At the Apple Keynote, Selling Us a Better Vision of Ourselves

This year is the 10th anniversary of the iPhone. It’s also the 10th anniversary of the Apple keynote at which Steve Jobs announced the original device. The first one was a tour de force, Mr. Jobs leading a rapt audience as he asked them to imagine an iPod, a phone and a pocket internet device all in one.

Steve Jobs introduces iPhone in 2007 Video by jschroter

Mr. Jobs, who died in 2011, loomed over Tuesday’s nostalgic presentation. The Apple C.E.O., Tim Cook, paid tribute, his voice cracking with emotion, Mr. Jobs’s steeple-fingered image looming as big onstage as Big Brother’s face in the classic Macintosh “1984” commercial. Mr. Cook even revived Mr. Jobs’s patented “One more thing …” line, but reverentially: “We have great respect for these words, and we don’t use them lightly.”

These online-streaming keynotes have become as important a production of Apple as the devices themselves. An Apple event is a distinct kind of TV special: an extended commercial — this one ran nearly two hours — that people watch willingly, to get a glimpse of the new products and an art-directed idea of their better selves.

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On the massive screen, attractive young people ran with a billowing red sheet across a golden desert. Caped figures soared through clouds like angels in a gorgeous video game preview. A promo video for the Apple Watch as a fitness tool was so heartwarming and inspirational I think the Apple Watch may be running for president.

Angela Ahrendts, Apple’s senior vice president for retail, said new Apple stores would be rebranded Town Squares, places for community gathering, education — and buying the occasional thousand-dollar phone. (“Apple retail,” Mr. Cook said, “has always been about more than selling. It’s about learning, inspiring and connecting with people.”)

You will do such fantastic things with this technology, the presentation said. You’ll get healthy! You’ll learn! You’ll play ennobling games!

Though Mr. Jobs is gone, his minimalist aesthetic lives on in Cupertino, in the products and on the stage. Everything was set off…

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