!(https://hackernoon.com/hn-images/1*XyWCN9xTvTpAN50epxg2XA.png)\n\nSteve Jobs introduces the iPhone (2007)\n\nEvery year, I watch Apple’s keynote for the latest iPhone launch and watched the latest keynote for the launch of the iPhone XS series.\n\nAfter all, the keynote where the original iPhone was announced turned out to actually have changed the world. We’re not done and there’s much more of the world (and universe) to change.\n\nYet, watching keynotes since the death of Steve Jobs can be challenging at times because the expectations are always so incredibly high combined with increasingly accurate predictions by tech media of figuring out in advance what’s going to be announced.\n\n!(https://hackernoon.com/hn-images/1*pawmtGhCFQUhQmcOvjaVQQ.jpeg)\n\nUnder CEO Tim Cook, Apple is a trillion dollar company\n\nTo his credit, Tim Cook as CEO has taken the baton from Steve Jobs and continued to blaze a path for the company’s success, as illustrated by the trillion dollar value, billions of devices and people that use Apple products to change the world in their own ways.\n\nStill, some are not fully satisfied unless Apple introduces something dramatic, like teleportation technology like we might see from _Star Trek_.\n\nAnd, if you are one of those people looking to be teleported to the promised land, help might be on the way if you noticed a STRONG HINT from Apple’s creative opening for 2018:\n\n!(https://i.ytimg.com/vi/JHi-WGFGWek/hqdefault.jpg)\n\nAround 1:12 into Apple’s opening video for the keynote, you can see a peek into the future\n\nPart of the current challenge is that the iPhone has become so common for developed societies, many people take for granted the immense power it’s created for all of us.\n\nSome say Apple hasn’t introduced anything important since the iPhone and iPad.\n\nWell, they likely haven’t tried AirPods, which I can’t imagine my life without, or Apple Watch, which you can now make calls from your wrist and is starting to find its groove in health and fitness...and might save your life.\n\nApple is also “reportedly” working on everything from augmented reality glasses to self-driving cars and they even built a spaceship for their new headquarters that serves a daily reminder to think for the future.\n\nAnd, yes, they continue to improve on existing products like the iPhone.\n\nIf you have a recent iPhone 6 or later, go ahead and try using an original iPhone or any of the first few models.\n\nYou’ll quickly realize and appreciate how much Apple has continued to improve the iPhone and, if iPhone X was any indication, they are willing to go bold in their changes.\n\nStill, there seems to be a [marketing](https://hackernoon.com/tagged/marketing) challenge for Apple, which is how to convey their technology and progress to the masses.\n\nDo they focus on explaining the specs and features that are simply better?\n\nHere’s Apple promo video after the 2018 keynote so you be the judge:\n\n!(https://i.ytimg.com/vi/iol8n3m88SA/hqdefault.jpg)\n\nApple’s Summary of September 2018 Keynote in 108 seconds\n\nNobody is going to dispute that any of these new specs or features are not better than the previous models, although each person may have to evaluate the upgrade cost with their current device (and hello millions of non-iPhone users out there, including those who use Android).\n\nHowever, this conversation after the launch of iPhone XS between [Emily Chang](https://twitter.com/emilychangtv) of Bloomberg and [Om Malik](https://twitter.com/om) crystalizes some of the legitimate current and future challenges for Apple’s message, marketing and story:\n\n!(https://i.ytimg.com/vi/aICytRAAbDg/hqdefault.jpg)\n\nPersonally, I love the iPhone and will probably get the XS Max (I have an iPhone 7+and can always use more screen).\n\nI also agree with Om…not a fan of the naming strategy for iPhone and wish Apple would think differently (sorry, couldn’t resist).\n\nXS Max?\n\nWhy not just call it Max if it was necessary to introduce something beyond numbers or simple letters?\n\nAnd, will next year be iPhone 11 or XI or Max+? 🤔\n\nAfter Emily’s conversation with Om, it got me thinking.\n\nHow _does_ Apple convey what is stands for today for the normal person outside Silicon Valley and technology-obsessed communities?\n\nIf one of my family members outside tech asks “which phone should I get and why?” or more details of what makes the new iPhones different than the past, how to I explain why the [A12 bionic chip](https://www.theverge.com/circuitbreaker/2018/9/12/17826338/apple-iphone-a12-processor-chip-bionic-specs-speed) more cool than if you combined the [_Six Million Dollar Man_](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bGO57y4td-c) with chocolate chip cookies?\n\nWhen Apple was battling companies like IBM or Microsoft, it could leverage the David vs Goliath message, but David is technically now Goliath by market value.\n\nApple seems to have two competing challenges.\n\nFor those of us obsessed with innovation, we want to know how it keeps raising the bar and pushing the edges on specific parts of technology.\n\nFor most everyone else, people want to know how these products can be used and practically impact how they work, live and interact.\n\nAnd, as my friends and family outside tech always remind me, they just want it to work, be simple and easy.\n\nIn some ways, it seems Apple has tried to come down the middle, as illustrated by their latest videos providing both specs and inspiration.\n\nSome may say this is the best strategy to keep most people happy.\n\nBe creative, but play it safe.\n\nAnd, that may work as long as no other company can come up with more innovative products that connect with the masses like Apple.\n\nHowever, the moment that someone else does, would this marketing strategy still make sense and why wait for that to happen?\n\nWe advise [startups](https://hackernoon.com/tagged/startups) all the time to differentiate themselves and go bold.\n\nNike’s recently launched campaign with Colin Kaepernick is a reminder that you don’t have to be a startup to go bold.\n\n!(https://hackernoon.com/hn-images/1*DMm86JJ2wnPNinQx4wR5uQ.png)\n\nSure, some are burning their shoes and shirts as a result, but many others are out buying products, reaching into their closets to proudly display a Nike branded item and pretty much everyone was talking and paying attention.\n\nAnd, that is what seems to be slightly missing with Apple compared to a few years ago.\n\nAttention of the masses, not just the attention of the media and technology world.\n\nMost of the masses will hear there’s new iPhones and a new Apple Watch, but will they really understand why it matters?\n\nAre we too focused on the product specs and not enough on what we are doing with these products to change the world?\n\nSo, as I thought more about the questions raised by Emily and Om, I wondered who might have the best advice for Apple’s marketing and story as well as lessons for any startup.\n\nAnd, I think I found him.\n\nSTEVE JOBS ON MARKETING APPLE INTERNAL MEETING, SEPTEMBER 1997 INTRODUCING THE ‘THINK DIFFERENT’ CAMPAIGN\n\nTo me, marketing is about values.\n\nThis is a very complicated world, it’s a very noisy world. And we’re not gonna get a chance to get people to remember much about us. No company is. And so we have to be really clear on what we want them to know about us.\n\nNow Apple, fortunately, is one of the half-a-dozen best brands in the world. Right up there with Nike, Disney, Coke, Sony, it is one of the greats of the greats. Not just in this country but all around the globe.\n\nBut even a great brand needs investment and caring, if it’s going to retain its relevance and vitality. And the Apple brand has clearly suffered from neglect in this area in the last few years.\n\nAnd we need to bring it back.\n\nThe way to do that is not to talk about speeds and fees. It’s not to talk about MIPS and Megahertz. It’s not to talk about why we’re better than Windows.\n\nThe dairy industry tried for 20 years to convince you that milk was good for you. It’s a lie, but they tried anyway. And the sales were going like this. And then they tried ‘Got Milk’ and the sales have gone like this. Got Milk doesn’t even talk about the product…matter of fact the focus is on the absence of the product.\n\nBut the best example of all, and the one of the greatest jobs of marketing that the universe has ever seen is Nike.\n\nRemember Nike sells a commodity. They sell shoes.\n\nAnd yet when you think of Nike you feel something different than a shoe company.\n\nIn their ads, as you know, they don’t ever talk about the product. They don’t ever tell about their air soles and why they’re better than Reebok’s air soles.\n\nWhat does Nike do in their advertising? They honor great athletes, and they honor great athletics. That’s who they are, that’s what they are about.\n\nApple spends a fortune on advertising. You’d never know it.\n\nSo when I got here Apple just fired their agency and we’re doing a competition with 23 agencies that four years from now would have picked one.\n\nSo we blew that up and hired Chiat-Day, the ad agency that I was fortunate enough to work with years ago.\n\nWe created some award-winning work, including the commercial voted the best ad ever made, (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2zfqw8nhUwA), by advertising professionals.\n\nAnd we started working about 8 weeks ago, and the question we asked was, “our customers want to know who is Apple, and what is it that we stand for?\n\nWhere do we fit in this world?”\n\nAnd, what we’re about isn’t making boxes for people to get their jobs done. Although we do that well. We do that better than almost anybody, in some cases.\n\nBut Apple is about something more than that.\n\nApple at the core, it’s core value, is that we believe that people with passion can change the world for the better.\n\nThat’s what we believe. And we’ve had the opportunity to work with people like that.\n\nWe’ve had an opportunity to work with people like you, with software developers, with customers, who have done it in some big and some small ways.\n\nAnd we believe that in this world people can change it for the better.\n\nAnd that those people who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world are the ones that actually do.\n\nAnd so what we’re going to do in our first brand marketing campaign in several years is to get back to that core value.\n\nA lot of things have changed. The market’s a totally different place than it was a decade ago, and Apple’s totally different, and Apple’s place in it is totally different.\n\nAnd believe me the products, and the distribution strategy, and the manufacturing are totally different, and we totally understand that.\n\nBut values, and core values, those things shouldn’t change.\n\nThe things that Apple believed in in its core are the same things that really stands for today.\n\nAnd so we wanted to find a way to communicate this. And what we have is something that I’m very moved by. It honors those people that have changed the world.\n\nSome of them are living, some of them are not. But the ones that aren’t, as you’ll see, you know that if they ever used a computer, it would have been a Mac.\n\nThe theme of the campaign is Think Different.\n\nHonoring the people that think different and who move this world forward.\n\nAnd it is what we are about, it touches the soul of this company.\n\nSo I’m going to go ahead and roll it, and I hope that you feel the same way about it I do.\n\n!(https://i.ytimg.com/vi/4mvHgLy_YV8/hqdefault.jpg)\n\nIn a way, history is repeating and the message should reflect the same core value.\n\nApple is about empowering people to change the world.