The last few days were so exciting: Steve Troughton-Smith dug into a mysteriously early public release of HomePod’s firmware and found proof that a new iPhone Pro - codename D22 - will have face unlock, Guilherme Rambo discovered the actual device icon confirming the very much speculated edge-to-edge design, and from there Allen Pike made some incredibly thoughtful mockups of how iOS could change to better suit the new form factor, and Mad Rudberg built upon his work with 4 hypothetical designs for the top notch and the bottom of the screen.
“I haven’t felt this excitement around the new version of an iPhone from the design and developer community in years.”
All this time, while appreciating the amazing investigative work and design skills displayed by the tweets and blog posts linked above, I also felt a little uneasy… I kept thinking about what Phil Schiller said to Gruber during The Talk Show Live from WWDC 2017:
“At the end of the day, it’s really great when your team has worked so hard… a couple years of your life on something… and you get the opportunity to have Craig, me or someone else present it…”
Craig Federighi was even more explicit:
“They get really angry when one of these [leaks] happens.”
And now I wonder: what have I gained by knowing about this new design and exciting features 1.5 months earlier? Would I have been happier knowing most details of the iPhone on January 8, 2007? Is all this speculation fair to the people working so hard on these products we love so much?
Let me be clear: I don’t criticize Steve, Guilherme, Allen and Mad for what they have posted in the last few days. I absolutely don’t. I have retweeted their work, thought about it more than it was reasonable and publicly commented their findings as facts (I believe they are), so if there’s guilt in this process, I’m no innocent.
The fact is, Apple events are so well crafted that, if you’re into tech and don’t know about a product in advance, they feel like magic. Honestly, I felt a little less magic and excitement in the last few years, because I knew so much in advance. Boy, in 2014 I told a friend a new programming language was coming days before WWDC, and I’m not good at predicting things…
I know it’s impossible to avoid leaks, both from Apple’s standpoint - no matter how hard they try, it’s still a huge operation with thousands of people involved and tens of millions of devices manufactured before launch - and from mine as a devote user (should I disconnect from the Internet for three months? Stop reading the websites I enjoy the most?). I am also aware that this scrutiny comes from a deep love for Apple… it’s doubtful things will change in the future, I don’t have a solution to suggest and probably most people would not like more secrecy.
Still, I really feel for Apple’s Teams working on new products (just think at the poor guy who published the HomePod firmware 😱), and it would be so nice to feel the same magic again during a keynote…