Apple Vision Pro Spatial Computer Launch Is PR Done Right

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Apple-WWCD23-Vision-Pro-with-battery-230605Apple iPod, Apple iPhone, Apple Watch. And now Apple Vision Pro, “a revolutionary spatial computer that seamlessly blends digital content with the physical world, while allowing users to stay present and connected to others.”

It’s fascinating to see how the Apple public relations machine launches a brand-new product category.

This post is my analysis about how Apple communicated this announcement. It is a fantastic example for any company to study.

Check out the Apple Vision Pro press release, available on the company newsroom site. Holy cannoli, this press release is impressive. At a whopping 2,400 words and with twelve downloadable videos(!) and five downloadable photos, this multi-media masterpiece is clearly designed for all audiences: the media, researchers, analysts, and especially the public.

It’s for people who might use the Apple Vision Pro for work or for gaming or for entertainment, or who, like me, aren’t sure. It’s for the technology literate and the clueless.

Oh, how far we have come from when a press release was for, well, the press. It amazing how many companies still write press releases as if it were 1985. Not Apple.

The important work of marketing and communications professionals

I’m imagining the efforts of dozens of marketing and communications professionals to create this launch announcement at yesterday’s annual Apple Worldwide Developers Conference. The team included the writers, video producers, photographers, social media experts, keynote presentation developers, and other marketers.

Screenshot 2023-06-06 at 5.08.51 AMA quick check of Google News for Apple Vision Pro shows that nearly every major news outlet covered the news in real-time last night, and many included photos and videos from the press release.

As I was following this announcement, I kept thinking of all those companies who are cutting or eliminating their marketing and communications staff, many because they think AI tools like ChatGPT can do the job instead.

This Washington Post article is an interesting look at the phenomenon of ChatGPT taking writers’ jobs. “Now they walk dogs and fix air conditioners.”

As much as I use AI tools myself to help save time, I know the value of creativity and excellent communications.

There is no frikin’ way that ChatGPT could have replaced Apple marketers to create this announcement.

Holy Zuck! Spatial Computing is not the Metaverse!

Screenshot 2023-06-06 at 5.12.27 AMThe most fascinating aspect of this launch for me was that Apple managed to distance the company and this product offering from the inane metaverse hype. Heck, the Zuckster changed the name of his company form Facebook to Meta to jump on an existing bandwagon.

Spatial Computing is not the metaverse. Apple isn’t joining something that already exists.

Apple is charting a dew direction.

Apple didn’t use the term “metaverse” at all, leaving Meta in the metaverse hype scrap heap.

It reminds me of the initial Apple iPod launch on October 23, 2001. There were already many MP3 music players when Apple launched the iPod. However, each player's UI was different, and the files were difficult to download (remember Napster?). MP3 players were tough to use.

Enter the iPod with “1,000 songs in your pocket” and the iTunes store to make everything super easy to manage. Apple didn’t call it an MP3 player and didn’t reference what was already going on in the personal music industry. It went it’s own way with the iPod.

While Apple Vision Pro doesn’t have a memorable tagline like the iPod, Apple does specifically distance itself from the difficult to use metaverse apps and devices. Apple launched a new operating system – “visionOS, the world’s first spatial operating system”, along with the product. The visionOS user interface is “controlled by the most natural and intuitive inputs possible — a user’s eyes, hands, and voice.”

Multiple buyer personas

I love how the press release keeps what Apple Vision Pro does super open ended.

There are references to using the system at work, with images of meetings and individual computing imagined for Apple Vision Pro. So, it’s a B2B product.

There are also use cases for at home use in gaming, entertainment, and engaging with personal memories. It’s also a consumer product.

And by launching at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference, Apple also targeted developers, who the company wants to build apps for the new Apple Vision Pro app ecosystem. Developers will want to take notice.

By focusing on multiple personas, Apple generates the most buzz possible.

Quotable quotes

The press release offers content for many different audiences. Unlike most tech company press releases which are super nerdy descriptions of what the technology does, Apple focuses on making it easy to understand.

Here are the executive quotes, ready to be plugged into media stories:

“Today marks the beginning of a new era for computing,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “Just as the Mac introduced us to personal computing, and iPhone introduced us to mobile computing, Apple Vision Pro introduces us to spatial computing. Built upon decades of Apple innovation, Vision Pro is years ahead and unlike anything created before — with a revolutionary new input system and thousands of groundbreaking innovations. It unlocks incredible experiences for our users and exciting new opportunities for our developers.”

“Creating our first spatial computer required invention across nearly every facet of the system,” said Mike Rockwell, Apple’s vice president of the Technology Development Group. “Through a tight integration of hardware and software, we designed a standalone spatial computer in a compact wearable form factor that is the most advanced personal electronics device ever.”

The detailed descriptions of the technology are near the end of the press release, after the content for more general audiences.

“These groundbreaking innovations are powered by Apple silicon in a unique dual-chip design. M2 delivers unparalleled standalone performance, while the brand-new R1 chip processes input from 12 cameras, five sensors, and six microphones to ensure that content feels like it is appearing right in front of the user’s eyes, in real time. R1 streams new images to the displays within 12 milliseconds — 8x faster than the blink of an eye. Apple Vision Pro is designed for all-day use when plugged in, and up to two hours of use with its external, high-performance battery.”

I’m not sold…yet

Apple-WWCD23-Vision-Pro-glass-230605The goggles are expensive at $3,499.  As I’ve been thinking about the launch, I’m wondering if I will buy Apple Vision Pro for myself when it is available next year.

Upon launch, I bought Google Glass (remember THAT) and used it about ten times at home. The one time I took my Glass out into the wild, wearing it at Boston Logan Airport before a flight, I was creeped out. I never used it again.

The Meta Quest 2 I purchased is gathering dust in a closet. I used it maybe 5 times. I like reality too much to dig that deep into virtual reality.

As I’m thinking about the different uses of Apple Vision Pro, I’m thinking that watching a live concert from the comfort of my own comfy chair might be cool.

I’m imagining a band I really like onstage somewhere in the world and I’m able to relax with a glass of Napa Cabernet (or maybe something more) and have an immersive experience on “two ultra-high-resolution displays, transforming any space into a personal movie theater with a screen that feels 100 feet wide”.

For the true experience, I’m assuming that bands will want to partner with Apple and services like Nugs.net to create live concert streaming feeds optimized for the Apple Vision Pro.

If that happens, I might pull out my credit card.

Images: Apple Vision Pro product shots via Apple

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