Read to the end for a post about weather jokes.

As expected, last week was Apple's big fall iPhone announcement. And, yes, it can easily be classified as "boring". What was once a time of the year that was filled with excitement of the "next big thing" has become normal and a bit bland. But when you iterate on a product annually for 16 years, the news of that product will always plateau and lose excitement.

As a hockey fan, I can say the same for the annual Winter Classic, the NHL's outdoor game that has traditionally been played on New Year's Day. The first four years of it were amazing and a lot of fun. But it lost its luster after that. Why? Because it was the same thing over and over. And the NHL kept picking a lot of the same teams to play. Wikipedia's page on the game shows the Bruins and Blackhawks each making 4 appearances with the Penguins close behind at 3. Only a total of 14 teams out of 32 have appeared in this game and it's been going since 2008.

What always got me, as an NY Islanders fan, is a game vs the rival NY Rangers at Yankee Stadium would be a natural shoe-in for the Winter Classic. And to date, it's never happened. Instead, all we got was an installment in the "Stadium Series" which just watered down the whole outdoor game concept even further. In the end, the excitement is gone because something can only be special when it's in small amounts.

Star Wars falls into this trap as well. Where it was a simple trilogy with a terrible holiday special, it's now an 11-film franchise with three live-action spinoffs and a number of animated series. In short, Star Wars is so watered down, Disney has even said it's moved too fast on creating more of it. Don't get me wrong, Star Wars is still great as a whole, but not everyone needs an origin story or a mishandled sequel trilogy.

What sets Apple and the iPhone apart is its one half of the overall smartphone equation. And the pressure is on to create a hit annually. A "gate" controversy doesn't help them but traditionally hasn't affected sales. But if an iPhone is a complete flop in a single year, it would be disastrous. So Apple continues to iterate and generate a lower level of buzz each year. And that's okay.

When the pre-orders for the iPhone went up last Friday, the Pro line got bumped out quickly as expected. Now shipping dates are pushing into November. Clearly Apple is still doing it right. The excitement now has shifted from "big, new, exciting feature" to people holding onto their phones for 3, 5, 7 years and making a giant leap when they decide it's time to upgrade. Year-over-year updates are ho-hum. Going from an iPhone XR to the iPhone 15 is like warping to another galaxy.

In short, those iterative updates add up. And unlike the NHL or Disney watering down its products, that is a magic people continue to experience when it comes to the iPhone.

I hope you have a great week.


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