Crapple

Apple have just launched their ‘Apple Watch’ to much worldwide interest, and it’s a typically sleek product from a great, innovative company. Though Apple’s Senior Vice President of Design, Jony Ive, has been a little too creative when describing their new device.

Apple spend a lot of time and money preparing launch events for new products, which are carefully stage-managed and hugely popular with global gadget geeks.

"The digital crown is a remarkable input device," Ive said. "It fluidly zooms into apps. It enables nimble, precise adjustment. And critically, you can use it without obstructing the display."

What Jony Ive might’ve said, instead of ‘digital crown’, is ‘knob’, but ‘knob’ is obviously far less exciting. Nonetheless, that’s what he’s talking about.

There’s selling a product and there’s promoting a brand. Despite the fact that Apple will tell you that’s all they’re doing here, what they’re actually doing is a fair bit worse, as PC Mag UK’s Will Greenwald noted.

Ive went on to describe the watch as having "…a custom-designed chip that integrates many sub-systems into one remarkably compact module, which is then completely encapsulated to protect the electronics. It's essentially miniaturizing an entire computer system onto a single chip."

Greenwald’s take on what Apple are offering is dismissive:
“System-on-chip (SoC). What he describes is an SoC. It isn't a new feat of engineering or a breakthrough in semiconductors, it's just an SoC. It's like saying, "unlike other companies that use microprocessors, we've created a device that houses millions of transistors in a single tiny square.”

Ive then mentions that a "simple leather classic buckle references traditional watch vocabulary."

As Greenwald says, “More syllables does not mean more significance. It's a leather band with a buckle, and a metal pin in that buckle goes through a hole in the watch band to secure it once you've found a proper fit. It's like nearly every other leather watch band made since clocks first were strapped to wrists, because that's how clocks were first strapped to wrists. It's a watch band with a buckle.”

Ive continues, celebrating Apple’s new watch faces:
"We know that wearing something all day, every day, becomes as much about personal preference and self-expression as functionality, so we've designed a range of watch faces," he says. "You can personalize both their appearance and their capability."

Greenwald is not impressed.

“That is nearly every smartwatch on the market. Samsung Gear. Moto 360. Pebble. That's one of the first features of being a smartwatch. You have a screen, so you can customize your watch faces.”

On the whole, Apple and Jony Ive have damaged their credibility with their latest campaign. They go on, in the accompanying marketing copy, to make highly vague and self-serving suggestions about having “created a new alloy” and using a glass “resistant to scratches and impact” – a type of glass called Gorilla Glass which has been widely used commercially for some time.

Will Greenwald captures our thoughts on the whole thing perfectly when he states:
“Obfuscating every little element with unnecessarily long words that sound smarter than they actually are seems wrong. It's the worst kind of jargon: the kind that takes concepts that could be accessible and readily understood by customers and puffs them up to make them seem magical when they're not.”

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