn't have an opinion about Apple. It drives passion because people expect it to deliver products that elicit a passionate response.
Tim Cook's job
Cook, when he takes the stage on March 8 at 10 AM PST, may not acknowledge the millions of eyeballs trained on him through video, but he'll know they're there, watching with heart-racing anticipation.
He'll have some business to get through and, knowing Cook, he may well start with Ukraine, because the reality of that International calamity threatens to eclipse interest and activity around the world. However, Apple is an optimistic company and will quickly turn to the good news in a global turnaround and how Apple and its customers are returning to normal.
His next words will be about how Apple meets our new normal with a new set of tech wizardry. This cannot be a run-of-the-mill collection of middling updates.
We need new products, new technologies, eye-popping colors that remind us we're alive, and more. It is the perfect time for Apple to set a new course with one (maybe two) new product categories that remind us that Apple is not just a peddler of sexy gadgets and ever-expanding (and lucrative) services. It's an innovator.
We're ready, Apple, for you to lead us into the next quarter of this 21st century. Don't let us down.
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A 35-year industry veteran and award-winning journalist, Lance has covered technology since PCs were the size of suitcases and “on line” meant “waiting.” He’s a former Lifewire Editor-in-Chief, Mashable Editor-in-Chief, and, before that, Editor in Chief of PCMag.com and Senior Vice President of Content for Ziff Davis, Inc. He also wrote a popular, weekly tech column for Medium called The Upgrade.
Lance Ulanoff makes frequent appearances on national, international, and local news programs including Live with Kelly and Ryan, Fox News, Fox Business, the Today Show, Good Morning America, CNBC, CNN, and the BBC.