Apple now selling iPads, iMacs and friction-stir welding
Based on yesterday’s announcement, Apple has a new marketing strategy: uber-nerdly geek speak
Love Apple or hate Apple, you gotta admit that their product announcements are something to see. They know how to put on a show, and seeing what new device or product update they’ve come up with is only half the fun; the other half is in seeing how they make the announcement. There’s always something interesting to notice or pick up on, if you look hard enough. Each one is kind of like a Where’s Waldo? drawing.
Sometimes it’s something subtle. For example, during last month’s iPhone 5 announcement, Apple’s marketing or PR folks decided that each speaker should go with an untucked shirt. We don’t know why, but it was noticeable and weird.
Yesterday, during their event to announce (among other things) the new iPad mini, I noticed a new theme, this one perhaps for a more obvious reasons: uber-nerdly geek speak.
Now, of course, every Apple event involves lots of geek speak. But I’m not talking about the usual, computer-based stuff like gigabytes, dual-core processors or even retina displays. I’m talking about serious physics, materials science and even nuclear engineering geek speak.
Not sure what I mean? Consider the following technology that they said was used in the newly redesigned iMacs:
- Fusion Drive - Are you telling me that this sucker is nuclear?! Well, no. It’s a new type of hybrid drive that transparently combines a 128GB solid-state drive with a 1TB or 3TB hard disk drive. Sounds awesome partly because of the combined speed and storage capacity it offers - and partly because “fusion” still sounds futuristic and cool. Isotopes!
I cannot wait to own a beautiful 27" iMac with a 3TB fusion drive and 32gb of ram.
— Kevin Greene ✏ (@KevinGreene) October 24, 2012
- Friction-stir welding - It’s not often that new computer specs have me running to Popular Mechanics for a better understanding, but Apple did just that yesterday. Apparently this method, which is used by NASA and SpaceX to weld parts of their rockets together, is now also used to join the base of the iMac to the display. Was it really necessary to toss this term out there? No. Was it attention grabbing? You bet!
"Friction stir welding" Man, I love Apple geeking out on manufacturing terms.
— Farhad Manjoo (@fmanjoo) October 23, 2012
- Kepler grahics - Those of you who didn’t cut or sleep through high school physics may recognize the name Kepler. For those who did, just know that, somehow, almost 400 years after his death, he’s helping to make your iMac display better than ever. Thanks, Johannes!
— Calvin Po (@on_a_whim) October 23, 2012
- Plasma deposition - The new thinner iMac display is partly the result of plasma deposition - whatever that is. Even after reading the Wikipedia page on it I still don’t know what this means. But who cares? It sounds cool! Count me - and others - in!
"Plasma deposition process"Whatever the hell that is, I suddenly can't live without it
— Will Bullock (@houseofbullock) October 23, 2012
By this point in the presentation, many of us were appropriately lathered up. They could’ve said the new iMac was powered by a flux capacitor and I - and many others - would’ve bought it.
Plasma deposition, fusion drive, kepler graphics. Maybe they're announcing a starship instead of a tablet? #applekeynote
— Kevin Fox (@kfury) October 23, 2012
This is a whole new realm that Apple is entering and it’s pretty clear why: Apple has some stiff competition now, between Google, Amazon and maybe even Microsoft. They need to keep differentiating themselves and standing out. What better way than by using uber-nerdly geek speak to describe their products?
Both Google and Microsoft have big events in the next week to announce new products and, if I were them, I’d consider stealing this approach and shoehorning in as many cool (and baffling) sounding engineering and scientific terms as possible. If I may, I’ve assembled a short list of suggested terms to include (whether they’re actually used or not): extrusion molding, huddling chamber, thyristor, brazing, deposition efficiency, flux cored electrodes.
Of course, there’s no need to restrict yourself to real world terminology. Feel free to get creative! After all, lord knows what Apple will throw at us next time. Impulse drives, anyone?