It was like leaving a store, clutching something you (thought you) really wanted. Then you look at the receipt and see you've signed up for three years' insurance at $500 a year.
It was like attending an Oprah Special, looking under your seat and discovering torn wrapping paper and no free car.
After watching Apple's event, I found myself a touch bemused. It was bathed in too many elements that suggested there was less there there than assaulted the eye. And the ear.
So I have four questions that have been heckling me. And within some of these questions, more questions.
1. Apple News Plus. Yes, it's a terrible name, but, forgive me for wondering: What do you actually get? You certainly won't get the whole of the Wall Street Journal or the LA Times. (A mere three days of the Journal archive, apparently.) So will these be pleasantly watered-down versions of newspapers and print magazines? (125 of these publications are reportedly PDF-ish.) Will it all, therefore, feel like edited highlights? And highly selective edited highlights at that. You know, like a letter from the Attorney General? And why should it replace the way you're consuming news and features now? How many magazines and newspapers will you read to make it worthwhile? I went for the free trial. It's overwhelming. Like the New York Times Sunday edition, but with 300 sections. Where does one start? I drifted to Sports Illustrated. It was pretty. Yet my attention span is so much worse online than when I have the physical thing in my hands. But I don't have time for the physical thing, because of the web. So I ended my Sports Illustrated subscription. And, oh, please get me out of here. It's quite attractive, but It's too much. And, when it comes to news, not enough.
2. Apple TV Plus. An equally painful name, reeking of equal last-minutism. But, more importantly, how much did you say it was? Oh, you didn't. There was stuff about stars and, well, stars, but as to what all this will cost that seemed oddly absent. Which was peculiar. You're not telling me half the deals aren't done yet, are you, Apple? Oh, three-quarters of the deals? No, but really. Why no price?
3. Apple Card. I did think this by far the cleverest part of the show, but I've been bathing in your marketing for the last hour, Apple. It says: "A new kind of credit card. Created by Apple, not a bank." Are you being a little slippery, here? At the very least, it's created with a bank. That's Goldman Sachs. And then there's Mastercard. They're kind of a bank. And a very conventional sort of lender, too. The sort that charges you a lot of percent. So how different can this all be? And, well, you're going to be making money on the interest just like they do, right? You're going into partnerships with banky sorts, so that you can become a bank. A trustworthy bank, of course. Or did I miss something? I only ask because Bailey talked about their being no late fees. Yet in the small print on the Apple site, it says: "Late or missed payments will result in additional interest accumulating toward your balance." That sounds like a typical bank, no?