Welcome to our weekend Apple Breakfast column, which includes all of the Apple news you missed this week in a handy bite-sized roundup. We call it Apple Breakfast because we think it goes great with a morning cup of coffee or tea, but it’s cool if you want to give it a read during lunch or dinner hours too.
The importance of putting people in a room
Some companies have embraced remote working over the past two years, and recognize that it saves money and makes life easier for staff. But others, such as Apple, have been more skeptical.
Apple has the tech and expertise to be one of the world’s great remote companies, but it refuses to give up on face-to-face meetings without a fight. Internally this is because of a phenomenon it refers to as serendipity, the idea that members of separate teams will bump into each other in the corridor and share ideas. But externally there’s a different sort of magic that the company doesn’t want to lose.
Apple knows that its special events are an intense experience, and that no amount of online press releases can compare to putting products in the hands of excited journalists. Which is why, despite the many advantages of virtual events, the company will be hugely relieved that next month’s Sept 7 event is once again open to in-person attendees.
It’s not quite the first such event, since WWDC in June had a small number of attendees on one of the days. And leaked information suggests that even this event will still have hybrid real/virtual elements, and feature the pre-recorded video that has been so popular at virtual gatherings. It will also be streamed live to anyone who’s interested, of course: it should embody many of the best characteristics of both approaches.
But there’s no mistaking Apple’s intentions. Fundamentally, at every opportunity, this is a company that wants to put people in a room. Even if it doesn’t seem to make sense from a strictly rational, is-this-the-most-efficient-approach point of view.
Virtual events are quicker and slicker than in-person ones. Remote working has numerous advantages over the office, and Apple has infuriated staff by demanding that they show up three days a week. All of this seems to make little sense–but then, it made little sense to throw resources into bricks and mortar when other companies were withdrawing to online, but the Apple Stores were a roaring success.
Perhaps it isn’t rational. But Apple has a corporate culture of inspiration, of persuading customers and employees to believe in things that aren’t entirely rational. And it’s a lot easier to do that sort of conjuring trick when the person you’re inspiring is in the same room.
And with that, we’re done for this week. If you’d like to get regular roundups, sign up for our newsletters. You can also follow us on Twitter for breaking news stories. See you next Saturday, enjoy your weekend, and stay Appley.