Apple’s latest press conference slash gadget revival meeting and laying-on of hands just concluded. As expected, the iPad Mini made its grand entrance into the wider world, along with an array of incremental updates to existing product lines.
Only, there’s no such thing as an incremental update to an Apple product.
One of the men responsible for whipping the crowd into a frenzy was marketing honcho Phil Schiller, who did his absolutely damnedest to get us all riled up about the latest version of the MacBook and the Mac mini and so forth. Naturally, he sounded a little over-the-top in his loving descriptions of the company’s wares. TechCrunch writer John Constine mocked Mr. Schiller’s tone with a Lord of the Rings reference: “Phil Schiller on the new 13-inch MacBook Pro: ‘So thin, so beautiful, my preciouuuuussss.’”
But as we switched over to the livestream, just in time to catch the introduction of the new 13-inch MacBook pro (with an oh-so-crystal-clear retina display), we couldn’t help but characterize Mr. Schiller’s tone a little differently. It felt… weirdly intimate.
It sounded a little like Mr. Schiller was rhapsodizing about someone in the nude–specifically, a current or soon-to-be sexual partner.
It’s not that he was doing anything so crass as tossing around the word “sexy.” No, that would be vulgar, a mere common, empty tech world trope. Rather, Mr. Schiller used words like “stunning” and “beautiful” to describe the products he was debuting. Think more along the lines of those courtly older guys who sidle up and start complimenting your blouse and only gradually segue toward asking you upstairs to see their etchings, because they think that’s still the way things work.
“It is absolutely beautiful,” he said about the iMac, calling it a “fantastic computer” that is “stunning from every side.” The term “mercury-free display” got the kind of caressing tone usually reserved for the phrase “long blonde hair,” and “built-in voice dictation” was pronounced like “great gams.” Of the new iMac, he exhorted the audience to “look at that edge–just remarkable how thin that design is.” Is this a press conference or a threesome? There’s an ad for the 13-inch MacBook Pro ad that’s basically the equivalent of a high-end sexy Tumblr. Don’t even get me started on the term “dual microphones.”
But perhaps the nadir was when he said of the Mac mini: “Let’s take the bottom off and take a look inside.” Not without buying dinner first, you’re not.
By the time he handed it back to Tim Cook, who merely called the new products “really cool,” this Betabeat reporter had worked herself into a state of near Victorian-level pearl clutching.
It’s not entirely fair to pick on just Mr. Schiller. Mr. Cook closed with an invitation for IRL attendees to go over to a product demo area and “get your hands on ‘em,” as though he were the madam of a house of ill repute catering to an especially discerning-but-grabby clientele.
Mr. Schiller went above and beyond, though, and once you started listening it was impossible not to hear a double entendre in every third sentence. We couldn’t even be surprised when New York Times reporter Nick Bilton got a little swept up. Here’s what he tweeted (then promptly deleted):